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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Robinson, His Excellency Sir William Cleaver Francis

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Robinson, His Excellency Sir William Cleaver Francis, G.C.M.G., F.R.G.S. for the third time Governor of Western Australia, is the third son of the late Admiral Hercules Robinson, of Bosmead, co. Westmeath, by Frances Elizabeth, his wife, only daughter of Henry Widman Wood, of Rosmead. He was born on Jan. 14th, 1834, and was private secretary to his elder brother, Sir Hercules Robinson, in the governments of St. Kitts and Hong Kong, from 1855 to 1860; administered the government of Dominica, Jan. to Oct 1865; Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Falkland Islands, 1866 to 1870; Governor of Prince Edward Island, July 1870 to Nov. 1878; Governor of Western Australia, Nov. 14th, 1874, to August 28th, 1877; Governor of Straits Settlements, 1877 to 1879; proceeded to Bangkok in 1878, on a special mission to invest the King of Siam with the G.C.M.G., on which occasion his majesty conferred on him the Grand Gross of the Order of the Crown of Siam, which the Queen authorised him to accept and wear. Sir William was reappointed Governor of Western Australia for the second time in 1880, a position which he occupied from April 10th of that year to Feb. 17th, 1883. Sir William was Governor of South Australia from Feb. 16th, 1883, to March 6th, 1889, when he left to assume the acting governorship of Victoria, during the absence in England, on leave, of Sir Henry Brougham Loch. His administration, which extended from March 9th to Oct. 18th, 1889, was marked with great success. Sir Henry Loch having returned and departed for the Cape, Sir William administered the Government from Nov. 16th to 28th, pending the arrival of the Earl of Hopetoun, who had been appointed to succeed Sir H. Loch. Sir William subsequently proceeded to England, having been in the meantime nominated for the third time to the governorship of Western Australia, it being the desire of Her Majesty's Government to avail themselves of his administrative experience and previous knowledge of the colony to preside over the inauguration of responsible government in the last of the Crown colonies of the Australian group. Sir William rendered valuable assistance whilst in London both to the Colonial Office and to the Western Australian delegation in facilitating the passage of the Constitution Bill, through the Imperial Parliament. After having been received by the Queen at Balmoral, Sir William Robinson left for Perth in Sept 1890. He married April 7th, 1862, Olivia Edith Deane, fourth daughter of the Right Rev. Dr. Thomas Townshend, Bishop of Meath, and was created C.M.G. in 1873, K.C.M.G. in 1877, and G.C.M.G. on May 24th, 1887. Sir William was very cordially received on his return to Western Australia, and carried out all the formalities in connection with the inauguration of responsible government with entire success . It may be mentioned that so satisfied were all parties in Victoria with Sir William Robinson's brief administration of the affairs of that colony that the head of the Government and the leader of the Opposition were about to send a joint request to the Colonial Office that Sir William might be appointed to permanently succeed Sir Henry Loon as Governor, when news came that Lord Hopetoun had been appointed. Sir William Robinson is a musician of considerable eminence, and has composed a number of popular songs, amongst which the best known are—"Remember me so more," "I love thee so," "Imperfectus," "Severed," "Thou art my soul," etc. Towards the end of 1891 Sir William Robinson went to England on leave and was offered the post of Agent-General of Western Australia. This, however, he declined, and returned to the colony as Governor, leaving England in May 1892.