- Arthur Edward Kennedy
name=Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy
office=Governor of Hong Kong
term_start=16 April 1872
term_end=22 April 1877
Richard Graves MacDonnell
John Pope Hennessy
County Down, Ireland
death_date=death date and age|df=yes|1883|6|3|1809|4|5
profession=soldier, colonial administrator
Trinity College, Dublin
Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy GCMG CB (5 April 1809 – 3 June 1883) was a British colonial administrator who served as
governorof a number of British colonies, namely Sierra Leone, Western Australia, Vancouver Island, Hong Kongand Queensland.
Early life and career
Arthur Kennedy was born in
Cultra, County Down, Irelandon 5 April 1809, the fourth son of Hugh Kennedy and his wife Grace Dorothea (née Hughes). He was educated by private tutor and in 1823–24 attended Trinity College, Dublin, where he met his predecessor as Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell.
Kennedy entered the
British Army, and was gazetted an Ensign in the 11th Footon 15 August 1827. Until 1837 he served with infantry regiments on Corfu. He spent 1838–1839 and 1841–1844 in British North America. In 1841 he purchased a Captaincy in the 68th Foot.
Kennedy returned to
Irelandin 1846, and the following year sold his captaincy and took up an appointment with the Poor Law Commission. His job was to administer relief to the many inhabitants of County Clarewho were affected by the Potato Famine.
In 1851, the famine having ended, Kennedy's position was abolished, and he applied for a position in the Colonial Service. In May 1852 he was appointed Governor of
The Gambia, but before assuming office he was appointed Governor of Sierra Leoneinstead. He served in this office until 1854, during which time he made many administrative changes in an attempt to reform the corrupt and inefficient government.
Governor of Western Australia
In 1854, Kennedy was promoted to the position of
Governor of Western Australia. He took up the position the following year, serving until 1862. He reputably had an autocratic manner and was considered a despot by many Western Australians. Popular opinion quickly turned against him, and in August 1856 a public meeting was held in Perth to protest against his methods. During his tenure as governor, Western Australia flourished, essentially because of the large amount of British money that was spent in the colony under the system of penal transportationof convicts. However when Kennedy resigned in 1862, he claimed that much of the colony's success was due to his legislative efforts. On his return to England, he was appointed a CB.
Governor of Vancouver Island
Kennedy's next appointment came in July 1863. The decision had been made that Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which had previously been governed together by a single governor, were each to have their own governor, and Kennedy was appointed Governor of Vancouver Island. Compared to his previous appointments, Vancouver Island was comparatively insignificant, and might be considered a demotion. Kennedy arrived at Vancouver Island in March 1864. Facing an extremely aggressive
Legislative Assemblydetermined to challenge his executive power, Kennedy achieved little of note in his two years in office. During this time the colony fell into a disastrous economic depression, and Kennedy was unfairly blamed by the colony's inhabitants. With the creation of the United Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, Kennedy left office in October 1866.
Governor of the West African Settlements
Governor of Hong Kong
In 1872, Kennedy was appointed the 7th
Governor of Hong Kong, a position in which he served until 1877. During his tenure, he created the Hong Kong dollar, which served as the unitary monetary unit for the territory. Since this time, the Hong Kong dollar has (albeit with a short period of disruption) served as the single monetary unit for the entire territory. He also developed Kennedy Town, the western end of Victoria Cityon the Hong Kong Island.
Governor of Queensland
After his appointment as Governor of Hong Kong expired, Kennedy was immediately appointed
Governor of Queensland, serving in that position until 1883. That was his last post in the Colonial Service. In 1881, Kennedy was created a GCMG.
On his resignation as Governor of Queensland, Kennedy boarded the "Orient" with the intention of returning to
England. On 3 June 1883, when the "Orient" was off Adenin the Red Sea, Kennedy died. He was buried at sea.
In 1839, Kennedy married Georgina MacCartney, who died on 3 October 1874. They had two daughters and a son, Arthur Herbert Williams, who entered the army. His daughter, Elizabeth, married
Richard Meade, 4th Earl of Clanwilliam.
Places named after him
Kennedy Town, an area in the Western District of Hong Kong, and Kennedy Road, which is located in the mid-level of Wan Chaiin Hong Kong, were both named after him. Kennedy Lake, a large freshwater lake near Port Alberni, British Columbiais likewise named for him.
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=5622 "Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy" at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
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