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Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy
10 June 1796 – 16 February 1858

 


Born

10 June 1796 in England, the eldest son of General Lord Charles FitzRoy and Frances Mundy.

His grandfather, Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1768 to 1770.

Education Charles FitzRoy was educated at the Harrow School in London
Early Life

He received a commission in the Royal Horse Guards regiment of the British Army at the age of 16.

Just after his 19th birthday, FitzRoy's regiment took part in the Battle of Waterloo, where he was wounded.
He traveled to Lower Canada with the Duke of Richmond in 1818.

In 1825, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed Deputy Adjutant General of the Cape Colony (now the Cape of Good Hope).

Sir Charles was appointed as the eleventh Governor of Prince Edward Island off the coast of Canada on 31 March 1837, and was granted a knighthood just before his departure.

He returned to England in 1841 and shortly afterwards was made Governor of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies until 1845.

Married
On 11 March 1820, he married Lady Mary Lennox (daughter of the Duke of Richmond), just after his promotion to Captain.
Governor of New South Wales

Sir Charles was chosen as the tenth Governor of the colony of New South Wales by Lord Stanley in 1845.

He replaced Sir George Gipps as governor who had been a strong ruler but had provoked the animosity of many in the colony.

FitzRoy, his wife and his son George arrived in the colony on board HMS Carysfort on 2 August 1846.

Soon after his arrival he was asked to use his influence to procure the disallowance of an act of the Tasmanian legislature imposing a duty of 15% on products imported from New South Wales.

The need for some type of federation between the various colonies was recognized, and as a step towards this Fitzroy was given a commission in 1850 appointing him governor-general of the Australian colonies.

During his governorship great steps were made in the development of New South Wales.

Transportation of convicts ceased, the Sydney University was founded, a branch of the royal mint was established and responsible government was granted.

In 1847, Fitzroy served briefly as Governor of the Colony of North Australia, although his lieutenant-governor, George Barney had the main responsibility for establishing the new colony under FitzRoy's direction.

Wife's Death

After sixteen months in the colony, Sir Charles' wife Mary was killed in a coach accident on 7 December 1847.

A distraught FitzRoy considered resigning and returning to England, but his finances did not permit it.

In 1851 he named Grafton, New South Wales, after his grandfather Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton.

Sir Charles remained in New South Wales for eight years, which saw many changes take place in the Australian colonies, not in the least being the first tentative steps towards Federation of the Australian states.

In 1853, FitzRoy was appointed as Governor of Van Diemen's Land, South Australia and Victoria – essentially a pre-Federation Governor-General of Australia, with wide-ranging powers to intervene in inter-colonial disputes.

Second Marriage

1855 was an eventful year for Sir Charles FitzRoy.

On 28 January 1855 he departed Australia and returned to England. On 11 September, his eldest son Augustus (a Captain in the Royal Regiment of Artillery) was killed in the Crimean War.

On 11 December, he married Margaret Gordon (widow of a Melbourne land agent).

Died Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy died in London on 16 February 1858 at the age of 61.


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