In accordance with the conventions of the Westminster system of parliamentary government, the Governor nearly always acts solely on the advice of the head of the elected government, the Premier of Tasmania. Nevertheless, the Governor retains the reserve powers of the Crown, and has the right to dismiss the Premier.
The first Australian-born Governor of Tasmania was Sir Stanley Burbury (appointed 1973). The first Tasmanian-born governor was Sir Guy Green (appointed 1995). Since Burbury, all Tasmanian governors have been Australian-born, except for Peter Underwood, who was born in Britain but emigrated to Australia when a teenager. The position is currently vacant, due to the unexpected death of the incumbent Peter Underwood on 7 July 2014, with Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor Alan Blow acting as Administrator.
Between 1804 and 1813, Van Diemen's Land was divided along the 42nd parallel, and the two sections governed as separate "Lieutenant-Governorships" under the Governor of New South Wales. Collins was the only officially appointed Lieutenant-Governor—upon his death in 1810, the government in Hobart Town was administered, pro tempore, by the Commandants at Hobart Town (Lord, Murray and Geils). The northern settlement at Port Dalrymple (now George Town) was administered by four Commandants until the settlements were merged to form the single colony under the governorship of Thomas Davey in 1813.
Lieutenant-Governor and Commandants in the south
Four former governors are alive, the oldest being Sir Phillip Bennett (1987–95, born 1928). The former governor who most recently died was Sir Stanley Burbury (1973–82), on 24 April 1995. The most recently serving governor to die was Peter Underwood (2008–14), who died in office on 7 July 2014.