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Kerr Palace Letters make fascinating reading

The Kerr Palace Letters are a series of letters exchanged between Governor-General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace during Kerr’s time in office.

The 212 letters were written between 15 August 1974 and 5 December 1977. They include attachments such as newspaper clippings, press releases, articles, speeches and booklets. A small number of telegrams are also included.


Most of the letters were exchanged between Kerr and Sir Martin Charteris, Private Secretary to the Queen. The Private Secretary passed the material to the Queen and usually responded on her behalf.

On October 2, after Sir John had met Prince Charles in Papua New Guinea and discussed his suspicion Mr Whitlam wanted to ask the Queen to remove him as governor-general, Sir Martin told him that if it came to that, the Queen “would have no option but to follow the advice of her prime minister”.


The Kerr Palace Letters provide an insight into:


  • the personalities and events of the time

  • political developments and public sentiment in Australia

  • the workings of the Australian Government and Parliament

  • the official duties and responsibilities of the Governor-General

  • the relationship between the Palace, the Queen’s Private Secretary and the Governor-General

  • constitutional issues, including the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Read the Kerr Palace Letters

You can download the Kerr Palace Letters HERE as PDFs or view them on the RecordSearch database.

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