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Waverley Alumni

Peter Cosgrove: a Governor-General for all Australians

Swearing in of General Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Retd) as Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Parliament House Canberra 28 March 2014

Swearing in of General Sir Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Retd) as Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Parliament House Canberra 28 March 2014

Distinguished Waverley College alumnus Peter Cosgrove was sworn in as Governor General of Australia on 28 March 2014.

“In choosing Sir Peter Cosgrove for Governor General, Australia has honoured a remarkable man,” said Headmaster, Ray Paxton.

“Sir Peter has been actively involved in our College’s Cadet Unit, as well as attending as guest of honour at important College events throughout his career. We are grateful for this ongoing interest and support.”

Sir Peter, Class of 1964, also celebrated 50 years since his graduation in 2014. As a cadet at the College he was Adjutant CUOP Cosgrove and tied for the Major General JA Chapman Cane for the most efficient cadet in the Unit with the man who is now the College’s Assistant Headmaster and Commanding Officer of the Cadet Unit, Lt Col (AAC) Peter Frost. The College presents the General Cosgrove Shield (for the most efficient Speciality in the Cadet Unit) each year to honour the achievements of the most senior ranking officer to graduate.

CUO Peter J Cosgrove 1964

CUO Peter J Cosgrove 1964

After finishing school, Sir Peter attended Royal Military College – Duntroon. He then served in Vietnam with the 9th Battalion Royal Australia Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross in 1971.

In 1999, Sir Peter led the international forces (INTERFET) peacekeeping mission to East Timor. He was a respected and popular military leader, gaining the loyalty of troops under his command and sharing their hardship by occupying a modest camp stretcher. His ability to connect with people extends to all sections of the Australian community – in 2001, he was honoured as Australian of the Year.

Sir Peter was Chief of Defence from 2002 to 2005. After retiring from the military, he was appointed by the Queensland Government in 2006 to lead the rebuilding of communities damaged by Cyclone Larry. He then took up board positions with Qantas and other public companies and was Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University from 2010 to 2014.

Sir Peter’s achievement as one of Australia’s outstanding Catholic laymen was recognised in 2012 when he was appointed as a Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St Gregory the Great by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. At Waverley College, he was active in the Junior Conference of St Vincent de Paul, and President in 1963.

Meeting Waverley College Cadets in 2010.

Meeting Waverley College Cadets in 2010.

“The Governor General is an inspiration to Waverley College students past and present. His achievements demonstrate that successful leadership is underpinned by a full and meaningful education that cultivates qualities such as courage, respect, wisdom and empathy,” said Mr Paxton.