Ronald Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar

Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar, KT, GCMG, PC (6 March 1860 – 30 March 1934) was a British politician who served as the sixth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1914 to 1920.

Munro Ferguson was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and initially pursued a military career. Munro Ferguson was elected to the House of Commons in 1884, defeated a year later, and re-elected in 1886. A Liberal Imperialist, he was an ally of Lord Rosebery and served as a Junior Lord of the Treasury in his government. Munro Ferguson was overlooked for ministerial office by Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, but in 1914 was appointed Governor-General of Australia. He was politically influential, forming a close bond with Prime Minister Billy Hughes, and was committed to his role as nominal commander-in-chief during World War I. His six years in office was a record until being surpassed by another wartime governor-general, Lord Gowrie. Munro Ferguson was raised to the viscountcy once his term ended, and from 1922 to 1924 returned to politics as Secretary of State for Scotland under Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin. In retirement he held various company directorships.


The Viscount Novar

Ronald Munro Ferguson (Barnett-02)
6th Governor-General of Australia
In office
18 May 1914 – 6 October 1920
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterJoseph Cook (1914)
Andrew Fisher (1914–15)
Billy Hughes (1915–20)
Preceded byLord Denman
Succeeded byLord Forster
Secretary for Scotland
In office
24 October 1922 – 22 January 1924
Prime MinisterBonar Law (1922–23)
Stanley Baldwin (1923–24)
Preceded byRobert Munro
Succeeded byWilliam Adamson
Member of Parliament
for Leith Burghs
In office
21 August 1886 – 1 February 1914
Preceded byWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Never took seat
Succeeded byGeorge Welsh Currie
Member of Parliament
for Ross and Cromarty
In office
11 August 1884 – 19 December 1885
Preceded bySir Alexander Matheson, Bt
Succeeded byRoderick Macdonald
Personal details
Born6 March 1860
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
Died30 March 1934 (aged 74)
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)
Helen Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood (m. 1889)

Background and education

Munro Ferguson was born Ronald Craufurd Ferguson at his family home in the Raith area near Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, the son and eldest child of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Ferguson, a wealthy member of the Commons of old Scottish descent. His mother was Emma Eliza, daughter of James Henry Mandeville of Merton, Surrey. He was a grandson of General Richard C. Ferguson. In 1864 his father inherited the estates of Novar in Ross-shire and Muirton, Morayshire, and took the additional surname Munro.[1]

Educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he pursued a military career until 1884.[1] Ferguson joined the 1st Fife Light Horse in 1875: a militia regiment of gentlemen. Three years later, he entered RMA Sandhurst. On the officer's course for a year, he was gazetted to the Grenadier Guards with a commission. He served in the army for a short service limited commission, leaving in 1884 on returning from India. Ferguson joined the Oswald of Dunnikier Lodge 468 on 24 December 1888.[1]

Political life, 1884–1914

Ronald Munro Ferguson
Ronald Munro Ferguson c1895

In 1884, Munro Ferguson was elected to the House of Commons but was defeated at the general election of November 1885 by a Crofter candidate in Ross and Cromarty. One historian had accused him of scheming with the Duke of Argyll to corrupt the electoral process.[2] He was defeated again the following year in Dunbartonshire. But at a by-election in July 1886 he secured the nomination at Leith Burghs, principally on the advice of Lord Rosebery. Gladstone had won two unopposed seats but, on refusing Leith to prevent a suspected Unionist Michael Jacks, it became vacant. In August a by-election was held and Home Rule candidate Munro Ferguson was elected.[3]

Gladston appointed him private secretary to Lord Rosebery, a leading Liberal. Like Rosebery, Munro Ferguson would become a Liberal Imperialist, and a personal friend of the colourful earl.[4] He accompanied Rosebery and his wife, Hannah, on a tour of India in 1886-7 and again in 1892-4. When Rosebery became Prime Minister, Ferguson was promoted in the Treasury department as a junior whip with responsibilities for Scotland. Ferguson continued to urge radicalism to bring Home Rule for Scotland on his friend, whom he supported in 1887 for the Liberal Party leadership.[5]

