Premier of Western Australia

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Premier of Western Australia
Western Australian Coat of Arms.svg
Flag of Western Australia.svg
Mark McGowan headshot.jpg
Mark McGowan
since 17 March 2017
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Status Head of Government
Member of
Reports to Parliament
Seat Dumas House, Perth
Appointer Governor of Western Australia
by convention, based on appointee's ability to command confidence in the Legislative Assembly
Term length At the Governor's pleasure
contingent on the premier's ability to command confidence in the lower house of Parliament
Constituting instrumentNone (constitutional convention)
Formation29 December 1890
First holder John Forrest
Deputy Deputy Premier of Western Australia
SalaryA$355,681 [1] [2]

The premier of Western Australia is the head of government of the state of Western Australia. [3] The role of premier at a state level is similar to the role of the prime minister of Australia at a federal level. The premier leads the executive branch of the Government of Western Australia and is accountable to the Parliament of Western Australia. The premier is appointed by the governor of Western Australia. By convention, the governor appoints as premier whoever has the support of the majority of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. In practice, this means that the premier is the leader of the political party or group of parties with a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly (lower house). Since Western Australia achieved self-governance in 1890, there have been 31 premiers. [3] Mark McGowan is the current premier, having been appointed to the position on 17 March 2017.



The position of premier is not mentioned in the constitution of Western Australia. From 1890 to 1917, the premier was not an official position, rather, it was the title unofficially given, but widely used to refer, to the head of the government. [3] [4] When Western Australia became a self-governing colony in 1890, Governor William Robinson initially indicated he would use the title prime minister to refer to the head of the government. However, after he selected John Forrest, the title premier was used for consistency with the other Australian colonies. [3] [5] The position was first officially mentioned when the governor appointed Henry Lefroy as premier on 28 June 1917. However, when the governor designated and declared the six executive offices of the government on 2 July 1917, the position of premier was not listed, creating an ambiguity. [3] [4] [6] It was not until 3 April 1947 that the premier became one of the executive offices of the government. [3] [4] [7]

The most common cause for a change of premier is an election. Since the 1990s, elections have occurred roughly every four years. Before then, elections were at most three years apart, except for during World War II. A less common cause for a change of premier is the ruling party changing its leader. This can occur as a result of a resignation, death or leadership spill. In this case, the new premier is whoever the party elects as its new leader. Another cause for a change of premier is a loss of majority support in the legislative assembly. This commonly occurred in the first three decades of self-governance, but has not occurred since 1916. If this occurs, the premier must either resign or be dismissed by the governor. [8]

Powers and function

The powers of the premier are set out by convention and by legislation. By convention, the premier advises the Monarch of Australia as to who to appoint as governor. The premier advises the governor as to who to appoint to cabinet and which portfolios should be given to each cabinet minister, and the governor follows this advice by convention. The premier sets out the responsibilities of ministers and the acts that they would administer. The premier leads the cabinet and chairs cabinet meetings. They communicate with the governor, the cabinet, the state government, other state and territory governments, the federal government, and overseas governments. The premier advises the governor on when state elections should be held. They oversee the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Whilst premier, they stay as a member of parliament, and they retain their responsibility for representing their electorate. [3]


As of 2022, there have been 31 premiers of Western Australia. Carmen Lawrence, who was appointed on 12 February 1990, is the first and only woman to be premier of Western Australia. She is also the first woman to be premier of an Australian state. [3] [9] By convention, the premier is a member of the Legislative Assembly. However, the premier can be a member of either house of parliament. Hal Colebatch is the only premier to be a member of the Legislative Council (upper house). He served for 30 days in 1919, making him the shortest serving premier of Western Australia. [3] [10] David Brand is the longest serving premier, serving for 11 years and 335 days between 1959 and 1971. [3] [11] The youngest premier is John Scaddan, who was 35 years, 2 months and 3 days old when he was sworn in in 1911. [3] [12] The oldest premier is John Tonkin, who was 69 years, 1 month and 1 day old when he was sworn in in 1971. [3] [13] Newton Moore became premier after two years in parliament, the least time aside from John Forrest. John Tonkin became premier after almost 38 years in parliament, the most time in parliament before becoming premier. [14] The only father and son pair to have both been premier is Charles Court and his son Richard Court. George Leake, who died of pneumonia on 24 June 1902, is the only premier to have died in office. [3] [14] Newton Moore, Philip Collier, John Willcock and Geoff Gallop are the only premiers to have resigned due to ill health. [10] [15] The only premier to subsequently serve as governor is James Mitchell. [3]

Two former premiers have been sentenced to jail. In 1994, Brian Burke was sentenced to two years in jail for defrauding the state by $17,000 by making false claims on the parliamentary imprest account. [16] He was released on parole after serving seven months. [17] In 1995, Ray O'Connor was sentenced to six months in jail for stealing a $25,000 cheque from the Bond Corporation during his time as premier. [18] In 1997, Burke was sentenced to three years jail for stealing $122,585 in Labor Party campaign donations. He served six months before this conviction was quashed upon appeal. [17] [19]


ConstituencyTerm of officePolitical party/alignmentMinistryRef.
Took officeLeft officeTime in office
1 John Forrest.jpg Sir John Forrest MLA for Bunbury 29 December 189014 February 190110 years, 48 days Ministerialist Forrest Ministry [20] [21]
Appointed by Governor William Robinson as the first premier of Western Australia. Began large-scale public works projects, including Fremantle Harbour and the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme. Perth Mint opened. Represented Western Australia at Federation conferences. Resigned in February 1901 to run for the seat of Swan in the federal House of Representatives.
2 George Throssell (1840-1910).jpg George Throssell MLA for Northam 14 February 190127 May 1901101 days Ministerialist Throssell Ministry [20] [22]
Took over as Premier and Treasurer after Forrest's resignation in February 1901. Contested the 1901 election as Premier, but resigned after his faction failed to win a majority of seats.
3 George Leake.jpg George Leake MLA for West Perth 27 May 190121 November 1901178 days Oppositionist First Leake Ministry [20] [23]
Became Premier as a compromise between the opposing factions of Frederick Illingworth and George Throssell. Served for five months before his government was defeated on a no-confidence vote.
4 Alf Morgans (1850-1933).jpg Alf Morgans MLA for Coolgardie 21 November 190123 December 190132 days Ministerialist Morgans Ministry [20] [24]
Served as Premier for 32 days as a compromise after George Leake's government was defeated. Resigned after members of his Cabinet were defeated in a ministerial by-election.
George Leake.jpg George Leake MLA for West Perth 23 December 19011 July 1902190 days Oppositionist Second Leake Ministry [20]
Again became Premier after the failure of Alf Morgans' government. Died in office on 24 June 1902.
5 Walter James.jpg Sir Walter James MLA for East Perth 1 July 190210 August 19042 years, 40 days Oppositionist James Ministry [20] [25]
Sworn in as Premier after Leake's death. Led a reforming government, which legalised trade unions and introduced workers' compensation and a stronger Arbitration Act. Unsuccessfully attempted to reform the franchise. Defeated in a no-confidence motion after the 1904 election.
6 HenryDaglish.jpeg Henry Daglish MLA for Subiaco 10 August 190425 August 19051 year, 15 days Labor Daglish Ministry [20] [26]
Western Australia's first Labor premier. John Drayon, a newspaper editor, imprisoned under parliamentary privilege. Resigned after twelve months after his plan to buy the Midland Railway Company for £1.5 million was defeated in parliament.
7 Cornthwaite Rason (1858-1927).jpg Sir Hector Rason MLA for Guildford 25 August 19057 May 1906255 days Ministerialist Rason Ministry [20] [27]
Headed a Royal Commission on immigration. Resigned in 1906 after appointing himself Agent General.
8 Newton Moore (1870-1936).jpeg Sir Newton Moore MLA for Bunbury 7 May 190616 September 19101 year, 21 days Ministerialist Moore Ministry [20] [28]
Began as premier at age 36, with only two years of parliamentary experience, at the time the youngest ever premier. Placed emphasis on agriculture and rural development, establishing the Wheatbelt and implementing the Income and Land Tax. Resigned in September 1910 on grounds of ill health.
9 Frank Wilson (1859-1918).jpeg Frank Wilson MLA for Sussex 16 September 19107 October 19111 year, 21 days Ministerialist First Wilson Ministry [20] [29]
Pushed through legislation which established the University of Western Australia and a number of electoral reform bills. Lost in a landslide to Labor at the 1911 election.
10 John Scaddan.jpg John Scaddan MLA for Brown Hill-Ivanhoe 7 October 191127 July 19164 years, 294 days Labor Scaddan Ministry [20] [30]
Passed a number of reform bills, established a state income tax, extended workers' compensation, reformed the education system, and set up a number of state-owned industries, including the State Shipping Service, abattoirs, sawmills, quarries, brickworks and farms. SS Koombana wrecked off the coast of Port Hedland. Government defeated July 1916, in part due to heavy debt and the Nevanas affair.
Frank Wilson (1859-1918).jpeg Frank Wilson MLA for Sussex 27 July 191628 June 1917336 days Liberal Second Wilson Ministry [20] [29]
Returned as premier after Scaddan's Labor government lost a majority in the lower house. Replaced by Henry Lefroy as premier after a new Nationalist Party was formed, without Wilson and several of his ministers.
11 Henry Lefroy.jpg Sir Henry Lefroy MLA for Moore 28 June 191717 April 19191 year, 293 days Nationalist Lefroy Ministry [20] [31]
Elected leader by the newly formed majority Nationalist Party. Moore River Native Settlement established 1918. Resigned in 1919 after an unsuccessful leadership spill which forced Lefroy to cast the deciding vote on his premiership.
12 Hal Colebatch.jpg Sir Hal Colebatch MLC for East Province 17 April 191917 May 191930 days Nationalist Colebatch Ministry [20] [32]
After being elected leader of the Nationalist Party, Colebatch served as premier from the Legislative Council with the understanding that a lower house seat would be found for him. Resigned after a month when no seat could be found for him. Pelted with rocks during the Fremantle wharf crisis. The only person to serve as premier while a member of the upper house, and the short-serving premier.
13 Sir James Mitchell.jpg Sir James Mitchell MLA for Northam 17 May 191915 April 19244 years, 335 days Nationalist First Mitchell Ministry [20] [33]
Established a strong Western Australian dairy industry. Initiated the Group Settlement and Soldier Settlement Schemes in the South West. Race riots in Broome in 1920. Defeated by Labor at the 1924 election.
14 Philip Collier.jpg Philip Collier MLA for Boulder 15 April 192423 April 19306 years, 8 days Labor First Collier Ministry [20] [34]
Reduced taxation, allowing the first surplus in 16 years. Continued the previous government's rural development initiatives. Woods Royal Commission on the Forrest River massacre. Centenary of Western Australia celebrated. Introduced a minimum wage and a 40-hour working week.
Sir James Mitchell.jpg Sir James Mitchell MLA for Northam 23 April 193024 April 19333 years Nationalist Second Mitchell Ministry [20] [33]
Returned after the 1930 election, governing in coalition with the Country Party. Secession referendum held in 1933 was passed with 66% of the vote, however, the Nationalist/Country coalition lost power at the 1933, and the returning Labor government did not act on the results. Moseley Royal Commission regarding the treatment of Aboriginals established.
Philip Collier.jpg Philip Collier MLA for Boulder 24 April 193319 August 19363 years, 118 days Labor Second Collier Ministry [20] [34]
Led his party to victory at the 1936 election. Resigned August 1936. Over his two terms, served nine years and 126 days, the longest by a Labor premier.
15 John Willcock.jpg John Willcock MLA for Geraldton 19 August 193631 July 19458 years, 345 days Labor Willcock Ministry [20] [35]
Introduced a range of small secondary industries. Considered a plan for a Jewish homeland in the Kimberley. Japanese planes attack Broome and the MV Koolama. Represented Western Australia at the coronation of King George V in 1937. Resigned in 1945 due to ill health.
16 Honfrankjosephwise.jpg Frank Wise MLA for Gascoyne 31 July 19451 April 19471 year, 244 days Labor Wise Ministry [20]
Chosen to serve as premier after John Willcock's resignation. Introduced Air Beef Scheme in the Kimberley. Wise's government was defeated at the 1947 election.
17 Ross McLarty.jpg Sir Ross McLarty MLA for Murray-Wellington 1 April 194723 February 19535 years, 328 days Liberal McLarty–Watts Ministry [20] [36]
Governed in coalition with the Country Party. Introduced post-war industrial development, including oil refineries at Kwinana. Established the State Housing Commission. Lost office at the 1953 election.
18 Albert Hawke 1965.jpg Albert Hawke MLA for Northam 23 February 19532 April 19596 years, 37 days Labor Hawke Ministry [20] [37]
Improved public housing. Aboriginal Australians given citizenship rights in 1954. Passed heavily criticised anti-profiteering legislation. The first premier born in the 20th century.
19 DavidBrand1963.jpg Sir David Brand MLA for Greenough 2 April 19593 March 197111 years, 335 days Liberal Brand–Watts Ministry
Brand–Nalder Ministry
[20] [38]
First mining of iron ore in the Pilbara. Expanded mineral processing at Kwinana and in the South West. 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Perth. Initiated the Standard Gauge Railway project. Federal funding obtained for Ord River Scheme. Controversy over proposed demolition of the Barracks Arch. Mining Poseidon bubble burst. Conflict with the federal government over wheat quotas. Lost power at the 1971 election.
20 JohnTonkin1964crop.jpg John Tonkin MLA for Melville 3 March 19718 April 19743 years, 66 days Labor Tonkin Ministry [20]
Emphasis on education and further industrial development.
21 Charles Court in 1952 cropped.jpg Sir Charles Court MLA for Nedlands 8 April 197425 January 19827 years, 292 days Liberal Court–McPharlin Ministry
Court Ministry
Emphasised development of mining, oil and natural gas industries, precipitating a mining boom. Perth–Fremantle railway line closed September 1979. Murdoch University and Art Gallery of Western Australia opened. 150th anniversary of European settlement celebrated. Retired January 1982.
22 RayO'ConnorPremier.jpg Ray O'Connor MLA for Mount Lawley 25 January 198225 February 19831 year, 31 days Liberal O'Connor Ministry [20]
Continued Charles Court's policies of mining and industrial development. Perth Mint Swindle. Lost power at the 1983 election. Sentenced to six months jail for stealing a $25,000 cheque from the Bond Corporation.
23 Brian Burke MLA for Balga 25 February 198325 February 19885 years Labor Burke Ministry [20]
Won the 1983 and 1986 elections. Reopened the Fremantle railway line. Abolished capital punishment. Resigned in 1988 for personal reasons. WA Inc controversy emerged after his resignation. Sentenced to two years jail in 1994 for defrauding the state, but was released on parole after seven months. Sentenced to three years jail in 1997 for stealing campaign donations but the convictions were quashed upon appeal six months later.
24 Peter Dowding.jpg Peter Dowding MLA for Maylands 25 February 198813 March 19901 year, 352 days Labor Dowding Ministry [20]
Won the leadership of the Labor Party after Burke's resignation. Won the 1989 election. Resigned during the 1990 leadership spill after controversy over WA Inc.
25 Carmen Lawrence 1990 (cropped).png Carmen Lawrence MLA for Glendalough 13 March 199016 February 19933 years, 4 days Labor Lawrence Ministry [20]
Won the leadership of the Labor Party during the 1990 leadership spill, making her the first women to be premier of any Australian state. Established the WA Inc royal commission. Opened the Joondalup line in December 1992. Involved in controversy due to her role in the Easton affair. Defeated at the 1993 election. Entered federal parliament in 1994. Was charged with perjury in 1997 over the Easton affair but was acquitted in 1999.
26 Richard Court - Ambassador to Japan.jpg Richard Court MLA for Nedlands 16 February 199316 February 20017 years, 360 days Liberal Court–Cowan Ministry [20]
Won the 1993 and 1996 elections in coalition with the National Party. Constructed the Graham Farmer Freeway, which involved a 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) tunnel through the Perth CBD. Controversy over the logging of old-growth forests and a finance-broking scheme. Lost the 2001 election. His father is Charles Court, making them the only father-son pair of Western Australian premiers.
27 Geoffrey Gallop Midland (cropped).jpg Geoff Gallop MLA for Victoria Park 16 February 20013 February 20064 years, 343 days Labor Gallop Ministry [20]
Won the 2001 and 2005 elections. Protected 230,000 hectares (570,000 acres) of old-growth forests. Closed Swan Valley Nyungah Community after allegations of rape, substance abuse and child abuse. Started construction on the Mandurah line. Resigned in January 2006 to deal with depression.
28 Alan Carpenter (cropped).jpg Alan Carpenter MLA for Willagee 3 February 200623 September 20082 years, 242 days Labor Carpenter Ministry [20]
Won the leadership of the Labor Party after Gallop's resignation. Opened the Mandurah line. Sacked three ministers after allegations of impropriety involving former premier Brian Burke by the Corruption and Crime Commission. Defeated at the 2008 election.
29 Colin Barnett (formal) crop.jpg Colin Barnett MLA for Cottesloe 23 September 200817 March 20178 years, 175 days Liberal Barnett Ministry [20]
Won the 2008 election after gaining the support of the National Party and three Independent MPs. Won a majority at the 2013 election but continued in partnership with the National Party. Constructed Elizabeth Quay and the Gateway WA road upgrade. Started construction on NorthLink WA, the Perth Freight Link, Perth Stadium, Perth City Link, and the Forrestfield-Airport Link. Lost the state's AAA credit rating. Defeated at the 2017 election.
30 Mark McGowan headshot.jpg Mark McGowan MLA for Rockingham 17 March 2017incumbent5 years, 323 days Labor First McGowan Ministry
Second McGowan Ministry
Won the 2017 and 2021 elections. Cancelled the Perth Freight Link highway project. Legalised voluntary assisted dying. Created Metronet to handle various passenger rail expansions. Premier during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Western Australia remained largely free of the virus from 2020 to 2021. Brought the state into a surplus.

