Henry Lionel Galway

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Sir Henry Lionel Galway (ca.1900)

Sir Henry Lionel Galway (born September 25, 1859 in Alverstoke , Southampton , England , † June 17, 1949 in London ; born Henry Lionel Gallwey ) was a British colonial administrator. He was governor of colonies in Nigeria , St. Helena , Gambia and the Australian state of South Australia .


Born in 1859 to an Army doctor, Galway trained at the Royal Military College Sandhurst . He then served in the 30th Regiment of Foot Infantry Regiment from 1878 and was promoted to captain in 1887 .

Galway joined the colonial service in 1882 as aide-de-camp and private secretary to the governor of Bermuda . In 1891 he became deputy administrator and vice-consul of a protectorate in the Niger Delta . He tried to deceive the King of Benin into signing a unilateral treaty that would have made Benin a de facto colony of Great Britain. A year later, this treaty formed the basis of a punitive expedition that ultimately led to the destruction of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897. During the campaign, English troops stole around 2,800 bronze and ivory statues, which later became the property of the British Museum in London. In 1897 Galway was promoted to major .

With the rank of lieutenant colonel , he resigned from the army in 1901 and was governor of St. Helena from 1902 to 1911 . He then took over the post of governor of Gambia (1911-1914).

On April 18, 1914, he was appointed Governor of South Australia. Shortly after the start of his term in office, he drew the resentment of large parts of the population. So he was in favor of the introduction of conscription and supported the controversial River Murray Waters Agreement . His liberal attitudes towards gambling and alcohol angered the strictly religious puritans . He criticized the egalitarian Australian society, women's suffrage and the education system. His plan to abolish the White Australia Policy in order to lure Asian workers to the Northern Territory forced Prime Minister Andrew Fisher to deny and apologize to the population .

The Colonial Office was also dissatisfied with its work. He refused to send copies of his correspondence and documents to the Governor General of Australia . However, he had success in recruiting volunteer recruits during the First World War , so he stayed in office. In 1917 a referendum was held on the introduction of general conscription, which was ultimately rejected. Galway commented on this by saying that it must be a “joyful day” for Germany, for which he was heavily criticized in the newspapers and triggered a motion in parliament to abolish the governorship. However, this was ultimately not crowned with success.

After the end of his term of office in 1920 he was not given a new office and returned to the United Kingdom. Galway, who changed his last name from Gallwey to Galway in 1911, died in London on June 17, 1949.



predecessor Office successor
Sir George Chardin Denton Governor of Gambia
Edward John Cameron