He supported the imperial policies of the Conservative government during the Second Boer War, which made him highly unpopular with the radical, anti-war wing of the Liberal Party. Matters came to a head when he was threatened by Grey in a letter on 18 October 1900. The Liberals had lost another general election to the 'Khaki' Conservatives and so Ferguson disgusted by the derision and division "chucked it" in resigning as Scottish whip. A member of the Liberal Imperialist Council, he was disaffected by the bad treatment of his mentor Rosebery. Nonetheless, he was compelled to work with 'Limps', derisively dubbed by republicans, on "lines of speeches" for "the Asquith Committee" which now controlled the party's Imperialist wing now renamed The Liberal League. Grey, Haldane and the rest seized control of the organization and its administration: the preface to which was Rosebery's remarkable volte face over the South African War, leaving his friend forced to admit to Munro Ferguson "should an Asquith Government be formed he might go abroad."[6]

He, therefore, had little hope of Cabinet office in the governments of Campbell-Bannerman or Asquith, despite his obvious talents. In December 1905, he requested the new Liberal cabinet make him Governor of Bombay but was refused. Instead, he had to be content with provost of Kirkcaldy. He nursed a burning resentment against "over genial" plebeian Asquith.[7] Increasingly, his job in government and liaison of his group had been taken over by R B Haldane when he made it clear in 1907 his decided opposition "to keep Asquith out of the leadership....He has come to be quite unreliable...." But "the political disaster" that he called Asquith's succession made his political career untenable.[8] He was a property owner in Asquith's constituency, a neighbour of Haldane, and just like him had gained the patronage of Lord Morley; they were idealists for social reform.

Governor-General of Australia, 1914–1920

In February 1914, therefore, Munro Ferguson was happy to accept the post of Governor-General of Australia (he had refused the governorship of South Australia in 1895 and that of Victoria in 1910). He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) prior to his appointment on 18 May 1914.[9] His political background, his connections with the Liberal government in London and his imperialist views made him both better equipped and more inclined to play an activist role in Australian politics than any of his predecessors. At the same time, he had enough sense to confine his activism to behind the scenes influence. He was described as an active Imperial supervisor by the journalist, Keith Murdoch,[10] using his own cipher to signal London.[11]

During the First World War, which broke out in August 1914, the reciprocal power of the Australian High Commission was severely restricted and Government House had a furious falling out with Governor of New South Wales, Sir Gerald Strickland. They grew to hate one another and the latter was jealous of Melbourne's superior power and location of governance. The British Government underfunded the federal government and ignored the huge debts spent by State Governors on public works[12] but it was the most active government since federation;[13] and Munro-Ferguson its most active ambassador.[14]

He developed close friendships with two judges of the High Court of Australia: Sir Samuel Griffith (the Chief Justice, and former Premier of Queensland) and Sir Edmund Barton (former Prime Minister of Australia). He consulted Griffith and Barton on many occasions, including on the exercise of the reserve powers of the Crown.[15]

Strickland

Of the old school Sir Gerald Strickland was deeply reactionary. The new Liberal Governor-General found himself in a struggle over precedence. The post of New South Wales Governor was the oldest in Australia and had long been considered the most powerful. But, by law, the royal appointment to Government House held sway. During the First World War, the strain began to show in the London Liberal government. Ferguson was desperate to keep secrecy, and maintain control over policy access to London. On 3 June 1916, the Colonial Secretary informed Ferguson that a coalition was pending. Strickland, having snubbed the Government in Melbourne, went over the Governor-General's head directly to London. Strickland worked up an ANZAC day annual memorial, which proved very popular – but which Strickland claimed was a national celebration. On 1 May 1917, Munro Ferguson confessed to Lord Stamfordham that he had under-estimated the deep emotional loyalty of ordinary Australians.[16] Press belief that Anzacs were the spearhead elite and shocktroops among dominions gave a status in the British Empire's armies they sustained throughout the war.[17]