Premiers to have gone into federal politics

The premiers to have gone into federal politics are John Forrest, Hal Colebatch and Carmen Lawrence. [39]

Ministries held by premiers

Prior to 2001, the premier was typically the treasurer (colonial treasurer prior to 1924 [40] ) as well. Since then, the only premiers to also be treasurer are Colin Barnett, who held the position intermittently, and Mark McGowan, who has held the position since March 2021. [41]


There are 16 premiers born in Western Australia, eight premiers born in the eastern parts of Australia, and six premiers born outside Australia. Every premier born in the eastern parts of Australia is a Labor Premier, and every Labor premier prior to John Tonkin was born in the eastern parts of Australia. Every premier born outside Australia is a non-Labor premier, and all were born in the British Isles. [10] Two premiers came from Bunbury: John Forrest and James Mitchell. Ross McLarty was born in the small town of Pinjarra, David Brand was born in Dongara, and John Tonkin was born in Boulder. [10] Carmen Lawrence was born in Northam but grew up in Gutha, Morawa and Dongara. [9] Geoff Gallop was born and raised in Geraldton. [42] [43] Alan Carpenter was born and raised in Albany. [44] [45] The eight remaining premiers were born in Perth. [10]

Western Australia 16 John Forrest
George Leake
Walter James
Newton Moore
Henry Lefroy
James Mitchell
Ross McLarty
David Brand
John Tonkin
Ray O'Connor
Brian Burke
Carmen Lawrence
Richard Court
Geoff Gallop
Alan Carpenter
Colin Barnett
England 4 Hector Rason [10]
Frank Wilson [10]
Hal Colebatch [10]
Charles Court [10]
Victoria 3 Henry Daglish [10]
Philip Collier [10]
Peter Dowding
New South Wales 2 John Willcock [10]
Mark McGowan
South Australia 2 John Scaddan [10]
Albert Hawke [10]
Ireland 1 George Throssell [10]
Queensland 1 Frank Wise [10]
Wales 1 Alf Morgans [10]


The median age of a premier on the first day of their first term is roughly 49 years, and 280 days which falls between Mark McGowan and Philip Collier. The youngest person to assume the office was John Scaddan at 35 years and 64 days. The oldest person to assume office was John Tonkin at 69 years and 29 days.

The oldest living former premier is Peter Dowding, born 6 October 1943 (age 79 years, 120 days). The youngest living former premier is Alan Carpenter, born 4 January 1957, (age 66 years, 30 days). The youngest living premier is the incumbent Mark McGowan, born 13 July 1967, (age 55 years, 205 days).

The longest-lived premier was Charles Court who died on 22 December 2007 aged 96 years and 84 days. John Tonkin was the second longest-lived premier, aged 93 years and 260 days, 2 years and 189 days short of Court. The oldest living premier, Peter Dowding will tie Tonkin if he lives to 23 June 2037, and tie Court if he lives to 29 December 2039. The shortest-lived premier was George Leake who died in office at the age of 45 years and 203 days on 24 June 1902.

The premier with the longest retirement is Frank Wise. He left office on 1 April 1947, and died 39 years and 89 days later on 29 June 1986. Brian Burke left office on 25 February 1988. If he's still alive on 25 May 2027, he will surpass Wise's record, and become the premier with the longest retirement. The premier with the shortest retirement is Frank Wilson, who died on 7 December 1918, 1 year and 162 days after leaving office on 28 June 1917.

#PremierBornTook officeAgeLeft officeAgeDiedLength of retirementLifespan
1 John Forrest 22 August 184729 December 189043 years, 129 days15 February 190153 years, 177 days2 September 191817 years, 199 days71 years, 11 days
2 George Throssell 23 May 184015 February 190160 years, 268 days27 May 190161 years, 4 days30 August 19109 years, 95 days70 years, 99 days
3 George Leake 3 December 185627 May 190144 years, 175 days24 June 1902 [46] 45 years, 203 days24 June 190245 years, 203 days
4 Alf Morgans 17 February 185021 November 190151 years, 277 days23 December 190151 years, 309 days10 August 193331 years, 230 days83 years, 174 days
5 Walter James 29 March 18631 July 190239 years, 94 days10 August 190441 years, 134 days3 January 194338 years, 146 days79 years, 280 days
6 Henry Daglish 18 November 186610 August 190437 years, 266 days25 August 190538 years, 280 days16 August 192014 years, 357 days53 years, 272 days
7 Hector Rason 18 June 185825 August 190547 years, 68 days7 May 190647 years, 323 days15 March 192720 years, 312 days68 years, 270 days
8 Newton Moore 17 May 18707 May 190635 years, 355 days29 August 190440 years, 122 days28 October 193626 years, 42 days66 years, 164 days
9 Frank Wilson 12 May 185916 September 191051 years, 127 days28 June 191758 years, 47 days7 December 19181 year, 162 days59 years, 209 days
10 John Scaddan 4 August 18767 October 191135 years, 64 days26 July 191639 years, 357 days21 November 193418 years, 118 days58 years, 109 days
11 Henry Lefroy 24 March 185428 June 191763 years, 96 days17 April 191965 years, 24 days19 March 193010 years, 336 days75 years, 360 days
12 Hal Colebatch 29 March 187217 April 191947 years, 19 days17 May 191947 years, 49 days12 February 195333 years, 271 days80 years, 320 days
13 James Mitchell 27 April 186617 May 191953 years, 20 days24 April 193366 years, 362 days26 July 195118 years, 93 days85 years, 90 days
14 Philip Collier 21 April 187316 April 192450 years, 361 days19 August 193663 years, 120 days18 October 194812 years, 60 days75 years, 180 days
15 John Willcock 9 August 187920 August 193657 years, 11 days31 July 194565 years, 356 days7 June 195611 years, 311 days77 years, 302 days
16 Frank Wise 30 May 189731 July 194548 years, 62 days1 April 194749 years, 306 days29 June 198639 years, 89 days89 years, 30 days
17 Ross McLarty 17 March 18911 April 194756 years, 15 days23 February 195361 years, 343 days22 December 19629 years, 302 days71 years, 280 days
18 Albert Hawke 3 December 190023 February 195352 years, 82 days2 April 195958 years, 120 days14 February 198626 years, 318 days85 years, 73 days
19 David Brand 1 August 19122 April 195946 years, 244 days3 March 197158 years, 214 days15 April 19798 years, 43 days66 years, 257 days
20 John Tonkin 2 February 19023 March 197169 years, 29 days8 April 197472 years, 65 days20 October 199521 years, 195 days93 years, 260 days
21 Charles Court 29 September 19118 April 197462 years, 191 days25 January 198270 years, 118 days22 December 200725 years, 331 days96 years, 84 days
22 Ray O'Connor 6 March 192625 January 198255 years, 325 days25 February 198356 years, 356 days25 February 201330 years, 0 days86 years, 356 days
23 Brian Burke 25 February 194725 February 198336 years, 0 days25 February 198841 years, 0 days34 years, 343 days75 years, 343 days
24 Peter Dowding 6 October 194325 February 198844 years, 142 days12 February 199046 years, 129 days32 years, 356 days79 years, 120 days
25 Carmen Lawrence 2 March 194812 February 199041 years, 347 days16 February 199344 years, 351 days29 years, 352 days74 years, 338 days
26 Richard Court 27 September 194716 February 199345 years, 142 days10 February 200153 years, 136 days21 years, 358 days75 years, 129 days
27 Geoff Gallop 27 September 195110 February 200149 years, 136 days25 January 200654 years, 120 days17 years, 9 days71 years, 129 days
28 Alan Carpenter 4 January 195725 January 200649 years, 21 days23 September 200851 years, 263 days14 years, 133 days66 years, 30 days
29 Colin Barnett 15 July 195023 September 200858 years, 70 days17 March 201766 years, 245 days5 years, 323 days72 years, 203 days
30 Mark McGowan 13 July 196717 March 201749 years, 247 daysIncumbentIncumbentIncumbent55 years, 205 days


