Former governor-general Sir Ninian Stephen dies age 94

Sir Ninian Stephen pictured in 1994. Image: Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Sir Ninian Stephen, who was governor-general in Australia from 1982 until 1989 has died.

He also served as a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1972 until 1982.

Born in England, Stephen lived in France, Germany, Scotland, and Switzerland, before coming to Australia at the age of 16. Serving time with the Australian Army during WWII he then went on to his legal profession, becoming one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers. 

Read more: Bob Hawke tells us what he really thinks of the state of politics and the Queen.

He was appointed governor-general on the recommendation of Malcolm Fraser. In 1987, on Bob Hawke’s advice, the Queen extended Stephen’s term by 18 months.

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Sir Ninian Stephens with then Prime Minister Bob Hawke at Hawke memoirs launch in 1994 in Sydney, Australia. Image: Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

He was the only governor-general to approve two double dissolutions during his time in office.

In his later years he became the first Australian Ambassador for the Environment.

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The news of his death was announced by Government House in a statement. He was 94.

“Our nation is a better place due to his service and he will be most warmly remembered,” Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said.

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Do you remember him during his time as governor-general?