Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman

Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman, GCMG, KCVO, PC (16 November 1874 – 24 June 1954), was a British aristocrat and politician who served as the fifth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1911 to 1914.

Denman was born into the English nobility, inheriting his title at the age of 19 from a great-uncle. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and served in the Second Boer War. Denman sat with the Liberal Party in the House of Lords, and was made a Lord-in-waiting in 1905 and Chief Whip in 1907. He was appointed to the governor-generalship at the age of 36, and remains the youngest person to have held the position. Denman and his young family were immensely popular with the general public, and he enjoyed friendly relations with Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, with whom he shared many similar political opinions. However, he suffered from ill health and returned to England after less than three years as governor-general. Denman never again held public office, but remained active in the House of Lords and briefly commanded a unit in the First World War.

Lord Denman

Lord Denman
5th Governor-General of Australia
In office
31 July 1911 – 18 May 1914
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterAndrew Fisher
Joseph Cook
Preceded byLord Dudley
Succeeded bySir Ronald Munro Ferguson
Personal details
Born16 November 1874
London, England
Died24 June 1954 (aged 79)
Hove, Sussex, England
Gertrude Pearson
(m. 1913; her death 1954)

Early life and military career

Denman was born in London on 16 November 1874, the son of Richard Denman and the former Helen Mary McMicking. His father was the grandson of Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman, who was Lord Chief Justice from 1832 to 1850. Denman was the second of three children, and the oldest son. His younger brother, Sir Richard Denman, was also a Liberal Party politician.[1]

Denman's parents divorced in 1878. His father did not remarry, and died in 1883 when his son was eight.[2] However, his mother remarried twice – in 1879 to James Walker (annulled due to desertion), and then in 1888 to Henry Primrose (a civil servant and cousin of Lord Rosebery).[3]

In 1894, aged 19, Denman succeeded his great-uncle as Baron Denman; he took his seat in the House of Lords on his 21st birthday. He intended a military career and was a graduate of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Denman began his career in the Royal Scots, where he was promoted to lieutenant on 4 March 1896, but resigned in May 1899 and was placed in the Reserve. Returning to active service following the outbreak of the Second Boer War, he was on 3 February 1900 commissioned as a lieutenant of the 11th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry,[4] and left Liverpool for South Africa on the SS Cymric in March 1900.[5] He was promoted to captain in the battalion on 18 July 1900, and the following year was appointed a captain in the Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge's Hussars) Imperial Yeomanry, followed by a promotion to major on 30 April 1902.[6]


Denman had little money until 1903, when he married Gertrude Pearson, daughter of the wealthy industrialist Weetman Pearson (later Viscount Cowdray). He was then able to devote his time to public life and served in the Liberal administrations of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith as a Lord-in-waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) from 1905 to 1907 and as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (government chief whip in the House of Lords) between 1907 and 1911. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1907.[7] In 1909, he was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order as a Knight Commander.[8] In 1911, Lord Harcourt, the Colonial Secretary, offered Denman the post of Governor-General of Australia,[9] apparently to get him out of domestic politics.[10] In the 1911 Coronation Honours, Lord Denman was appointed to the Order of St Michael and St George as a Knight Grand Cross.[11]


Aussie pm Andrew Fisher cropped from naming of Canberra
Denman, to the left of Labor Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, at the naming of Canberra in 1913.
Laying of the foundation stone of the Commencement Column, Canberra
Lord and Lady Denman, King O'Malley and Andrew Fisher at the official ceremony on Capitol Hill to mark the commencement of work on the city of Canberra, 12 March 1913
The cadets being inspected by the Governor-General 12 March 1913
The cadets being inspected by the Governor-General on 12 March 1913, at the Canberra naming ceremony

The Denmans arrived in Melbourne on 31 July 1911.[12] They found Andrew Fisher's Labor government firmly in control. As the most politically liberal Governor-General yet appointed, he got on well with the Labor ministers, and his modesty and generosity with his father-in-law's money made him popular with the public. In October 1912, the New South Wales Premier, James McGowen "evicted" him from Government House, Sydney. On 12 March 1913, he inaugurated the site of the future national capital and Lady Denman formally announced its name, Canberra.[10] On 12 March 2013, his great-nephew, the 6th Baron Denman and his wife attended celebrations in Canberra commemorating the centenary of the naming of the city.[13]

But Denman found that he had less real political influence than any previous Governor-General. As Australia, along with the other dominions, achieved political maturity, its Prime Minister communicated directly with his British counterpart, cutting the Colonial Secretary and the Governor-General out of the loop. The appointment of an Australian High Commissioner in London further reduced the Governor-General's diplomatic role.

In May 1913 the Labor government was unexpectedly defeated at a general election by Joseph Cook's Liberals. But Labor retained control of the Senate and was determined to frustrate Cook's government at every turn. By early 1914 it was clear that a constitutional crisis was developing. Denman was in poor health—that he was allergic to Australia's national flower, the wattle, did not help—and his marriage was suffering from his wife's unhappiness at being so far from home. He felt he lacked the strength to deal with the political situation, and in May 1914 he resigned.[10]

Later years

With the outbreak of the Great War, Denman commanded a Yeomanry regiment from 1914 until 1915. He remained loyal to Asquith and the Liberals and so did not hold office again, leading a quiet life until his death in Hove, Sussex, 22 days after that of his wife.[10] He was succeeded in the barony by his son, Thomas Denman, 4th Baron Denman.

Styles of address

  • 1874–1894: Mr Thomas Denman
  • 1894–1907: The Right Honourable The Lord Denman
  • 1907–1909: The Right Honourable The Lord Denman PC
  • 1909–1911: The Right Honourable The Lord Denman KCVO PC
  • 1911: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Denman KCVO PC
  • 1911–1914: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Denman GCMG KCVO PC
  • 1914–1954: The Right Honourable The Lord Denman GCMG KCVO PC


  1. ^ "Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman of Dovedale". 6 March 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  2. ^ Hon. Richard Denman
  3. ^ Helen Mary McMicking
  4. ^ "No. 27160". The London Gazette. 2 February 1900. p. 692.
  5. ^ "The War - Embarcation of Troops". The Times (36078). London. 1 March 1900. p. 7.
  6. ^ "No. 27429". The London Gazette. 29 April 1902. p. 2866.
  7. ^ "No. 28050". The London Gazette. 13 August 1907. p. 5523.
  8. ^ "No. 28251". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 May 1909. p. 3753.
  9. ^ "No. 28483". The London Gazette. 7 April 1911. p. 2802.
  10. ^ a b c d Cunneen, Chris (1981). "Denman, Thomas [Baron Denman] (1874–1954)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  11. ^ "No. 28505". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 1911. p. 4593.
  12. ^ Cunneen, Chris (1981). "Denman, Thomas (1874–1954)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  13. ^ Canberra Times, 11 March 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Churchill
Succeeded by
The Lord Herschell
Preceded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Lord Colebrooke
Preceded by
The Lord Ribblesdale
Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dudley
Governor-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Aitchison-Denman
Baron Denman
Succeeded by
Thomas Denman
1911 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1911 in Australia.

1912 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1912 in Australia.

1913 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1913 in Australia.

1914 in Australia

1914 in Australia was dominated by the outbreak of World War I. Andrew Fisher, who became Prime Minister a month after Australia entered the war vowed that Australia would "stand beside our own to help and defend Britain to the last man and the last shilling." In 1914, the Australian war effort was dominated by recruiting and equipping a force to fight overseas.

The southern winter rainfall zone of the continent suffered its worst rainfall failure until 1982. This led to record low wheat yields and exacerbated the problems caused by outbreak of World War I.


1954 (MCMLIV)

was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1954th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 954th year of the 2nd millennium, the 54th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1950s decade.

Anna, Lady Barlow

The Honourable Anna Maria Heywood, Lady Barlow (c. 1874 – 28 May 1965) was an English welfare reformer and Liberal politician.

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.

Baron Denman

Baron Denman, of Dovedale in the County of Derby, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1834 for the prominent lawyer, judge and Whig politician Thomas Denman. He served as Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench from 1832 to 1850. His son, the second Baron, assumed in 1876 by royal licence the additional surname of Aitchison, which was that of his father-in-law. He was succeeded by his grandnephew, the third Baron. He was the grandson of the Hon. Richard Denman, younger son of the first Baron. Lord Denman notably served as Governor-General of Australia from 1911 to 1914. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the fourth Baron. On his death in 1971, the title passed to his first cousin, Sir Charles Denman, 2nd Baronet, of Staffield (see below), who became the fifth holder of the title.

The Denman baronetcy, of Staffield in the County Cumberland, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom in 1945 for the Hon. Richard Denman, younger brother of the third Baron Denman. He had represented Carlisle in the House of Commons as a Liberal from January 1910 until 1918 and Leeds Central as Labour from 1929, and National Labour from 1931 to 1945. He was succeeded by his son, the aforementioned second Baronet, who succeeded as fifth Baron Denman in 1971. He had unsuccessfully contested Leeds Central in the 1945 general election for the Conservatives. He was succeeded by his son, who succeeded as sixth Baron Denman in 2012.

Cranbrook, Bellevue Hill

Cranbrook is a large house built at Rose Bay in Sydney, Australia in 1859. It is now one of the buildings of Cranbrook School

Henry Primrose

Sir Henry William Primrose (22 August 1846 – 17 June 1923) was a Scottish civil servant. He joined the Treasury in 1869, served as private secretary to the Viceroy of India from 1880 to 1884 and to Gladstone in 1886. He was secretary of the Office of Works from 1887 to 1895. He became chairman of the Board of the Inland Revenue from 1899 to 1907.