Living former premiers

As of 3 February 2023, there are seven former premiers alive, as well as the current premier. The most recent premier to die is Ray O'Connor, who died on 25 February 2013 aged 86. [48] [18]

NameTerm as premierDate of birthCurrent age
Brian Burke 1983–198825 February 194775 years, 343 days
Peter Dowding 1988–19906 October 194379 years, 120 days
Carmen Lawrence 1990–19932 March 194874 years, 338 days
Richard Court 1993–200127 September 194775 years, 129 days
Geoff Gallop 2001–200627 September 195171 years, 129 days
Alan Carpenter 2006–20084 January 195766 years, 30 days
Colin Barnett 2008–201715 July 195072 years, 203 days

Oldest living premiers of Western Australia

Not all premiers live to become the oldest of their time. Of the 22 deceased premiers, 12 eventually became the oldest of their time, while 10 did not. Frank Wise became the oldest living premier when Ross McLarty died in 1962 and remained so until his death in 1986, for a record 23 years and 189 days. Hal Colebatch became the oldest living premier when James Mitchell died in 1951, but he survived Mitchell by only 1 year and 201 days.

On one occasion the oldest living premier lost this distinction not by his death, but due to the appointment of a premier who was older. John Forrest lost this distinction when George Throssell was appointed, but when Throssell died in 1910, Forrest regained it again until his own death in 1918 for a total period of 18 years and 51 days. John Tonkin was the oldest to acquire this distinction at the age of 84 years, and 147 days. Albert Hawke, who was aged 85 years, and 73 days when he died, on 14 February 1986 was the oldest and most recent premier to die without ever acquiring this distinction.

PremierPeriod when oldest living premierAgeDuration
Start dateEnd dateat startat end
John Forrest 29 December 189015 February 190143 years, 129 days53 years, 177 days10 years, 48 days
George Throssell 15 February 190130 August 191060 years, 268 days70 years, 99 days9 years, 196 days
John Forrest 30 August 19102 September 191863 years, 8 days71 years, 11 days8 years, 3 days
Alf Morgans 2 September 191810 August 193368 years, 197 days83 years, 174 days14 years, 342 days
Walter James 10 August 19333 January 194370 years, 134 days79 years, 280 days9 years, 146 days
James Mitchell 3 January 194326 July 195176 years, 251 days85 years, 90 days8 years, 204 days
Hal Colebatch 26 July 195112 February 195379 years, 119 days80 years, 320 days1 year, 201 days
John Willcock 12 February 19537 June 195673 years, 187 days76 years, 303 days3 years, 116 days
Ross McLarty 7 June 195622 December 196265 years, 82 days71 years, 280 days6 years, 198 days
Frank Wise 22 December 196229 June 198665 years, 206 days89 years, 30 days23 years, 189 days
John Tonkin 29 June 198620 October 199584 years, 147 days93 years, 260 days9 years, 113 days
Charles Court 20 October 199522 December 200784 years, 21 days96 years, 84 days12 years, 63 days
Ray O'Connor 22 December 200725 February 201381 years, 291 days86 years, 356 days5 years, 65 days
Peter Dowding 25 February 2013Current oldest living premier69 years, 142 daysCurrent oldest living premier9 years, 343 days
PremierStart dateEnd dateAge at startAge at endDuration


