We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC (Retd).
Major General Jeffery served as Western Australia’s 27th Governor from 1993 to 2000, and was Australia’s 24th Governor-General from 2003 to 2008.
One of my predecessors and a great Western Australian, Michael Jeffery, has passed away.
He was Governor of Western Australia from 1993-2000 and Governor General from 2003-2008. He was Western Australian through and through. Born in Wiluna and educated at Kent Street Senior High, he moved immediately into an army career after education at Duntroon.
What followed his patriotic decision was an intense military career. It included combat posting in Malaya and Vietnam (where he earned a military cross). Also a tour in Papua New Guinea which included command of the 2nd Battalion of the Pacific Island Regiment. He commanded Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in Perth in 1976 and then became the first director of the Army’s Special Action Forces. He rose to Deputy Chief of the General Staff before retiring in November 1993.
His time as Governor and Governor-General saw him engaged in numerous community causes plus honorary colonelcies in the military. He was deeply, intellectually engaged particularly as an advocate for soil health in his later days. He also founded the think tank Future Directions International and was Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia. He had strong views and was a passionate man but he was also deeply sensitive to troubled people in the community. His patriotism caused him to look deeply into issues that might in future imperil our nation and its happiness. I saw his sensitivity and warmth first-hand at a memorial service in St Georges Cathedral following the tragic death of a substantial number of SASR members at an exercise in Queensland. He was comforting and uplifting.
We in WA were proud of him, and he of us.
Our deepest sympathies to his wonderful wife Marlena, his four children and extended family.
A proud West Australian, Major General Jeffery was born in Wiluna, attending primary and high school in WA before beginning his military career at the Royal Military College in Duntroon.
A long and distinguished career followed in which he was awarded the Military Cross and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
After command of all combat elements of the Army from platoon to division, including the Special Air Service Regiment, he retired in 1993 to assume the appointment of Governor of Western Australia on 1 November 1993. He retired from this role on 5 May 2000.