David Hurley joined the Australian Army in January 1972, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. In a long and distinguished 42-year military career, his service culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force.
He commanded the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment during Operation SOLACE in Somalia in 1993, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. Following promotion to Colonel, he was appointed Chief of Staff, Headquarters 1st Division in June 1994, attending the U.S. Army War College in 1996 and 1997. He commanded the 1st Brigade from 1999-2000 in Darwin, supporting Australian-led operations in East Timor. He was appointed the inaugural Chief of Capability Development Group from 2003-07, Chief of Joint Operations Command in October 2007, and Vice Chief of the Defence Force in July 2008. Promoted to General, he succeeded Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston as Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2011 until his retirement on 30 June 2014. In 2010, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force.
Prior to being sworn in as Governor-General on 1 July 2019, David Hurley served as the 38th Governor of New South Wales from October 2014 – May 2019.
David Hurley was born in Wollongong, New South Wales on 26 August 1953, the son of Norma and James Hurley. His father was an Illawarra steelworker and his mother worked in a grocery store. He grew up in Port Kembla and attended Port Kembla High School where he completed his Higher School Certificate in 1971. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1975. He is married to Linda with whom he has three children: Caitlin, Marcus and Amelia.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Wollongong in 2013; a Doctor of the University, honoris causa, from the University of New South Wales in 2015; made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in 2016; and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Macquarie University in 2017.