Donald Dunstan (governor)
Sir Donald Dunstan
AC, KBE, CB
|30th Governor of South Australia|
23 April 1982 – 5 February 1991
|Monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Preceded by||Sir Keith Seaman|
|Succeeded by||Dame Roma Mitchell|
|Born||Donald Beaumont Dunstan
18 February 1923
Murray Bridge, South Australia
|Died||15 October 2011
Adelaide, South Australia
|Alma mater||Royal Military College, Duntroon|
|Years of service||1940–1982|
|Commands||Chief of the General Staff
1st Australian Task Force
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
|Battles/wars||World War II
|Awards||Companion of the Order of Australia
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant General Sir Donald Beaumont Dunstan, AC, KBE, CB (18 February 1923 – 15 October 2011) was an Australian Army officer who was Governor of South Australia from 23 April 1982 until 5 February 1991. A career officer, after joining the Army in 1940 during the Second World War, Dunstan graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1942 and served as an infantry officer, seeing combat against the Japanese during the Bougainville Campaign in 1945. After the war, he served in a variety of appointments, including as commander of the 1st Australian Task Force during the Vietnam War. From 1977 to 1982 he held the appointment of Chief of the General Staff, before retiring from the Army having overseen a large-scale re-organisation. Afterwards, he became the longest-serving Governor of South Australia. He died in 2011, at the age of 88.
Born in Murray Bridge, South Australia, on 18 February 1923, Dunstan joined the Australian Army and was accepted into the Royal Military College, Duntroon in February 1940 amidst the backdrop of the Second World War. A career officer, after graduating from Duntroon in June 1942, having completed a cut-down 18 month version of the normally four-year course, Dunstan was allocated to the infantry and posted to the 27th Battalion, a South Australian Militia unit known as the South Australian Scottish Regiment. He subsequently served with the 27th until the end of the war, expect for a brief period when he was seconded to headquarters 23rd Brigade.
With the 27th Battalion, Dunstan saw combat against the Japanese during the Bougainville Campaign in 1945, and received a Mention in Despatches for his actions while commanding a platoon. After the war, he served as a staff officer in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan following the war, transferring to the newly established Australian Regular Army in 1947. Upon returning to Australia in 1948, Dunstan married Beryl Dunningham and was posted to Keswick Barracks in Adelaide, South Australia, where he served on the staff of the 4th Miltiary District.
Dunstan was then posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) as second-in-command in 1953. He then saw service in Korea including a period as Military Assistant to the Commander in Chief of the British Commonwealth Forces Korea. Between May 1964 and February 1965, Dunstan commanded 1 RAR, before later holding an appointment at the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. Having reached the rank of colonel, in early 1968 he was deployed to Vietnam as deputy commander of the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF). He took over from Brigadier Ron Hughes as Commander of the 1 ATF on 21 May 1968 during the Battle of Coral–Balmoral. For his services during this battle, he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 1969.
That year he returned to Australia and on promotion to brigadier took over the 10th Task Force, which was based in New South Wales. He attended the Imperial Defence College in London in 1970 and afterwards he was promoted to major general and appointed Commander of Australian Forces in Vietnam. He remained in the country throughout 1971 and 1972 and oversaw the withdrawal of Australian forces, for which he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath. His next appointments were Chief of Materiel in Army Headquarters (1972–74) and General Officer Commanding Field Forces (1974–77). In 1977, having been raised to the rank of lieutenant general, he became Chief of the General Staff (CGS), being extended in that capacity twice before retiring from the Army in 1982. During his time as CGS, Dunstan reorganised the Army around the concept of specialised brigades and worked to improve the readiness of Army units to meet rapidly developing threats. This work later proved pivitol in ensuring the success of the Australian intervention in East Timor in 1999. His service as service chief was recognised by his appointment as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980.
Following his retirement from the Army, Dunstan returned to South Australia, assuming the appointment of Governor of South Australia. The longest holder of that appointment, he retired from the role in 1991. For his work, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia that same year. He died in Adelaide on 15 October 2011, and was given a state funeral.
Honours and awards
Lieutenant General Sir Donald Dunstan was decorated with the following honours:
|Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)||(1991)|
|Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)||Military (1979)|
|Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)||Military (1969)|
|Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)||Military (1954)|
|Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB)||Military (1972)|
|War Medal, 1939–45
with Bronze Oakleaf for Mentioned in Despatches
|Australia Service Medal 1939–45|
|Australian Active Service Medal 1945–1975|
|United Nations Korea Medal|
|Australian Service Medal 1945–1975|
|Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal||(1977)|
|Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star (5 clasps)||(40–44 years service)|
|National Medal with rosette (2 clasps)||(1977)|
|Australian Defence Medal|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
- "Ex-SA governor dies". ninemsn. 16 October 2011.
- "Former SA governor Dunstan dies". ABC News. 17 October 2011.
- Australian Army Journal 2011, p. 187.
- Festberg 1972, p. 87.
- Horner & Bou 2008, p. 438.
- Australian Army Journal 2011, pp. 187–188.
- McAulay 1988, p. 197.
- Australian Army Journal 2011, p. 188.
- Australian Army Journal 2011, pp. 188–189.
- Horner & Bou 2008, pp. 261–262.
- Australian Army Journal 2011, p. 189.
- The Sunday Mail 2012, p. 4.
- Companion of the Order of Australia, 26 January 1991, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Citation: In recognition of service to the Crown as Governor of South Australia
- The Order of the British Empire – Knights Commander (Military), 31 December 1979, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Citation: Chief of the General Staff
- The Order of the British Empire – Commander (Military), 25 April 1969, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Citation: ARMY – Staff Corps – Vietnam
- The Order of the British Empire – Member (Military), 1 January 1954, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Citation: ARMY – Staff Corps – Postwar Honours List
- The Order of the Bath – Companion (Military), 20 November 1972, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Citation: Staff Corps – Vietnam
- Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
- National Medal, 14 July 1977, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
- National Medal – 1st clasp, 14 July 1977, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
- National Medal – 2nd clasp, 14 July 1977, www.itsanhonour.gov.au
- "In Memoriam: Lieutenant General Sir Donald Beaumont Dunstan, AC, KBE, CB (1923–2011)". Australian Army Journal VIII (No. 3): 187–189. 2011. ISSN 1448-2843.
- "Sunday Mail 100 Years of Pride 1963–2012 Leaders". The Sunday Mail (Adelaide, South Australia: News Limited Australia). 3 June 2012. p. 4.
- Festberg, Alfred (1972). The Lineage of the Australian Army. Melbourne, Victoria: Allara Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85887-024-6.
- Horner, David; Bou, Jean (2008). Duty First: A History of the Royal Australian Regiment (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74175-374-5.
- McAulay, Lex (1988). The Battle of Coral: Vietnam Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, May 1968. Arrow Book (Random House Australia Pty Ltd). ISBN 978-0-09169-091-5.
Lieutenant General Arthur MacDonald
|Chief of the General Staff
Lieutenant General Sir Phillip Bennett
Sir Keith Seaman
|Governor of South Australia
Dame Roma Mitchell