Born: Established: 14 Apr 1812 Lisbon ; Died: 19 Sep 1898 London
Naturalist, explorer, governor and politician, Grey studied the Indigenous languages and cultures of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Grey arrived in Perth, Western Australia, in September 1838. In June 1839 he was promoted captain and in August appointed resident magistrate at King George Sound, Western Australia. He published Vocabulary of the Aboriginal Language of Western Australia in serialised form in the Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, August - October 1839 and in pamphlet form as Vocabulary of the Dialects Spoken by the Aboriginal Races of S. W. Australia in November 1839. A second edition was published in London in 1840. His biographical entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography notes that 'his "report on the best means of promoting the civilization of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Australia" was circulated by the Colonial Office to the governors of other colonies.' Throughout his life he was an advocate for 'compulsory assimilation'.
He was appointed governor of South Australia, 1841 - 1845, governor of New Zealand, 1845 - 1853, governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner of South Africa, 1854 - 1861 and governor of New Zealand for the second time 1861 - 1868. 'His long career left a deep impression on three great colonial areas.' As late as 1891 he visited Australia attending the Australian Federal Convention 'and with senile garrulity championed the principle of "one man one vote", and then toured the main eastern towns preaching pure democracy and social equality...'.
Source: 'Grey, Sir George (1812 - 1898)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, (1966): 476-480.