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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Trusty and Well Beloved

Trusty and Well Beloved

A life of Keith Officer, Australia's first diplomat

Alan Fewster

Officer's life and career, from Gallipoli to the Cold War, epitomised the Westminster tradition of apolitical public service, and served as a model for the first generation of Australian diplomats.

Opinion

'a very good historical biography … a window on to lost and exotic worlds and an exploration of a strangely familiar old Australia.'

Professor Carl Bridge, Head, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King's College, London

About this title

Born into colonial wealth and privilege, Sir Keith Officer (1889-1969) was the archetypal Anglo-Australian. Officer served with distinction in the Great War and in British Nigeria before making a significant contribution to Australian conservative politics in the late 1920s.

On joining the fledgling foreign service, he was Australia's first diplomat, and became his country's most senior representative overseas. For thirty years, at hardship posts and in the gilded salons of the northern hemisphere, the impeccably connected Officer sought to advance Australia's international interests with equal skill and dedication. Urbane, puckish and gregarious, Officer loved pomp and ceremony, yet remained a disciplined, ascetic bachelor, addicted to exercise and cold showers, happiest on his yacht or tramping unshaven through the bush. Officer's life and career, from Gallipoli to the Cold War, epitomised the Westminster tradition of apolitical public service, and served as a model for the first generation of Australian diplomats.

Sample chapter

Crying for the Moon (Chapter 9) (PDF - 164 KB)

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Also available from Melbourne University Publishing

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade