Australian Embassy

Death of Great Australian Diplomat

Media Release

28 July 2009

Death of Great Australian Diplomat

Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Bill Farmer, today paid tribute to one of Australia’s greatest diplomats. “Thomas Critchley played a key role in supporting Indonesia during its struggle for independence and laid the groundwork for the establishment of friendly relations between our two countries,” said Mr Farmer.

After Dutch military action against the Republic of Indonesia in 1947, Australia brought the issue to the United Nations Security Council which established a Committee of Good Offices on the Indonesia Question. The Dutch chose Belgium to represent them on this Committee, and the Indonesians chose Australia.

At critical times, Critchley led the Australians at discussions in the UN Good Offices Committee on the Indonesian Question, later the UN Commission for Indonesia from 1948 to 1950.

He returned to Indonesia as Australian Ambassador to from 1978 to 1981 and was honoured with the Indonesian decoration Bintang Jasa Utama in 1992.

Critchley passed away earlier this month at his home in Sydney at the age of 93.
He is survived by his wife Susan and daughters Laurie, Samantha, Elizabeth and Victoria and their families, including five grandchildren.

“Critchley was a great diplomat,” said Mr Farmer. “His legacy is the strong relationship that exists between Indonesia and Australia today.”

Media Enquiries:
Michael Kachel, Counsellor (Public Affairs) tel. (021) 2550 5290 mob. 0811 187 3175