Sir John Hubert Murray

(1861—1940) colonial governor and judge

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1861–1940), born Sydney, the son of the pastoralist and politician Sir Terence Aubrey Murray, and his second wife Agnes Edwards, and the brother of Gilbert Murray, was educated in Melbourne and Sydney before leaving for England in 1878. After winning first-class honours at Oxford, he trained for the Bar. In 1886 he returned to Australia, where he worked as a lawyer, before sailing for Cape Town as a special service officer in command of a troop ship in 1900. In his ten months in South Africa he saw action near Pretoria and supervised the burning of Boer farms, a duty which he hated. In 1904 he was appointed chief judicial officer of British New Guinea, a position he held for the next thirty-five years. More liberal and forward-looking than most of his contemporaries, he imposed the death penalty only twice and opposed the amalgamation of German New Guinea and Papua, fearing that the combined territories would be governed less humanely. He was appointed CMG in 1914 and KCMG in 1925. He published two books on Papua, Papua or British New Guinea (1912) and Papua of Today (1925). There are two substantial biographies of Murray by Lewis Lett (1949) and Francis West (1968); West also edited his selected letters (1970).

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.