Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Anderson, Sir David Murray (1874–1936)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

David Murray Anderson (1874-1936), by unknown photographer, 1936

David Murray Anderson (1874-1936), by unknown photographer, 1936

State Library of New South Wales, Home and Away - 13162

Sir David Murray Anderson (1874-1936), naval officer and governor, was born on 11 April 1874 at Newton-by-Chester, England, second son of General David Anderson, colonel of the Cheshire Regiment, and his wife Charlotte Christina, née Anderson. Educated at Stubbington, in 1887 he became a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, went to sea two years later and thereafter rose steadily in the service. He commanded the royal yacht Victoria and Albert in 1908. That year he married Edith Muriel Teschemaker, a New Zealander.  

Promoted captain three years later, Anderson was flag captain in the Hyacinth on the Cape Station in 1913-17, and was appointed C.M.G. for services in operations leading to the surrender of Dar-es-Salaam. In 1918-19 he commanded the battleship Ajax in the Grand Fleet and in 1921-22 was aide-de-camp to King George V. After a posting in England, as dockyard superintendent at Milford Haven, he was promoted rear admiral in 1922 and next year was made C.B. He was senior naval officer on the Yangtze River, China Station, in 1923-25. Vice admiral from 1927, he commanded the Africa Station for two years. He had qualified as an interpreter of French and spent two years at Geneva as a British naval representative at the League of Nations. In 1930 he was appointed K.C.B. and next year was promoted admiral. He retired at his own request on 1 July 1932.

Sir Murray Anderson was governor of Newfoundland in 1932-35. When, because of financial difficulties, representative government was suspended there, he presided over the Commission of Government, and his personal charm and tact helped to ease a difficult situation. In November 1935 he was appointed governor of New South Wales. En route he was taken ill, and spent six weeks in hospital in Perth. He was sworn in at Sydney on 6 August 1936. Because of his recurring illness, Lady Anderson ably undertook many official duties on his behalf. On 29 October he collapsed suddenly and died of a cerebral haemorrhage the next day. After a memorial service in Sydney, his body was shipped to England and buried in Fittleworth cemetery, Sussex. His widow was appointed D.B.E. in 1937.

Select Bibliography

  • Great Britain: Dominions Office and Colonial Office List, 1935
  • Annual Register (London), 1936
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Nov 1935, 30 Oct 1936
  • 'Obituary', Times (London), 30 Oct 1936, p 21.

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Anderson, Sir David Murray (1874–1936)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/anderson-sir-david-murray-5013/text8337, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 25 November 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2017

David Murray Anderson (1874-1936), by unknown photographer, 1936

David Murray Anderson (1874-1936), by unknown photographer, 1936

State Library of New South Wales, Home and Away - 13162