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Goodwin, Sir Thomas Herbert John Chapman (1871–1960)

by Paul D. Wilson

This article was published:

Sir Thomas Herbert John Chapman Goodwin (1871-1960), soldier, medical practitioner and governor, was born on 24 May 1871 at Kandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), eldest son of Surgeon Major John Kilealy Goodwin and his wife, Melbourne-born Marion Agnes, née Power. Educated at Newton College, Devon, and St Mary's Hospital, London, Goodwin graduated M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. in 1892. Commissioned in the British Army Medical Service on 29 July 1893 as surgeon lieutenant, he served in the United Kingdom for three years, then was posted to India where he saw active service on the North-West Frontier in 1897-98 and won the Distinguished Service Order.

On 29 December 1897 at Simla, he married Lilian Isabel Ronaldson; they were childless. Returning to Britain in 1902 as a medical officer at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he went back to India in 1906-11 as surgical specialist to Western Command.

From 1914 Goodwin served in France and was mentioned in dispatches three times. He accompanied the Balfour Mission to the United States of America in 1917 as assistant director, medical services. Returning to the War Office in January 1918, he was appointed director general, Army Medical Services in June. He retired as lieutenant-general in July 1923 after serving as honorary surgeon to the King.

Appointed governor of Queensland on 19 February 1927, Goodwin reached Brisbane on 13 June. Described as 'tall, with grey hair and a closely clipped moustache', he and Lady Goodwin travelled extensively and took a lively interest in the welfare of British migrants.

Despite the governor's reputation as a keen shot and fisherman, they were interested in wild-life preservation; they also followed racing enthusiastically and enjoyed inspecting rural industries. Goodwin took a professional interest in the health of Europeans in the tropics and in the campaign against eye disease in western Queensland, especially among children. He strongly supported moves for a Queensland medical school. He faced no constitutional problems, the change of government in May 1929 being handled by William Lennon while Goodwin was on tour in Torres Strait. When insults to the Italian coat of arms by Innisfail pranksters at Christmas 1928 brought angry diplomatic protests, he strongly urged the McCormack government to respond calmly. Goodwin's quiet term of office expired on 7 April 1932, when he returned to England.

He was appointed C.M.G. (1915), C.B. (1918), K.C.B. (1919) and K.C.M.G. (1932) and was awarded many foreign honours and honorary degrees. Predeceased by his wife, he died at Oxford on 29 September 1960.

Select Bibliography

  • Queenslander, 5 Feb, 16 June 1927
  • GO, correspondence, 1927-32 (Queensland State Archives).

Citation details

Paul D. Wilson, 'Goodwin, Sir Thomas Herbert John Chapman (1871–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 26 September 2023.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2023

Life Summary [details]


24 May, 1871
Kandy, Sri Lanka


29 September, 1960 (aged 89)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

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