Sir George Houston Reid


Sir George Houston Reid Famous memorial

Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Death 12 Sep 1918 (aged 73)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Putney Vale, London Borough of Wandsworth, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 8480595 View Source

Australian Prime Minister. Reid served as the Prime Minister of Australia from 18 August 1904 to 5 July 1905. He was Premier of New South Wales from 3 August 1894 to 13 September 1899 and was said to have been the most effective Premier up until that time. As Premier of the largest Australian Colony, he called a conference of Premiers in Hobart on 29 January 1895, which led to an improved bill for an Australian Federation. The first referendum for a Federation was defeated in 1898. A second referendum vote was successful after amendment of the draft proposed Constitution to take into account most of the objections That Reid had initially expressed in his famous "Yes-No" speech. In particular, he had objected to the fact that the Senate, representing all States equally regardless of population, had effectively been given the power to veto money bills. Reid campaigned extensively for the Federation referendum. It had originally been proposed to proceed to Federation without Western Australia, and finally persuaded Premier Forrest to join the Federation.
Reid was Federal Opposition Leader from the commencement of the Federal Parliament until 17 August 1904, Prime Minister 18 August 1904 until 5 July 1905, and then Opposition Leader again from 7 July 1905 until 16 November 1908.
Reid was Member for East Sydney from the commencement of the first Federal Parliament in May 1901 until his resignation on 13 April 1910, to become the first Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Born in Scotland, his family was one of many Presbyterian families brought out to Australia by Reverend Dr John Dunmore Lang. His father was a Presbyterian Minister, and his mother was the daughter of a Presbyterian Minister, and George was the youngest of their five sons. The family arrived in Melbourne in May 1852, and George attended the Melbourne Academy, later Scotch College.
George worked at the Colonial Treasury in New South Wales, becoming an assistant accountant in the treasury by 1864. He became the head of the Attorney General's Department by 1878, and wrote his celebrated "Five Essays on Free Trade" in 1875. He studied law in 1876, and the law provided him with the independent income necessary to contemplate a parliamentary career, an unpaid job at the time. His political career was assisted by a quick wit and exceptionally entertaining oratory.
Reid was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1880 as Member for East Sydney. in 1883, as Minister for Public Instruction, he introduced technical education and he remained passionate about education throughout his life.
He had become Sydney's leading barrister and became a QC in 1898. He had become Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales in 1891.
At age 46 at Wangaratta, Victoria, he married Florence Ann Brumby, then 23, from Tasmania.
After his term as High Commissioner expired in 1916,he was elected to the House of Commons for the seat of St George, Hanover Square as an independent and remained a member of the House of Commons until his death on 12 September 1918.
In 1897, Reid was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Oxford University. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1904, became a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1911, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1916.

Bio by: James Nicol

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kris 'Peterborough K' Peterson
  • Added: 7 Mar 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8480595
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir George Houston Reid (25 Feb 1845–12 Sep 1918), Find a Grave Memorial ID 8480595, citing Putney Vale Cemetery and Crematorium, Putney Vale, London Borough of Wandsworth, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .