Queen Victoria’s Letters Patent, signed on 29 October 1900, established the first Commonwealth office, that of her representative, the Governor-General. The Letters Patent declare the powers of the Governor-General to constitute and appoint Judges and Ministers of State, and grant the use of a private seal. With the Constitution Act, the Royal Assent and the Royal Instructions to the Governor-General, this is one of the four documents which created the new Commonwealth.

Queen Victoria appointed Lord Hopetoun as Australia’s first Governor-General on 14 July 1900 and signed this document, lawfully establishing the office, on 29 October 1900.

The Letters Patent were read out to the assembled crowds at the inauguration ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney, on 1 January 1901 when Lord Hopetoun took office.

Categories: HistoryLaw


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