Australian federal election, 1914

It was advantageous that Munro Ferguson was politically experienced because he arrived in Melbourne, then the site of the Parliament of Australia, to find himself in the midst of a political crisis. The Liberal government of Joseph Cook had a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives, but the Labor Party had a majority in the Senate and had used it systematically to frustrate the government. Cook was now determined to force a double dissolution election under Section 57 of the Constitution.[1]

On 2 June 1914, barely three weeks after Munro Ferguson had taken office, Cook formally requested a double dissolution. Munro Ferguson had several things to consider. The Parliament elected in 1913 still had two years to run. Cook had not been defeated in the House of Representatives. His sole reason for wanting a dissolution was that he did not control the Senate. This was a situation without precedent in the United Kingdom, where the upper house, the House of Lords, is unelected.[1]

When Munro Ferguson granted Cook a double dissolution, he was furiously denounced by the Labor Party: who maintained that Cook was manipulating the Constitution to gain control of the Senate. Munro Ferguson, influenced by the British House of Lords crisis of 1910, took the view that the lower house should prevail. Paradoxically, it was Cook's Liberal Party who argued that the Governor-General should always take the advice of his Prime Minister, while Labor argued that he should exercise his discretion.

In the middle of the campaign for the 1914 election, news arrived of the outbreak of the First World War. This caused an acute crisis in Australian government. Parliament had been dissolved and the government was in caretaker mode. Furthermore, Australia in 1914 did not have the right to independent participation in international affairs, and so its politicians were completely inexperienced in such.

In these circumstances, Munro Ferguson was the only man with both the constitutional authority and the confidence to act. It was he who convened the Cabinet, implemented the mobilisation plan and communicated with the Cabinet in London. Cook's manoeuvring backfired when Labor won the September election and Andrew Fisher was returned to office.[1]

Australia at war

The Inspector-General William Bridges was given the task of creating an expeditionary force of 20,000 men. Bridges and General White admired the fact that George Pearce, the Minister for Defence in 1914, had been already converted by the 1911 Imperial Defence Conference to a British world view. There was to be one Corps, this led to a second Australian Corps, and even the possibility of a full army recruited solely from Australia. In 1914, Bridges was replaced by the British Indian Army General William Birdwood.

Munro-Ferguson was an enthusiastic supporter of Australian soldiers. He indicated to Colonial Secretary Bonar Law, that General Hamilton had made tactless remarks about officer's class breeding during the Dardanelles campaign. Yet Bonar Law had earlier mentioned Hamilton's praise for the Australians by letter on 24 Aug 1915.[18] Winston Churchill did not help when hinting 'wastage' could be made up from former wounded Australians, and communicating the idea to Munro-Ferguson. A journalist Keith Murdoch tried to take documents from the imperial base at Egypt to London, to meet PM Asquith and Lord Northcliffe of The Times. He was intercepted en route by British intelligence, under orders from General Hamilton. Bonar Law remained critical of the policy and joined David Lloyd George to bring about a Coalition.[19]

Billy Hughes was the driving force behind the war effort and the policy of conscription.[20] The incoming Labor Premier formed a close relationship with Munro Ferguson, who recognised his ability.[21] Munro Ferguson saw his role in wartime as an agent of the British war effort, not just a representative of the Crown. He openly supported those who were committed to the war, and opposed those who were not.[1] Munro-Ferguson sent secret memos to London.

