Walter Edward Davidson (1859 - 1923)

‹ Back to Davidson surname

View Walter Edward Davidson's complete profile:

  • See if you are related to Walter Edward Davidson
  • Request to view Walter Edward Davidson's family tree

Share

Related Projects

Birthdate:
Death: Died
Managed by: Alisdair Smyth
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Walter Edward Davidson

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"Sir Walter Edward Davidson KCMG (20 April 1859 – 15 September 1923) was a colonial Administrator and diplomat. He served periods as Governor of the Seychelles, Governor of Newfoundland and as Governor of New South Wales, in which he died in office.

Early life and career

Born in April 1859 at Valletta, Malta, Davidson was the son of James Davidson of Killyleagh, Ireland, an agent for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. After being educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford, Davidson graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge. In 1880 he entered the Ceylon Civil Service and, by 1898, had risen to be Chairman of the Colombo Municipal Council and Mayor of Colombo (1897–1898). In 1902 he was appointed a Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) and Colonial Secretary in the Colony of Transvaal, South Africa, involving himself in the post-Boer War reconstruction. He held this office until 1904.

Governor of Seychelles and Newfoundland

In mid 1904 he was appointed as Governor of the Seychelles, which had become a separate colony from Mauritius in 1903. On 21 October 1907 he married Margaret Agnes Feilding, who was the daughter of General Sir Percy Feilding. As Governor Davidson involved himself in the development of the new colony and made regular visits throughout the colony to increase the visibility of his role. During his administration he was responsible for the construction of the Le Niol Reservoir, the Carnegie Library and also for the design of the Colonial State House of which he was the first occupant. In 1911 he received the King George V Coronation Medal. He served until his promotion in 1912.

On 15 January 1913 he was appointed as Governor of the Dominion of Newfoundland.[4] For his long service, in 1914 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). During the First World War, Davidson helped direct Newfoundland's military effort in his role as Chairman of the Newfoundland Patriotic Association, and was very influential in public affairs. As Honorary Colonel of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and as Commander-in-Chief of the Newfoundland Forces, he played an active role in recruitment and organisation. His term expired and he left Newfoundland in 1917 just as the financial situation for Newfoundland was in sharp decline, and the political consensus over which he and the prime minister, Sir Edward Morris, had presided since 1914, was breaking down.

Governor of New South Wales [edit]

In September 1917 he was recommended and appointed as the next Governor of New South Wales, succeeding Sir Gerald Strickland, and arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on 17 February 1918. Despite a reduction by Premier William Holman in the Governor's allocated funds, the Davidsons entered enthusiastically into the round of vice-regal duties. For her work with the Red Cross Society, both in Newfoundland and New South Wales, Lady Davidson was appointed as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1918, and in August 1920 presided at a meeting to inaugurate the State branch of the Girl Guides' Association. As Governor, he was made a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ) on 25 October 1916[8] and a member of the Savile Club, London.

In January 1920 the Labor Premier, John Storey, sought Davidson's approval concerning additional appointments to the New South Wales Legislative Council. Though he was of the opinion that the size of the Upper House ought not to be increased, in August Davidson approved the nomination of sixteen new members. On the 20 December 1920, Storey's successor, James Dooley, and his cabinet resigned after having lost a vote in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly a week before. Davidson then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Sir George Fuller, as Premier. However, as Fuller did not have a majority, his attempts to form government failed. After serving as Premier for seven hours, Fuller requested a double-dissolution from Davidson. Davidson refused, on the basis that Dooley still had a majority in the lower house, and Fuller resigned. Davidson then re-commissioned Dooley, who was granted a dissolution. Upon Dooley's defeat in the March 1921 elections, Davidson wrote to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, of his "Labour friends: they were likeable men, upright and simple, and not ashamed to take advice". In September 1922 it was announced that his term of office would be extended until March 1924.

While still in office, Davidson died of cardiovascular disease at Government House, Sydney on 16 September 1923. After lying-in-state at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney and a full state funeral, he was buried in South Head cemetery, where in 1925 a memorial was erected by public subscription. On the news of his death, the Sydney Morning Herald paid tribute to his "Splendid record of Empire service" and noted that "the whole community shares a common and heartfelt sorrow at the passing of the one of the most distinguished and popular of His Majesty's overseas representatives".

Legacy

After his death in 1923, an area of land around Frenchs Forest was proclaimed as "Davidson State Park" in his honour and, subsequently, the suburb of Davidson that developed later took his name. In 1972 the local Davidson High School was established and dedicated in his name. In recognition of her service during the Davidson's time as Viceroys, Lady Davidson Hospital in Turramurra was dedicated in 1923 and Lady Davidson Circuit in Forestville were named in Lady Davidson's honour."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Walter Edward Davidson', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 April 2013, 23:06 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Walter_Edward_Davidson&oldid=551372636> [accessed 10 May 2013]

view all

Sir Walter Edward Davidson KCMG's Timeline

1859
April 20, 1859
1923
September 15, 1923
Age 64
????