Penelope Wensley

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The Honourable
Penelope Wensley
Penny Wensley (1).jpg
25th Governor of Queensland
In office
29 July 2008 – 29 July 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Anna Bligh
Campbell Newman
Preceded by Quentin Bryce
Succeeded by Paul de Jersey
Personal details
Born Penelope Anne Wensley
(1946-10-18) 18 October 1946 (age 70)
Toowoomba, Queensland
Spouse(s) Stuart McCosker
Alma mater Penrith High School
University of Queensland
Occupation Public servant, Governor

Penelope Anne "Penny" Wensley AC (born 18 October 1946)[1] is a former Australian public servant, who was the Governor of Queensland from 2008 to 2014.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Toowoomba, Queensland, she was educated at Penrith High School in New South Wales, the Rosa Bassett School in London (UK), and the University of Queensland where she graduated with a first class honours degree in English and French literature. She was a resident of the Women's College there.[3] She joined the Australian Public Service (Department of External Affairs) in 1967. Wensley was posted to Paris (1969–1972), returned to work in Australia, and then given a posting in Mexico (1975–1977). She and her husband, Stuart McCosker, a veterinary surgeon, had a daughter while posted in Mexico.[4]

Her next diplomatic appointment was in Wellington, New Zealand (1982–1985). She was consul general in Hong Kong from 1986–1988. From 1991 to 1992, she was head of the International Organisations Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 1994, Wensley was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Queensland. Wensley was Ambassador for Environment from 1992 to 1996. She then became the first woman to be Australian Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in 1997.[5]

She was then appointed as the first female Australian High Commissioner to India, a role she held until 2004.[4] From 2005 to 2008, she was Australia's Ambassador to France, and non-resident Ambassador to Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco.[6]

On 6 July 2008, the Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, announced that Queen Elizabeth II had approved Penny Wensley's appointment as the next Governor of Queensland, in succession to Quentin Bryce, who was relinquishing the office prior to being sworn in as Governor-General of Australia. Wensley was sworn in on 29 July 2008.[7] On 24 January 2013, Wensley's term was extended to July 2014.[8]

Honours and awards[edit]

OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) 26 January 2011[9]
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 2001, For service to the development of Australia's international relations, particularly through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[10]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Dame of the Order of St John 2008
Ordre national du Merite GO ribbon.svg Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit 2009 (France)[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Penny Wensley of Australia Elected Chairman of Fifth Committee, United Nations, 14 September 1999.
  2. ^ Wensley sworn in
  3. ^ The Women's College Valedictory Dinner Address, Penny Wensley, 21 October 2008
  4. ^ a b Bhagat, Rasheeda: India – a roller coaster, The Hindu Business Line, 29 October 2004.
  5. ^ Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York. Archived media release, Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 August 1997.
  6. ^ Speeches by HE Penelope Wensley AO, Australian Ambassador to France, March 2005 – March 2008, Australian Embassy in France.
  7. ^ Penelope Wensley new Queensland governor, The Australian, 6 July 2008.
  8. ^ "Premier confirms 12 month extension to Queensland Governor's term" (Press release). Premier of Queensland. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Wensley, Penelope Anne". Search Australian Honours. Australian Government. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  10. ^ WENSLEY, Penelope Anne, It's an Honour (Australian honours database), 26 January 2001.
  11. ^ Office of the Governor – Annual Report 2009 – 2010. Brisbane, Queensland: The State of Queensland (Office of the Governor). 2010. p. 15. ISSN 1837-2775. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Donald Horne
as Commissioner
Australian Consul-General in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Geoff Bentley
Preceded by
Sir Ninian Stephen
Australian Ambassador for the Environment
Succeeded by
Howard Bamsey
Preceded by
Richard Butler
Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Succeeded by
John Dauth
Preceded by
Rob Laurie
Australian High Commissioner to India
Succeeded by
John McCarthy
Preceded by
Bill Fisher
Australian Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
David Ritchie
Government offices
Preceded by
Quentin Bryce
Governor of Queensland
Succeeded by
Paul de Jersey