Against the advice, he warned New Zealand against German cruiser Emden.[22] In the Pacific, Japan were allies; but their naval expansionary plans worried. The Colonial Secretary adopted a policy similar to Conservative Sir Stafford Northcote, Governor-General (1904–8). Munro Ferguson was actively travelling the country reviewing troops, meeting dignitaries, and seeing munitions factories. Through an active correspondence with General Birdwood, his influence was felt over senior military appointments. His authority firmly stamped on the Dominion, he favoured Gen Brudenell White over Gen Monash, the eventual commander of AIF.[23]

In October 1915, Fisher resigned and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Hughes. Munro Ferguson recognised Hughes's qualities as a war leader and supported him privately and publicly, in a way that stretched constitutional propriety. Hughes was convinced that only the introduction of conscription would allow Australia to maintain its commitment to the war effort and Munro Ferguson gave him every encouragement. Hughes' answer was to call-up 50,000 more men – but without planning ahead. Hughes refused to call a debate in the Federal parliament.[24]

Munro Ferguson regarded the defeat of the conscription plebiscites in October 1916 and December 1917 as disasters for Australia and the war effort. He also believed that the empire needed an integrationist bluewater policy that mixed Canadian and British troops with Australians in the regimental system. The Governor made it clear that the war was simply and justly a big fight: The absence of carping here over the premature bombardment, and the postponed list casualties is beyond all praise, he wrote of the ANZAC at Gallipoli. In Munro-Ferguson's opinion the press was a victim of hyperbole on Australian soldiers: big-noting ...tale of heroism that thrilled the world.[25]

When Hughes was expelled from the Labor Party after the first plebiscite, Munro Ferguson allowed him to stay in office as a minority Prime Minister, supported by Cook's Liberals. He encouraged Hughes and Cook to form a new party on a "win the war" platform. This party, the Nationalist Party, was formed later in 1916 with Hughes as leader and Cook as deputy leader. During the second plebiscite campaign, Hughes pledged to resign if it were not carried. The plebiscite lost, and Hughes followed through on his promise to resign. However, there were no alternative candidates, and Munro Ferguson used his reserve power to promptly recommission Hughes—thus allowing Hughes to stay in office while fulfilling his promise to stand down.[1]

When David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in Britain, Hughes communicated directly with him (sometimes in Welsh), causing Munro Ferguson to complain that he was being denied his proper role as the medium of communication between London and Melbourne. Despite Munro Ferguson's vigorous assertion of his rights as Governor-General, he could not in the long run halt the decline in the influence of the office.

Once Australia gained the right to independent participation in international affairs, which it did in 1918, Munro Ferguson's days of influence were over.[1]

Alone among the Dominion forces, the Defence Force Act 1903 (Cth) reserved the power to confirm a death sentence passed by Australian courts-martial not to the commander-in-chief of the theatre, but to the Governor-General of Australia. Munro Ferguson refused to confirm the sentence on any of the 113 Australian soldiers condemned by courts-martial.[26]

Post-war

After the war, trade was restored with Britain, but protectionist and isolationists Conservative policies threatened the Liberal Imperialist vision of unity.[27] In May 1919, Munro Ferguson advised London of his desire to resign. He was pressed to stay on to oversee the Australian tour of the Prince of Wales in 1920. Ferguson left Australia as her most successful Governor-General to date. Australia had played an integral and significant military role in supporting the imperial war effort, but Hughes continued to disrupt imperial unity: the people were now calling for more democracy. He finally departed in October 1920, after more than six years in post.[16]

On his return home, he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Novar, of Raith in the County of Fife and of Novar in the County of Ross[28] on 6 December, named for Novar House, Raith which was the ancestral seat of the Ferguson family. The Liberal PM Lloyd George appointed Novar to be vice-President of the Committee of Council of Education. He was a close political friend of Sir Edward Grey, and took an active part in the business of the Lords. As Vice-President of the Council on Education he was responsible for oversight in 1922.

Later career

On the collapse of the Coalition he was adopted by another Scot, Bonar Law, who made Novar Secretary of State for Scotland. Following an official ceremony, he received the Freedom of Edinburgh in 1923; he took an interest in the history and traditions of his homeland. After the brief interlude of the Labour government he left the Scottish office, and was appointed as Chairman of the Political Honours Committee. Whereas in Scotland he became a Member of the Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments and Construction. He remained a Liberal under the new leadership, and was invited to the Board of Trust of National Liberals of Scotland. Taking on directorships he was Chairman of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. He was a Director of the Rail Passengers Insurance Company, and of the Union Bank of Scotland: executive posts he held until his death.[29] Novar was granted further honours when he was appointed a Knight of the Thistle (KT) in 1926.[1]

Personal life

President Lady Helen Munro Ferguson
Lady Helen Munro Ferguson during the First World War

Lord Novar married Lady Helen Hermione (1863 – 9 April 1941), daughter of Lord Dufferin, in 1889. The union was childless.[30] They lived at 18 Portman Square, when in London. He was a member of the Athenaeum and Reform Clubs.

Lady Novar's work for the British Red Cross Society, which included converting the ballroom of Melbourne's Government House for this purpose, earned her appointment as a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1918.

Lord Novar died at his home in 1934, aged 74, his title dying with him as he left no issue. His papers are an extremely important source for historians of Australian politics and Australia's role in the First World War.[1] Lady Novar, GBE, JP (Fife) died in 1941.[31] He was a close friend of Sir Cecil Spring Rice, with whom he corresponded for many years.[32]

Legacy

Novar Gardens, South Australia was named in 1921 in honour of Viscount Novar.[33]

Styles from birth

  • Mr Ronald Craufurd Ferguson (6 March 1860 – 1864)
  • Mr Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson (1864–1880)
  • Lieutenant Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson (1880 – 11 August 1884)
  • Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson MP (11 August 1884 – 19 December 1885)
  • Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson (19 December 1885 – 21 August 1886)
  • Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson MP (21 August 1886 – 1910)
  • The Rt Hon Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson MP (1910 – 1 February 1914)
  • The Rt Hon Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson (1 February 1914 – 1914)
  • The Rt Hon Sir Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson GCMG (1914 – 10 December 1920)
  • The Rt Hon Viscount Novar GCMG PC (10 December 1920 – 1926)
  • The Rt Hon Viscount Novar KT GCMG PC (1926 – death)

