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Victoria & Magdalen 1952 (22 March 1931 - 7 November 2021)

Giacomo “James” Gobbo was born in Carlton, Victoria, in 1931.

Born in Melbourne to Italian parents, he was the first person from a non-English speaking background to ever be appointed a state governorship. After graduating from the University of Melbourne, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and left Oxford with a BA and an MA.

Sir James' continued contribution to the law, multicultural affairs and hospitals was recognised in 1993 when he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia. 

Sir James served as the 25th governor of Victoria from 1997 until 2000, under premiers Jeff Kennett and Steve Bracks. He was appointed to Victoria’s Supreme Court in 1978 and was knighted in 1982 for his services to the community.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said:

“Sir James was rightly proud of his rich Italian heritage and of the multicultural nation he served. In so many ways Sir James was the father of modern multiculturalism in Australia, which stands as one of his most significant legacies."

Sir James also served as the chairman of the Council of the National Library of Australia, the Australian Multicultural Foundation and the National Advisory Commission on Ageing, and served on the Council for the Order of Australia.