Tom Critchley

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Tom Critchley AO CBE
Thomas Kingston Critchley

(1916-01-27)27 January 1916
Melbourne, Victoria
Died14 July 2009(2009-07-14) (aged 93)
Sydney, New South Wales
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
OccupationPublic servant, diplomat
Susan Cappell
(m. 1962⁠–⁠2009)

Thomas Kingston Critchley AO CBE (27 January 1916 – 14 July 2009) was an Australian public servant, diplomat, author and journalist.[1][2][3][4][5]

Critchley was born in Melbourne but grew up at Longueville in Sydney and attended North Sydney Boys High School.[6] He joined the Rural Bank after completing high school and attended the University of Sydney by night to study economics.

After World War II, Critchley joined the Department of External Affairs as the head of the economic relations section.[6] His first diplomatic role with the department was assisting Australia's representation of Indonesia against the Dutch during the Indonesian National Revolution. He was on the United Nations Commission for Indonesia between 1947 and 1950 and played a role securing Indonesia's independence from the Dutch.[7]

Critchley served as Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia (1955–1965); Ambassador to Thailand (1969–1973); High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea (1974–1978); and Ambassador to Indonesia (1978–1981).

Critchley, a keen surfer, golfer and tennis player, who also played piano, died on 14 July 2009, survived by his wife Susan and their four daughters.[6]


Critchley's daughter, Laurie Critchley, is a television producer.[8]


  1. ^ Farmer, Bill (28 July 2009). "Death of Great Australian Diplomat" (Press release). Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ Siagian, Sabam P. (22 August 2009). "Tom Critchley: Defender of Indonesia's independence". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015.
  3. ^ Stephens, Tony (25 July 2009). "Supported Asian independence". The Age. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Critchley honoured". The Canberra Times. ACT. 22 November 1965. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Replacing Mr Critchley: Transfer leaves diplomatic void". The Canberra Times. ACT. 17 November 1965. p. 15.
  6. ^ a b c Stephens, Tony (24 July 2009). "Trailblazer in South-East Asia". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016.
  7. ^ Smith, Stephen (24 August 2009). "T.K. (Tom) Critchley AO CBE" (Press release). Australian Government. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  8. ^ Kalina, Paul (16 October 2014). "The Embassy TV series reveals just how badly Australians can behave abroad". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
Diplomatic posts
New title
Position established
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia
Succeeded by
Allan Eastman
Preceded by
David McNicol
Australian Ambassador to Thailand
Succeeded by
D.C. Goss
Preceded by
Les Johnson
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea
Succeeded by
Gerry Nutter
Preceded by
Richard Woolcott
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia
Succeeded by
Rawdon Dalrymple