Sir Anthony Musgrave

17th Nov 1828 - 3rd Oct 1888


Son of Anthony Musgrave (q.v.) who was awarded compensation for ownership of enslaved people in Antigua. Sir Anthony Musgrave (1828-1888) was a colonial administrator in the post-Emancipation Caribbean in Antigua, Nevis and St Vincent, then Governor of Newfoundland (from September 1864) and then from August 1869 of British Columbia; Governor of Natal 1872-3; Governor of South Australia 1873-77; Governor of Jamaica 1877-1883; Governor of Queensland 1883-1888.

  1. In a speech to the legislative assembly [in 1884], Sir Anthony said: ‘I regret that recent events have unmistakably disclosed the existence of great abuses in connection with the Pacific Islands labour trade. Stringent regulations have been made under my statutory authority with the object of preventing the recurrence of these scandals, and some offenders have been brought to justice. My government will continue to use the utmost vigilance in the supervision of the traffic and enforcement of the law. I hope that the colony may thus escape the stain which must inevitably have attached to its reputation if the abuses now discovered had been permitted to continue. The recruiting of labourers from New Guinea, and from some islands in the Pacific whose inhabitants were found to be physically unfitted for plantation work that a lamentable mortality ensued on their arrival in Queensland, has been absolutely prohibited.’

  2. In November 1885 during discussions for the north of Queensland to separate he was reported to have said that he thought using white labour was ‘physically impossible from my knowledge of the history and experience of cane cultivation elsewhere.’


Geoffrey Bolton, ‘Musgrave, Sir Anthony (1828–1888)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004), [accessed 08/10/2012].

  1. Logan Witness Sat 12 Jul 1884, page 3.

  2. Queenslander Sat 14 Nov 1885, page 795.

We are grateful to Nikita Vanderbyl at La Trobe for permission to use the two references cited immediately above.

Further Information

(1) Christine Elizabeth Byam (2) Jeannie Lucinda Field
With (1) 1 son, 1 daughter with (2) 3 sons
Wealth at death
£6,020 18S 8D
Legal Education
Inner Temple [1851- ]
Colonial administrator
Oxford DNB Entry

Legacies Summary

Imperial (6)

South Africa: Natal 
Australia: South Australia 
Australia: Queensland 
Canada: Newfoundland 
Canada: British Columbia including Vancouver Island 

Relationships (1)

Son → Father

Addresses (6)

Queensland, Australia
South Australia, Australia
Natal, South Africa
British Columbia, Canada
Newfoundland, Canada
Government House, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia