Robert Fullerton

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Sir Robert Fullerton
Robert Fullerton, by George Chinnery.jpg
Robert Fullerton when he was the Governor of Penang (George Chinnery)
1st Governor of the Straits Settlements
In office
27 November 1826 – 12 November 1830
MonarchGeorge IV (1820–1830)
Preceded byNewly Created
Succeeded byRobert Ibbetson
Personal details
Born(1773-01-16)16 January 1773
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died6 June 1831(1831-06-06) (aged 58)
London, England
MotherIsabella Johnston
FatherWilliam Fullerton of Carstairs
  • Elizabeth Fullerton-Elphinstone (sister)
  • William Fullerton (brother)
  • Margaret Fullerton (sister)
  • Mary Fullerton (sister)
  • John Fullerton (brother)
  • Edward Fullerton (brother)
  • George Fullerton (brother)
  • Judith Fullerton (sister)
  • James Fullerton (brother)
  • Sarah Fullerton (sister)
  • Charles Fullerton (brother)
ProfessionColonial Administrator

Sir Robert Fullerton (16 January 1773 – 6 June 1831) was a governor of Penang and also the first governor of Straits Settlements, appointed by the East India Company.


He was born in Edinburgh the son of William Fullerton of Carstairs and raised on Nicolson Street in the city's south side.[1] He was one of twelve children including his younger brother John Fullerton, Lord Fullerton.[2]

His elder sister Elizabeth married William Fullerton Elphinstone, a director of the East India Company.[3] This influential connection probably contributed greatly to his career.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, named after Robert Fullerton


According to Prinsep (1885), his career progression is as follows:[4]

  • 1789 – Writer
  • 1790 – Assistant under the Military Secretary
  • 1791 – Assistant at Masulipatam
  • 1797 – Deputy Commercial Resident at the Presidency
  • 1798 – Deputy Commercial Resident at Ingeram
  • 1802 – Commercial Resident at Ingeram
  • 1805 – General Agent for Managing the Monopoly and Sale of Salt
  • 1806 – Third Judge at the Provincial Court, Northern Division
  • 1809 – Third Member of the Board of Trade, and General Superintendent of Investments
  • 1812 – Superintendent of Government Lotteries
  • 1814 – Second Member of Council, and President of the Board of Trade.

Penang 1824–1830[edit]

Aerial perspective of the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore named after Robert Fullerton. Shot October 2018.

Fullerton received his original appointment on 4 February 1824 and was governor of Prince of Wales Isle from 20 August 1824 to 1826, after which he became the governor of the newly incorporated Straits Settlements of Singapore (including Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling group), Penang (including Province Wellesley), and Malacca under the British administration in India. The governor of the Straits Settlements was assisted by three resident councillors; the resident councillor of Penang, the resident councillor of Malacca and the resident councillor of Singapore.

Robert Fullerton became the first governor of the Straits Settlements, based in Penang, and served in that capacity from 27 November 1826 to 12 November 1830. The departure of the last governor is also recorded in the Gazette. The issue of 29 August 1830 carries the following notification:

"The Honorable the Governor, being about to proceed to Singapore and Malacca, NOTICE is hereby given that this station will cease to be the seat of Government from the date of his departure, and the charge of the settlement will devolve upon the Honorable Robert Ibbetson, Resident Councillor; to whom all local references will be made."[5]

He is credited with the creation of the municipal system in the Straits Settlements – Buckley stated that the first trace of subsequent municipalities can be traced to 1827. Fullerton, with the sanction of the Court of Directors and Board of Control, regulated for the appointment of "The Committee of Assessors," for the purposes of ensuring the streets of Penang were cleared, watched and kept in repair.[6]

He died in London, England in 1831.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 17765-6
  2. ^ "Robert Fullerton". Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  3. ^ The Gentleman’s Magazine vol 156 1834
  4. ^ Prinsep, Charles Campbell (1885) Record of services of the Honourable East India Company's civil servants in the Madras presidency, from 1741 to 1858. London. Trübner. Page 57
  5. ^ New Ways of Knowing: The Prince of Wales Island Gazette—Penang’s First Newspaper by Geoff Wade, University of Hong Kong; Email, Presented at The Penang Story – International Conference 2002 18–21 April 2002, The City Bayview Hotel, Penang, Malaysia organised by The Penang Heritage Trust & STAR Publications
  6. ^ "Robert Fullerton 1826—1828". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942). 28 June 1928. p. 1.

External links[edit]

Government offices
New title Governor of the Straits Settlements
1826 – 1830
Succeeded by
Robert Ibbetson