Terence O'Brien (colonial governor)

Major General
Sir Terence O'Brien
Acting Governor of British Ceylon
In office
1 December 1863  21 March 1865
Monarch Queen Victoria
Preceded by Charles Justin MacCarthy
Succeeded by Hercules Robinson
22nd General Officer Commanding, Ceylon
In office
1860  ?
Preceded by Henry Frederick Lockyer
Succeeded by Studholme John Hodson
Personal details
Born John Terence Nicholls O'Brien
23 April 1830
Manchester, England
Died 28 February 1903(1903-02-28) (aged 72)
London, England
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Major general
Commands General Officer Commanding, Ceylon

Major General Sir John Terence Nicholls O'Brien CMG (23 April 1830 – 28 February 1903) was a surveyor, engineer and colonial governor, born in Manchester, England and died in London, England.

He studied at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and then attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

O'Brien, a British Army officer, received a medal of honour for his service in the Indian Mutiny War. He was appointed acting Governor of British Ceylon in 1863 and held the office for two years, succeeding Charles Justin MacCarthy.[1]

In 1881 he was appointed governor of Heligoland, knighted in 1888 and became governor of Newfoundland in 1889.

O'Brien as governor of Newfoundland helped precipitate the 1894 bank crash by his many dispatches to London noting that Newfoundland politicians under Premier William Whiteway's Liberal Government were uniquely corrupt and incompetent. He resigned from office in 1895 and returned to London.

The Newfoundland community of Terenceville was so named in his honour. O'Brien's son, Sir Charles O'Brien, also became a colonial governor.

See also


  1. "Sri Lanka". Rulers.org. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
Government offices
Preceded by
Charles Justin MacCarthy
Governor of British Ceylon

Succeeded by
Hercules Robinson
Preceded by
Sir Henry Berkeley Fitzhardinge Maxse
Governor of Heligoland
Succeeded by
Arthur Cecil Stuart Barkly
Preceded by
Sir Henry Arthur Blake
Colonial Governor of Newfoundland
Succeeded by
Sir Herbert Harley Murray
Military offices
Preceded by
Henry Frederick Lockyer
General Officer Commanding, Ceylon
Succeeded by
Studholme John Hodson

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