Sean Burns takes over for a record third term of office.

Sean Burns sworn-in as Administrator

Change-Over of Tristan da Cunha's Administration

Chief Islander James Glass congratulates newly sworn-in Administrator Sean Burns
during a ceremony in the Tristan da Cunha Council Chamber on 1st December 2022.
Photos from James Glass unless stated otherwise.

Background to the recent change of Tristan da Cunha Administration

Due to personal reasons, Jason Ivory decided to relinquish his post as Administrator of Tristan da Cunha. He and his wife Sue departed the island aboard MFV Edinburgh on Friday 4th November 2022 only ten weeks after their arrival on 25th August. Jason took over from previous Joint Administrators Steve Townsend and Fiona Kilpatrick on 12th September and so served only seven weeks in the post.

Chief Islander James Glass was sworn in as Acting Administrator prior to Jason Ivory's departure. James is familiar with this role, having taken on this responsibility during periods when administrators were overseas on several occasions in the past when he was also Chief Islander. These were: January - May 1999; December 1999 - February 2000; October 2000 - January 2001; March 2001 - September 2001 (including the hurricane which occurred in May); January 2003 - March 2003. In total this covers a period of about two years which was the usual full term for an Administrator until terms were extended to a normal three years after 1966.

It is very fortunate for the island that Sean Burns is available to stand-in as Administrator. Sean is the most experienced Tristan Administrator ever, having served two terms: 2010-2013 and 2016-2020. He completed his post as Administrator of Ascension Island on 6th November and agreed to travel to Tristan to act as temporary administrator until the FCDO can appoint a successor. Therefore, Sean's retirement from a long career with the UK Government will again be postponed.

Sean Burns with St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Governor Nigel Phillips
in Jamestown, St Helena on 18th November 2022.
Photo from Sean Burns.

Sean and his wife Marina flew from Ascension Island to St Helena for a stay of about a fortnight during which he planned for his return to Tristan da Cunha with the Governor, Nigel Phillips. The couple flew to South Africa where they spent a short time in Cape Town before departing for Tristan aboard the MFV Edinburgh on 22nd November and arriving on 30th November, together with the final 2022 deliveries of post and fresh food to the island.

Sean was sworn-in to begin a record third term in office the day after his arrival on Thursday 1st December 2022.

Chief Islander James Glass signs off
after another stint as Acting Administrator
Sean Burns signs in as Administrator
for a record third term
On this third occasion that Sean is sworn-in to become Tristan da Cunha Administrator
he swears allegiance to HM King Charles III.
The Council Chamber awaits the arrival of a portrait of His Majesty
to adorn the room alongside those of his distinguished parents.


The return to Tristan da Cunha means that Sean and Marina will be able to spend Christmas and New Year with their daughter Kelly, her husband Shane and grand-children Savanna and Seren. A happy return indeed.