Sir Richard Kingsland, AO, CBE, DFC, has a distinguished place in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force, Australian defence, the Australian Public Service, and the administration of Canberra as Australia’s national capital.
His remarkable career took him from trainee RAAF pilot in 1935 to Group Captain within ten years, at the age of 27. Although clearly marked out for greater things in the postwar Air Force, he transferred to the Public Service in 1948 and pursued a career in the Department of Civil Aviation, then Air, and then Defence.
In 1963 he joined the select group of public servants heading government departments, and he remained in charge of two such large organisations for the next 18 years. The career of Sir Richard Kingsland is one of the most extraordinary success stories of twentieth century Australia, and provides fascinating insights into government administration in this period at a multitude of levels.