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Ronald Munro Ferguson". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Retrieved 5 October 2010. eldest son of Colonel Robert Munro-Ferguson, M.P., for Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and his wife, Emma, daughter of J. H. Mandeville, was born on 6 March 1860. He was educated principally at home, and at the age of 15 joined the Fife light horse. He subsequently studied at Sandhurst, and in 1880 became a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards...
  2. ^ Ian Fraser Grigor, "Highland Resistance: The Radical Tradition in the Scottish North",
  3. ^ Jenkins, R, (1995) "Gladstone", Macmillan, 557 and 557n.
  4. ^ Rosebery even provided marriage advice: Letter Rosebery to Ferguson on 5 August 1889, Rosebery NLS 10017.
  5. ^ Ferguson to Rosebery on 1 April 1887; and Rosebery to Ferguson on 5 April 1887, Rosebery NLS 10017.
  6. ^ Rosebery to MF, May 1901; Koss, p.61
  7. ^ Letter to Rosebery, 15 May 1906; Koss, p.82
  8. ^ Letter to Loreburn, 21 Dec 1907; Koss, pp.87-8
  9. ^ E M Andrews, "The Anzac Illusion", (Cambridge University Press, 1993), 66–9.
  10. ^ Novar Papers, ANL 696/1351-2
  11. ^ C.G.T.Steward, Cunmeen, "King's Men", 140-1
  12. ^ Letter to Andrew Bonar Law, Novar Papers, ANL, AA 7823/1 14/18/349.
  13. ^ Cunmeen, "King's Men", 124-6, 130
  14. ^ Cunmeen, "King's Men", 110-11.
  15. ^ Donald Markwell, "Griffith, Barton and the early governor-generals [sic]: aspects of Australia's constitutional development", Public Law Review, 1999.
  16. ^ a b Munro Ferguson to Lord Stamfordham, ANL MS 696/281. The Anzac Illusion, 91
  17. ^ Ferguson to Lord Stamfordham, 28 August 1918, Novar Papers, 696/321-2.
  18. ^ Munro-Ferguson to Bonar Law, 6 Oct 1915, Novar Papers, ANL 696/2658-13; Bonar Law to Munro-Ferguson, 24 May 1915
  19. ^ Bonar Law Papers, 25 Sept 1915, box 51, folder 3, sheet 21, 51/3/21; and also CO 676/53, 59, 63.
  20. ^ ANL (Australian National Library), 8 Nov 1915, Letter to Bonar Law, MS 696/3328.3482
  21. ^ 8 Nov 1915, Munro-Ferguson to Bonar Law (ANL MS 696/3328)
  22. ^ Novar Papers ANL 696/95837-5, 9675, 9702, 12, 70, 74, 263–4, 297, 428–9
  23. ^ 1 June 1915, Bonar Law Papers, box 50, folder 1, item 3.
  24. ^ Novar Papers, ANL MS 696/42-3, 398, 780.
  25. ^ Munro-Ferguson to Bonar Law, 8 Nov 1915, Novar Papers, ANL, 696/767
  26. ^ http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/book-reviews/116-wfa-members-publications/2896-bad-characters-sex-crime-mutiny-murder-and-the-australian-imperial-force.htm
  27. ^ Ferguson, 1 May 1919, Novar Papers, ANL 696/2194-2022.
  28. ^ "No. 32159". The London Gazette. 10 December 1920. p. 12190.
  29. ^ The Times, Obit., 31 March 1934; The Complete Peerage, XIII (1940) eds., Doubleday and de Walden, (1901), vol. 38, London
  30. ^ Peter Stanley, Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny, Murder and the Australian Imperial Force, (Sydney Pier 9, 2010)
  31. ^ Info re Lady Novar at ThePeerage.com
  32. ^ The Spectator: 'Sir Cecil Spring Rice' http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/12th-october-1929/23/sir-cecil-spring-rice
  33. ^ Novar Gardens Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, West Torrens City Council, Adelaide, South Australia
Bibliography
  • Andrews, E. M. (1993). The Anzac Illusion: Anglo-Australian Relations during World War One. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Jenkins, Roy (1964). Asquith. London.
  • Koss, Stephen (1970). Asquith. London.
  • Donald Markwell (1999). Griffith, Barton and the early governor-generals [sic]: aspects of Australia's constitutional development. Public Law Review.
  • McKinstry, Leo (2010). Rosebery. London.
  • Torrance, David (2006). The Scottish Secretaries. Birlinn.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Matheson, Bt
Member of Parliament for Ross and Cromarty
1884–1885
Succeeded by
Roderick Macdonald
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Member of Parliament for Leith Burghs
18861914
Succeeded by
George Welsh Currie
Government offices
Preceded by
The Lord Denman
Governor-General of Australia
1914–1920
Succeeded by
The Lord Forster
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Munro
Secretary for Scotland
1922–1924
Succeeded by
William Adamson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Novar
1920–1934
Extinct
1916 Australian conscription referendum

The 1916 Australian plebiscite was held on 28 October 1916. It was the first non-binding Australian plebiscite, and contained one question concerning military service. This plebiscite was held due to Prime Minister Billy Hughes' desire to conscript young Australian men for overseas service during World War I. It was conducted under the Military Service Referendum Act 1916.It was a plebiscite rather than a referendum because the Australian government already had powers sufficient to introduce overseas conscription. However, due to the controversial nature of the measure and a lack of clear parliamentary support, Hughes took the issue to a public vote to obtain symbolic, rather than legal, sanction for the move. The plebiscite sparked a divisive debate that split the public and the Labor Party in the process, and resulted in a close but clear rejection of the measure. After the re-election of Hughes in the 1917 election, a 1917 plebiscite was carried dealing with the same issue softening the conditions of conscription, and with the same result.

1934

1934 (MCMXXXIV)

was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1934th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 934th year of the 2nd millennium, the 34th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1930s decade.

1934 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1934 in Australia.

