Born of a Scottish aristocratic family, Alexander Hore-Ruthven first came to Australia as military secretary to Governor-General Lord Dudley. Returning to England in 1909, Hore-Ruthven joined Kitchener’s staff and accompanied him on his tour of Australia. Hore-Ruthven retired from the army in 1928, became governor of South Australia and was appointed KCMG. His term of office coincided with the Great Depression and the premiership of Lionel Hill. Apparently because of Hore-Ruthven’s influence, Hill supported the Premiers’ Plan of June 1931, which involved reductions in government spending, public works and wages, despite opposition from his own Labor party. Hore‑Ruthven was censured by the United Trades and Labor Council for his 1930 Anzac Day speech, expressing criticism of trade union leadership. The British government considered his service outstanding; he was appointed governor of New South Wales in 1935 and, having been made Baron Gowrie of Canberra and Dirleton and GCMG in 1935, Australia’s governor-general.

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