In his youth, he made one appearance for the Scottish football XI against England in the representative match played in November 1870.

List of Knights Commander of the Royal Victorian Order appointed by Edward VII

The Royal Victorian Order is an order of knighthood awarded by the sovereign of the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth realms. It is granted personally by the monarch and recognises personal service to the monarchy, the Royal Household, royal family members, and the organisation of important royal events. The order was officially created and instituted on 23 April 1896 by letters patent under the Great Seal of the Realm by Queen Victoria. It was instituted with five grades, Knight Grand Cross (GCVO), Knight Commander (KCVO), Commander (CVO), Member (fourth class) and Member (fifth class), the last two of which were abbreviated to MVO. The two highest conferred the status of knighthood on holders; in 1984, the grade of Member (fourth class) was renamed Lieutenant (LVO), and holders of the fifth grade became Members. Women were not admitted until 1936; those receiving the highest two awards were styled Dames and those grades, when conferred on women, are Dame Grand Cross and Dame Commander (DCVO). The order could also be conferred on foreigners, who were typically appointed to honorary grades and were thus not entitled to the styles, such as Sir and Dame, associated with ordinary grades.

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.

List of people on the postage stamps of Australia

This is a list of people on the postage stamps of Australia.

Monarchy of Australia

The monarchy of Australia concerns the form of government in which a hereditary king or queen serves as the nation's sovereign and head of state. Australia is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, largely modelled on the Westminster system of parliamentary government, while incorporating features unique to the Constitution of Australia. The present monarch is Elizabeth II, styled Queen of Australia, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. She is represented in Australia as a whole by the Governor-General, in accordance with the Australian Constitution and letters patent from the Queen, and in each of the Australian states, according to the state constitutions, by a governor, assisted by a lieutenant-governor. The monarch appoints the Governor-General and the governors, on the advice respectively of the Commonwealth government and each state government. These are now almost the only constitutional functions of the monarch with regard to Australia.Australian constitutional law provides that the monarch of the United Kingdom is also the monarch in Australia. This is understood today to constitute a separate Australian monarchy, the monarch acting with regard to Australian affairs exclusively upon the advice of Australian ministers. Australia is thus one of the Commonwealth realms, sixteen independent countries that share the same person as monarch and head of state. The role and future of the monarchy has been a recurring topic of public discussion.

Richard Denman

Sir Richard Douglas Denman, 1st Baronet (24 August 1876 – 22 December 1957), was a radical British Liberal Party politician .

Spouse of the Governor-General of Australia

The spouse of the Governor-General of Australia generally assists the office-holder in welcoming ambassadors and their spouses, and in performing their other official duties. The governor-general's spouse traditionally participates in celebratory occasions, attends functions and, as a patron of various voluntary associations, works to promote the activities of those associations. None of the activities have any official status. The current spouse (since 1 July 2019) is Linda Hurley, wife of David Hurley.

Both the governor-general and their spouse are entitled to the style "His/Her Excellency" during the governor-general's term of office, but not thereafter. The governor-general is entitled to the style "The Honourable" for life; this does not extend to the spouse.

Except for Dame Quentin Bryce, all Australian governors-general have been male, and all spouses but her husband Michael Bryce have been female.

No governor-general has been single throughout their term, but two spouses died during the governor-general's term: Jacqueline Sidney, Viscountess De L'Isle, wife of William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle (1962); and Alison Kerr, Lady Kerr, wife of Sir John Kerr (1974). Kerr remarried during his term; De L'Isle remarried after his term had finished.

The longest-serving spouse has been Zara Hore-Ruthven, Countess of Gowrie, wife of the longest-serving governor-general, Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, who served nine years from 1936 to 1945. The shortest-serving spouse was Alison Morrison, Viscountess Dunrossil, wife of William Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil, who died in 1961, one year and one day after taking up the office, being the only governor-general to die in office; Viscountess Dunrossil died in 1983.

Most of the spouses of governors-general have been content to be background figures providing the office-holder with support. Some have been all but unknown to the general Australian public. However, some have been notable in their own right, and details are shown in the following table.

Thomas Denman

Thomas Denman may refer to:

Thomas Denman (physician) (1733–1815), English physician

Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman (1779–1854), British politician and judge

Thomas Aitchison-Denman, 2nd Baron Denman (1805–1894), British politician

Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman (1874–1954), British politician, Governor-General of Australia

Tommy Denman, actor in Silks and Saddles

Weetman Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray

Weetman Dickinson Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray, (15 July 1856 – 1 May 1927), known as Sir Weetman Pearson, Bt between 1894 and 1910, and as Lord Cowdray between 1910 and 1917, was a British engineer, oil industrialist, benefactor and Liberal politician. He was the owner of the Pearson conglomerate.


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