Thomas Gore Browne

Last updated

Sir Thomas Robert Gore Browne
Thomas Gore Browne.jpg
Governor of Saint Helena
In office
18 July 1851 15 December 1854
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by Patrick Ross
Succeeded by Edward Hay Drummond Hay
4th Governor of New Zealand
In office
6 September 1855 3 October 1861
Monarch Victoria
Premier Henry Sewell
William Fox
Edward Stafford
Preceded by Sir George Grey
Succeeded by Sir George Grey
2nd Governor of Tasmania
In office
11 December 1861 30 December 1868
Preceded by Sir Henry Young
Succeeded by Charles Du Cane
Personal details
Born(1807-07-03)3 July 1807
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Died 17 April 1887(1887-04-17) (aged 79)
London, England, UK
Nationality British

Colonel Sir Thomas Robert Gore Browne, KCMG CB (3 July 1807 – 17 April 1887) was a British colonial administrator, who was Governor of St Helena, Governor of New Zealand, Governor of Tasmania and Governor of Bermuda.

Governor-General of New Zealand representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is shared equally with the 15 other Commonwealth realms, and resides in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out most of her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand. Once in office, the governor-general maintains direct contact with the Queen, wherever she may be at the time.

Governor of Tasmania vice-regal representative of the Australian monarch in Tasmania

The Governor of Tasmania is the representative in the Australian state of Tasmania of Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The Governor performs the same constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level as the Governor-General of Australia does at the national level.

Governor of Bermuda position

The Governor of Bermuda is the representative of the British monarch in the British overseas territory of Bermuda. The Governor is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the British government. The role of the Governor is to act as the de facto head of state, and he or she is responsible for appointing the Premier and the 11 members of the Senate.


Early life

Browne was born on 3 July 1807 in Aylesbury, in the county of Buckinghamshire, England, a son of Robert Browne and Sarah Dorothea née  Steward. Of Irish extraction, the family had a military or church tradition; his father was a colonel in the Buckinghamshire Militia [1] while his younger brother, Harold Browne, later became Bishop of Winchester. [2]

Aylesbury town and civil parish in Buckinghamshire, England

Aylesbury is the county town of Buckinghamshire, England. It is an ancient market town with several historic pubs, is home to the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery and, since 2010, the 1,200 seat Waterside Theatre. The predecessor to the paralympic games started in the town. Is also known to have the highest concentration of blue cards per km in the UK.

Harold Browne 19th-century Anglican Bishop of Winchester

Edward Harold Browne was a bishop of the Church of England.

Bishop of Winchester Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (cathedra) is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.

Military career

In 1824, Browne kept up his family's military tradition and joined the British Army as an ensign in the 44th Regiment of Foot. After four years, he transferred into the 28th Regiment of Foot. In 1832, and now a captain, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Baron Nugent, the High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. He served in this role for three years, which included a spell as colonial secretary. [3]

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.

George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent of Carlanstown, GCMG, was an Irish politician.

Now a major, Browne was posted to the 41st Regiment of Foot. In 1842, the regiment was dispatched to Afghanistan and fought in the First Anglo-Afghan War. He led the regiment for a time and commanded the rearguard as the British Army retreated from Khyber Pass into India. After his return from the campaign in Afghanistan, Browne was promoted lieutenant-colonel. He was also appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath. [3] In 1849, he exchanged into the 21st Regiment of Foot. [2]

First Anglo-Afghan War one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game

The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the British East India Company and the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. Initially, the British successfully intervened in a succession dispute between emir Dost Mohammad (Barakzai) and former emir Shah Shujah (Durrani), whom they installed upon conquering Kabul in August 1839. The main British Indian and Sikh force occupying Kabul along with their camp followers, having endured harsh winters as well, was almost completely annihilated while retreating in January 1842. The British then sent an Army of Retribution to Kabul to avenge their defeat, and having demolished parts of the capital and recovered prisoners they left Afghanistan altogether by the end of the year. Dost Mohamed returned from exile in India to resume his rule.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

Browne retired from the British Army on half-pay in 1851 and shortly took up an appointment as Governor of the island of Saint Helena. [3] He served in this capacity from July 1851 to December 1854, [4] and during this time worked towards improving the island's water supply. [2]

Saint Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the mouth of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of 4,534. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.


In 1851 Browne married Harriet Louisa Campbell. His wife was a considerable support to his political career. She was over 20 years his junior and was well read, socially accomplished with a pleasant personality, and had an excellent understanding of the political environment in which she and her husband circulated. In addition to her influence over Browne, her hospitality and contribution to the social and cultural life during Browne's placements assisted him in influencing others to support his political views. [5]

Harriet Louisa Browne Political hostess, community leader, letter-writer

Harriet Louisa Browne was a New Zealand political salon hostess, community leader and letter-writer. She was born in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

Governor of New Zealand

In September 1855, Browne was appointed Governor of New Zealand, replacing temporary Administrator Robert Wynyard. His handling of Māori land issues were a contributing factor in the outbreak of the First Taranaki War: despite divisions among Waitara Maori over the ownership of land, Browne persisted with the purchase of the disputed Pekapeka block, further inflaming tensions between Maori and English settlers. [6]

On 5 March 1860, Browne ordered the military occupation of the land, leading to the outbreak of war twelve days later. The following year, he negotiated a truce to end the fighting in the region. His governorship term ended in May 1861; rather than extend it, the Colonial Office in London replaced him with Sir George Grey.

The town of Gore, New Zealand was named after him. [7]

Governor of Tasmania

In December 1861, Browne was appointed Governor of Tasmania. At the time, Tasmania was struggling economically and people were leaving for better employment prospects on the Australian mainland. To counter this, Browne implemented measures to encourage immigration. He also worked towards improving public education and training in the trades. A popular governor for most of his term, he lost goodwill when he displayed favouritism when filling a public service position. [2] In January 1869, he left Australia for England. While in Melbourne, his point of departure from the country, his youngest child died. [8]

Later life

After being appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1869, Browne, with the assistance of Edward Cardwell, the Secretary of State for War, was appointed Administrator of Bermuda. This was to help secure Browne a pension [1] and he served in this capacity from May 1870 to April 1871. [2]

Brown died in London on 17 April 1887. He was survived by his wife, Harriet Louisa Browne née  Campbell. The couple had several children; the eldest son, Harold Browne, also served in the British Army and fought in the Boer War of 1899-1900, and took part in the defence of Ladysmith. [6] His daughter, Ethel, married Hugh Locke King who built the Brooklands motor racing circuit in England, [9] while his youngest son, Wilfrid was the first Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman in South Africa. [10]


  1. 1 2 Dalton, B. J. "Browne, Thomas Robert Gore". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Amos, Helen M. (1969). "Browne, Sir Thomas Gore (1807–1887)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 Sinclair, Keith (1966). "Browne, Sir Thomas Gore". An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. Turner, John. "The Governor of St Helena". Saint Helena Island Info. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  5. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga. "Browne, Harriet Louisa". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  6. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg  Lloyd, Ernest Marsh (1901). "Browne, Thomas Gore". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 305–306.
  7. "District Information". Gore District, New Zealand . Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  8. "Departure of Governor Gore Browne for England". Daily Southern Cross (3591, Vol. XXV). 21 January 1869.
  9. "Dame Ethel Locke King". Times. 6 August 1956.
  10. "Death of Bishop of Kimberley". Diamond Fields Advertiser. 16 March 1928.
Government offices
Preceded by
Patrick Ross
Governor of Saint Helena
Succeeded by
Edward Hay Drummond Hay
Preceded by
Sir George Grey
Governor of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Sir George Grey
Preceded by
Sir Henry Young
Governor of Tasmania
Succeeded by
Charles Du Cane

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