Commodore Eric Eugene Johnston AM OBE



Mr Chancellor,

His Honour Commodore Eric Eugene Johnston, Administrator of the Northern Territory since 1980, has been an eloquent supporter of University education in the Territory. It is therefore appropriate that at this, the first graduation ceremony held at the University College of the Northern Territory, the University of Queensland should recognise his contribution to higher education. 

Before becoming Administrator, Eric Johnston had a distinguished naval career. Joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1947, he subsequent].y studied at the Royal Australian Naval College and the United States Na val War College at Rhode Island. He later commanded Her Majesty's Australian Ships Vendetta and Perth and between 1974 and 1975 was Naval Officer Commanding Northern Australia. 

It was another five years before he could return to the Territory. In that time he served with the Australian delegation to the United Nations' conferences on the Law of the Sea and was Director of Public Information in the Department of Defence. 

Since being appointed Administrator, Eric Johnston has become as well known in the mining camps and the Aboriginal communities of the Territory as he is in the cities and towns. In Darwin he has been an enthusiastic patron of the performing and visual arts and a persuasive advocate of increased educational opportunities. A keen sportsman, he lists sailing, swimming, and fishing among his recreations, and his racing interests gave him a more than casual interest in the running of this year's Melbourne Cup. 

So well has his dedicated service endeared him to Territorians that in 1985 both the Territory Government and the Territory branch of the Australian Labor Party petitioned the Commonwealth Government to extend his term as Administrator. 

Mr Chancellor, for his services to the Northern Territory, its people, and its University College, I present His Honour Commodore Eric Eugene Johnston, Member of the Order of Australia, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Commander of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Royal Australian Navy Emergency Reserve, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, for the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by t,he Senate of the University of Queensland. 


Doctor of Laws honoris causa