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John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven

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Title: John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven  
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Subject: Lloyd George ministry, Viscount Stonehaven, Isaac Isaacs, Ian Keith, 12th Earl of Kintore, 1927 in Australia
Collection: 1874 Births, 1941 Deaths, Australian Freemasons, Chairmen of the Conservative Party (Uk), Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, Conservative Party (Uk) Mps, Deputy Lieutenants of Kincardineshire, Governors-General of Australia, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, Lanarkshire Yeomanry Officers, Masonic Grand Masters, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Scottish Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, People Educated at Eton College, People from Chelsea, London, Scottish Freemasons, Scottish Horse Officers, Uk Mps 1910, Uk Mps 1910–18, Uk Mps 1918–22, Uk Mps 1922–23, Uk Mps 1923–24, Uk Mps 1924–29, Viscounts in the Peerage of the United Kingdom
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John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Stonehaven
8th Governor-General of Australia
In office
8 October 1925 – 21 January 1931
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Bruce
James Scullin
Preceded by The Lord Forster
Succeeded by Sir Isaac Isaacs
Minister of Transport
In office
31 October 1922 – 22 January 1924
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Earl of Crawford
Succeeded by Harry Gosling
First Commissioner of Works
In office
31 October 1922 – 22 January 1924
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Earl of Crawford
Succeeded by Fred Jowett
Personal details
Born 27 April 1874 (1874-04-27)
Chelsea, London
United Kingdom
Died 20 August 1941(1941-08-20) (aged 67)
Ury House
Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Sydney Keith-Falconer,
11th Countess of Kintore
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

John Lawrence Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven, GCMG, DSO, PC, JP, DL (27 April 1874 – 20 August 1941), known as Sir John Baird, Bt, between 1920 and 1925 and as The Lord Stonehaven between 1925 and 1928, was a British Conservative politician, who served as a Member of Parliament, government minister, and was later the eighth Governor-General of Australia.


  • Early life 1
  • Political career 1910–1924 2
  • Governor-General of Australia 3
    • Freemasonry 3.1
  • Later life 4
  • Family 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Baird was born in CMG in 1904 and retired from the Diplomatic Service in 1908.[3]

He was a Deputy Lieutenant for Kincardineshire from 5 January 1900.[4]

Political career 1910–1924

Baird was elected to the coalition government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Air Board in December 1916, an office that was renamed Parliamentary Secretary to the Air Council in November 1917. In January 1919 he became Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions. Already in April 1919 he was made Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, which he remained until the coalition government fell in October 1922.[3]

Bonar Law became Prime Minister the same month, and appointed Baird Minister of Transport[7] and First Commissioner of Works.[8] He was sworn of the Privy Council a few days later.[7] In the November 1922 general election, he was returned for Ayr Burghs.[3][9][10] He continued as First Commissioner of Works and Minister of Transport also when Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister in May 1923 and held them until January 1924, when Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government took office.[3]

Governor-General of Australia

In December, after the Conservatives returned to power, he accepted the position of

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Corrie Grant
Member of Parliament for Rugby
Succeeded by
Euan Wallace
Preceded by
Sir George Younger, Bt
Member of Parliament for Ayr Burghs
Succeeded by
Thomas Moore
Political offices
New office Parliamentary Secretary to the Air Board
(renamed Parliamentary Secretary to the Air Council 1917)

Office abolished
Preceded by
F. G. Kellaway
J. E. B. Seely
Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions
With: F. G. Kellaway
Succeeded by
F. G. Kellaway
Preceded by
Sir Hamar Greenwood, Bt
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Hon. George Frederick Stanley
Preceded by
The Earl of Crawford
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
Fred Jowett
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
Harry Gosling
Government offices
Preceded by
The Lord Forster
Governor-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Isaac Isaacs
Party political offices
Preceded by
Neville Chamberlain
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Sir Douglas Hacking
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Stonehaven
Succeeded by
James Keith
Baron Stonehaven
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Baird
(of Stonehaven)
Succeeded by
James Keith
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Stonehaven
  • Baird family tree

External links

  1. ^ a b c d Serle, Percival. "Baird, Sir John Lawrence, Viscount Stonehaven (1874–1941)".  
  2. ^ a b c d e Cunneen, Chris (1990). "Stonehaven, John Lawrence Baird (1874–1941)".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h John Lawrence Baird of Ury, 1st Viscount Stonehaven
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27156. p. 438. 23 January 1900.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28338. p. 1037. 11 February 1910.
  6. ^ House of Commons: Rochester to Ryedale
  7. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 32763. p. 7777. 3 November 1922.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32763. p. 7778. 3 November 1922.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32775. p. 8712. 8 December 1922.
  10. ^ House of Commons: Arundel to Ayrshire South
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33057. p. 4023. 16 June 1925.
  12. ^
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34526. p. 4169. 28 June 1938.


Lord Stonehaven married Lady (Ethel) Sydney Keith-Falconer, daughter of the 9th Earl of Kintore, in 1905. They had two sons and three daughters. Lord Stonehaven died of hypertensive cardiac disease at Ury House, Stonehaven, Scotland, in August 1941, aged 67, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Ian. The Viscountess Stonehaven succeeded her elder brother as eleventh Countess of Kintore in 1966. She died in September 1974, one day after her 100th birthday.[3]


On his return to Britain he was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1931, a post he held until 1936.[3] In 1938 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Stonehaven, of Ury in the County of Kincardine.[13]

Later life

He was a freemason. During his term as Governor-General (1925-1930), he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales.[12]


Bruce's party was defeated at the October election, and Bruce also lost his own seat. The Labor leader, James Scullin, took office in January 1930. Stonehaven's relations with Scullin were correct but not friendly, since his political sympathies lay elsewhere. It was probably fortunate for him that his term expired in 1930, before the crises of the Scullin government began. Stonehaven was not consulted by Scullin about the choice of his successor, and he left Australia in October 1930.[1][2]

For most of Stonehaven's term Bruce seemed firmly entrenched in office, but in September 1929 he was unexpectedly defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives, and asked Stonehaven for a dissolution. Although the Parliament was only a year old, Stonehaven agreed at once: the days when Governors-General exercised a discretion in this area had passed.[2]

There were other changes during Stonehaven's term. In May 1927 he formally opened the first meeting of the Australian Parliament in the newly built Parliament House in Canberra, and the Governor-General was at last given a permanent residence, Government House, Canberra, commonly known by the previous name of the house, Yarralumla. This meant an end to travelling between government houses in Sydney and Melbourne and made the post of Governor-General less expensive. At the same time, the advent of aviation, of which Stonehaven was a keen exponent, made travelling around Australia much easier.[2]

Lord Stonehaven arrived in Australia in October 1925. He quickly established good relations with Bruce, with whom he had much in common. But, like his predecessor, he found that Australian Prime Ministers no longer wanted a Governor-General acting as an Imperial overseer, or as a representative of the British government, but merely as discreet figureheads. The 1926 Imperial Conference in London recognised the de facto independence of the Dominions, and ended the role of the Governors-General as diplomats and as channels of communication between governments. From now on the Governor-General's sole role was to be a personal representative of the Crown.


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