Australian peers and baronets

Peers of the Realm have been associated with Australia since early in its history as a British settlement. Many peers served as governors of the Australian colonies (states following Federation), and in the days when the practice of appointing British governors-general was current, the great majority were peers.

Australians themselves were previously eligible to receive British Imperial Honours. Such honours, in appropriate cases, included peerages and baronetcies. In other cases, already-extant peerages and baronetcies devolved upon persons who emigrated to Australia, or whose ancestors had emigrated to Australia.

Peerage titles bestowed included some distinctly Australian titles, such as Viscount Bruce of Melbourne. Imperial Honours were recommended to the sovereign by the Prime Minister of Australia, an Australian state premier, or sometimes by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Some Australians have been awarded peerages in recognition of services rendered in the United Kingdom, rather than Australia.

The practice of awarding British Imperial Honours for services rendered in Australia generally came to a halt when Malcolm Fraser, the last Australian prime minister to make nominations for Imperial Honours, lost the 1983 election to Bob Hawke, who discontinued the practice in favour of nominations solely for the Australian Honours System. (There had previously been a brief hiatus in the recommendation of Imperial Honours during the premiership of Gough Whitlam, 1972–75.) Despite the discontinuance of nominations on a federal level, individual states such as Queensland and Tasmania continued to recommend Imperial Honours until 1989. Australians based in the United Kingdom and other realms which continue to make nominations for Imperial Honours (such as Papua New Guinea) continue to be eligible for nomination to Imperial Honours, including peerages, and already-extant peerages and baronetcies continue to be inherited according to the instrument of their creation.

Not all recommendations for peerages have been accepted. Malcolm Fraser's recommendation of a peerage for Sir John Kerr was not supported by the British prime minister, James Callaghan.

Carlton Club

The Carlton Club is a London private members' club which describes itself as "the original home of the Conservative Party before the days of Conservative Central Office". Membership of the club is by nomination and election only.

Cecil Spring Rice

Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice, (27 February 1859 – 14 February 1918) was a British diplomat who served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1912 to 1918, as which he was responsible for the organisation of British efforts to end American neutrality during the First World War.

He was also a close friend of US President Theodore Roosevelt, and served as best man at his second wedding.He is best known as the writer of the lyrics of the patriotic hymn, "I Vow to Thee, My Country".

Great Seal of Scotland

The Great Seal of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Seala Mòr na h-Alba) allows the monarch to authorise official documents without having to sign each document individually. Wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the monarch wishes to make official. The earliest seal impression, in the Treasury of Durham Cathedral, is believed to be the Great Seal of Duncan II and dates to 1094.

Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava

Hariot Georgina Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava (5 February 1843 – 25 October 1936) was a British peeress, known for her success in the role of "diplomatic wife," and for leading an initiative to improve medical care for women in British India.

Hector Munro, 8th laird of Novar

General Sir Hector Munro, 8th laird of Novar KB (1726 – 27 December 1805) was a British soldier who became the ninth Commander-in-Chief of India (1764–1765).

List of Knights and Ladies of the Thistle

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle was founded in 1687. Dates shown are for election or installation. Probably incomplete.

List of alumni of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

The notable Alumni of the Royal Military College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst are very numerous. In particular, there are so many generals and Victoria Cross holders from the former Royal Military College, Sandhurst, that a full list would be immense. The present-day Royal Military Academy Sandhurst denies that Idi Amin and Muammar Gaddafi attended the RMAS. This list contains a number of students who did not complete the course. Some of the foreign royalty were not, for example, commissioned into the British Army.

The Sandhurst Foundation acts as a community for the alumni of the Royal Military Academy.

Novar Gardens, South Australia

Novar Gardens is an inner south-western suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, in the City of West Torrens.

Originally to be called Morphettville, the name was changed to honour the family estate of Ronald Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar, Governor-General of Australia from 1914 to 1920, who visited the site of the future suburb in 1919. On his return to Britain, Munro Ferguson was created 1st Viscount Novar.

The historic Cummins House in Sheoak Avenue is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

Robert Munro Ferguson

Robert Munro Ferguson (born Robert Ferguson; 20 August 1802 – 28 November 1868) was a Scottish Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1841 to 1862.

An officer in the 79th Regiment of Foot, he rose to become colonel of the regiment and eventually an army general. He was of the Fergusons, who were an ancient Highland family, he lived at Muirtown, Fife.

Ferguson was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kirkcaldy Burghs at a by-election in 1841. He lived at no.5 Bolton Row, London. He was a member of the Athenaeum and Reform Clubs.

In politics he supported the Liberal agenda. He wanted electoral reform, male suffrage and the secret ballot. He supported Triennial fixed parliaments. He voted for revision of the Corn Laws and Income tax. He wished for abolition of the tax on knowledge, voting for universal schooling. He was in favour of diluting the prelacy, redistributing to local vicars and disestablishment.

He was re-elected unopposed at the next 4 general elections, and at the 1859 election he held the seat with a narrow majority over his Liberal opponent William Vernon Harcourt (who later became Chancellor of the Exchequer). Ferguson resigned his seat in the House of Commons in 1862, by the procedural device of accepting appointment as Steward of the Manor of Hempholme.In 1864, Ferguson inherited the estates of Novar in Ross-shire and Muirton, Morayshire, conditional upon his taking the additional surname Munro. He died at the age of 66. His son, Ronald Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar, served as Governor-General of Australia and Secretary of State for Scotland.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) was an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government, which was "sponsored" [financed and with oversight] through Historic Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government.

As one of the country's National Collections, it was responsible for recording, interpreting and collecting information about the built and historic environment. This information, which relates to buildings, sites, and ancient monuments of archaeological, architectural and historical interest (including maritime sites and underwater constructions), as well as historical aspects of the landscape, was then made available to the public, mainly at no cost.

It was established (shortly ahead of parallel commissions for Wales and England) by a Royal Warrant of 1908, which was revised in 1992.

The RCAHMS merged with government agency Historic Scotland to form Historic Environment Scotland, a new executive non-departmental public body on 1 October 2015.

Royal Military College, Sandhurst

The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.

The RMC was reorganised at the outbreak of the Second World War, but some of its units remained operational at Sandhurst and Aldershot. In 1947, the Royal Military College was merged with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, to form the present-day all-purpose Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Secretary of State for Scotland

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba, Scots: Secretar o State for Scotland) is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland representing Scotland. They head the Scotland Office (formerly the Scottish Office), a government department based in London and Edinburgh.

Yaralla Estate

The Yaralla Estate, also known as the Dame Eadith Walker Estate and now home to the Dame Eadith Walker Hospital, is a heritage-listed hospital at The Drive, Concord West, City of Canada Bay in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Yaralla was the home of Eadith Walker and her father Thomas. The estate is historically significant as one of the last large nineteenth century estates remaining in metropolitan Sydney.

In the 1860s, Thomas Walker commissioned the architect Edmund Blacket to design a home on the shores of the Parramatta River. This Victorian Italianate mansion became the Walker family home. From 1893 to 1899, Eadith Walker built extensions that were designed by the architect John Sulman. A stables and coach house complex were also designed by Sulman at the same time. The entire estate is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register and the (now defunct) Register of the National Estate.Dame Eadith Walker , who never married, died at Yaralla in 1937 after a long career devoting her life to the Australian Red Cross and a wide range of other philanthropic organisations. Her estate was disposed of in accordance with the terms of her father's will, brought about by the Thomas Walker Trusts Act (1939), a portion of which was set aside to found the Dame Eadith Walker Convalescent Hospital and income from the remainder went to support the hospital, the Thomas Walker hospital and the Yaralla cottages built by Dame Eadith for elderly people in need.

Secretary of State for Scotland
1707–1746
Secretary for Scotland
1885–1926
Secretary of State for Scotland
1926–1999
Secretary of State for Scotland
1999–present
Cabinet of Bonar Law (1922–1923)

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