Graphical timeline

Mark McGowanColin BarnettAlan CarpenterGeoff GallopRichard CourtCarmen LawrencePeter DowdingBrian Burke (Australian politician)Ray O'ConnorCharles CourtJohn TonkinDavid BrandAlbert HawkeRoss McLartyFrank WiseJohn WillcockPhilip CollierJames Mitchell (Australian politician)Hal ColebatchHenry LefroyJohn ScaddanFrank Wilson (politician)Newton MooreHector RasonHenry DaglishWalter James (Australian politician)Alf MorgansGeorge LeakeGeorge ThrossellJohn ForrestPremier of Western Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Premier of New South Wales</span> Head of government for the state of New South Wales, Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hal Colebatch</span> Australian politician

Sir Harry Pateshall Colebatch was a long-serving figure in Western Australian politics. He was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council for nearly 20 years, the twelfth Premier of Western Australia for a month in 1919, agent-general in London for five years, and a senator for four years. He was known for supporting free trade, federalism and Western Australian secessionism, and for opposing communism, socialism and fascism. Born in England, his family migrated to South Australia when Colebatch was four years old. He left school aged 11 and worked for several newspapers in South Australia before moving to Broken Hill in New South Wales in 1888 to work as a reporter for the Silver Age. In 1894, he moved to the Western Australian Goldfields following the gold rush there, working for the Golden Age in Coolgardie and the Kalgoorlie Miner in Kalgoorlie. Two years later, he moved to Perth to join the Morning Herald, but after that newspaper collapsed, he moved to Northam where he started The Northam Advertiser. He also became friends with local bank manager James Mitchell and convinced Mitchell to run for state parliament. Colebatch was the mayor of Northam between 1909 and 1912.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Throssell</span> Australian politician

George Lionel Throssell was the second Premier of Western Australia. He served for just three months, from 15 February to 27 May 1901, during a period of great instability in Western Australian politics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alf Morgans</span> Australian politician

Alfred Edward Morgans was the fourth Premier of Western Australia, serving for just over a month, from 21 November to 23 December 1901.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Mitchell (Australian politician)</span> Western Australian politician and Governor

Sir James Mitchell, was an Australian politician. He served as premier of Western Australia from 1919 to 1924 and from 1930 to 1933, as leader of the Nationalist Party. He then held viceregal office from 1933 to 1951, as acting governor from 1933 to 1948 and governor of Western Australia from 1948 until his death in 1951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Lefroy</span> Australian politician

Sir Henry Bruce Lefroy was the eleventh Premier of Western Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malcolm Fraser (surveyor)</span> Australian politician

Sir Malcolm Fraser was Surveyor-General in colonial Western Australia from 1872 to 1883 and Agent-General for the colony 1892 to 1898.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Tonkin</span> Australian politician

John Trezise Tonkin AC, popularly known as "Honest John", was an Australian politician.

The following lists events that happened during 1979 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1891 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1927 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1898 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1953 in Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Karrakatta Cemetery</span> Cemetery in Perth, Western Australia

Karrakatta Cemetery is a metropolitan cemetery in the suburb of Karrakatta in Perth, Western Australia. Karrakatta Cemetery first opened for burials in 1899, the first being that of wheelwright Robert Creighton. Managed by the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board, the cemetery attracts more than one million visitors each year. Cypress trees located near the main entrance are a hallmark of Karrakatta Cemetery. The cemetery contains a crematorium, and in 1995 Western Australia's first mausoleum opened at the site.

The following lists events that happened during 1880 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1886 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1861 in Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cornish Australians</span> Australians of Cornish heritage

Cornish Australians are citizens of Australia who are fully or partially of Cornish heritage or descent, an ethnic group native to Cornwall in the United Kingdom.

William James George CMG was an Australian engineer and politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1895 to 1902 and from 1909 to 1930. He was a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.


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  47. Updated daily according to UTC.
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  49. Updated daily according to UTC.