Born in Australia in 1883 and raised in Melbourne, Stanley Melbourne Bruce studied at Cambridge before settling in London in the years before World War I. During the war he served with the British Army in Egypt (where he was awarded the Military medal) and Gallipoli (where he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre). Wounded at Gallipoli in 1915 he was invalided to London. In 1917 Bruce returned to Australia to join the family importing firm of Paterson, Laing and Bruce.

Bruce entered the House of Representatives in 1918, winning a by-election for the seat of Flinders. He served as Treasurer (1921–23) in the Hughes Nationalist Government, and became Prime Minister in 1923 when new coalition partners, the Country Party (led by Earle Page), would not accept Hughes as Nationalist Party leader. As well as Prime Minister in the Bruce–Page Government, Bruce also held the portfolios of External Affairs (1923–29), Health (1927–28), and Trade and Customs (1928).

Initiated in Old Melburnians Lodge No. 317 Victorian Constitution on 12 June 1925.