Lord Gowrie’s visit to Indonesia

Adrian Vickers

The First Earl of Gowrie, Alexander Hore-Ruthven https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gowrie-first-earl-of-6441, was the only Governor General of Australia to make a state visit to the Netherlands East Indies, in 1938. He was received in Batavia (now Jakarta) by the Dutch Governor General, Alidius Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alidius_Tjarda_van_Starkenborgh_Stachouwer. Of greater interest than the meeting of the two Governors General in Batavia was Lord Gowrie’s visit to Yogyakarta, where, as this photograph shows, he was received with full honours by the Sultan, Hamengkubuwono VIII.

Also of note is the presence at the reception of Th. P. Galestin, who was cultural advisor and head of the Sånå Budåyå Museum. Galestin, an Armenian, later became a curator at the Colonial Institute Museum in Amsterdam (which later became the Tropen Museum), and then a professor at Leiden University. He was a significant figure in Indonesian art history.

[Although the colonial name at the time was ‘the Netherlands East Indies’, Indonesian nationalists had in 1928 proclaimed the Youth Oath that declared their homeland was ‘Indonesia’. Prior to that the Indonesian Students’ Association in the Netherlands (Perhimpunan Indonesia) and the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia) was already using the term.]