Northcote, Baron

Henry Stafford Northcote

b. 18 Nov 1846, London, England
d. 29 Sep 1911, Ashford, Kent, England

Title: Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia
Term: 21 Jan 1904 - 9 Sep 1908
Chronology: 29 Aug 1903, appointed by Commission under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet [1]
  21 Jan 1904, took an oath of allegiance and an oath of office as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia, public ceremony, Federal Parliament House, Melbourne [2][3]
  9 Sep 1908, appointment superseded by the Commission of a successor effective on taking the prescribed oaths (9 Sep 1908) [4][5]
Names/titles: Nobility titles (conferred): Sir Henry Stafford Northcote, Baronet [from 23 Nov 1887]; Baron Northcote, of the City and County of the City of Exeter [from 22 Jan 1900]
Second son of Sir Stafford Henry Northcote (afterward 1st Earl of Iddesleigh) who held a number of prominent offices in Conservative governments; attended Eton College and Merton College, Oxford (B.A., 1869; M.A., 1873); became a Foreign Office clerk in 1868; accompanied his father to Washington, D.C., in 1871 in the settlement of the 'Alabama claims'; was private secretary to Lord Salisbury in Constantinople in 1876; served as private secretary (1877-1880) to his father, who was then chancellor of the exchequer; retired from the diplomatic service and was elected Conservative MP for Exeter, his family's city (1880-1899); was made financial secretary to the War Office during Lord Salisbury's short first government (1885-1886); in Lord Salisbury's second government he held the post of surveyor-general of the ordnance (1886-1887); was a charity commissioner in 1891-1892, and in 1898 was appointed a royal commissioner for the Paris Exhibition of 1900; served as governor of Bombay (1900-1903) and governor-general of the Commonwealth of Australia (1904-1908); claimed an active role in internal Australian politics; delayed royal assent to the 1904 Arbitration Act, and his supervision of nominations for honours, from both Federal and State governments, led to a dispute over the channel of communications between the Australian States and Britain; sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (15 Feb 1909); at the coronation of King George V he carried the banner of Australia; was a strong defender of the privileges of the Lords in 1911.
Biographical sources: "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" (Oxford University Press, 2004); The Times, No. 39,704, 30 Sep 1911, pp. 9, 11 (obituary).

[1] Government Gazette, No. 4, 21 Jan 1904, p. 32.
[2] Government Gazette, No. 4, 21 Jan 1904, p. 31.
[3] The Argus, No. 17,949, 22 Jan 1904, p. 5.
[4] Government Gazette, No. 45, 9 Sep 1908, p. 1270.
[5] Baron Northcote departed from Sydney 8 Sep 1908 and did not attend the ceremony of swearing-in of his successor, Earl of Dudley (9 Sep 1908). He boarded the steamer Kumano Maru 12 Sep 1908 at Brisbane.
Last updated on: 31 Jan 2018 10:57:51