The man who was to become Lord Gowrie, Governor of South Australia (1928‑34), Governor of New South Wales (1935) and Governor‑General of Australia (1936‑44) was born at Windsor, England, on 6 July 1872.

He received his education at Eton and, in 1891, at the age of nineteen he joined the 3rd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.

In 1898, following the British reorganisation of Egypt two years earlier, he served with an Anglo‑Egyptian force in the Sudan during Right Wor.Bro. Lord Kitchener's conquest and occupation of Khartoum.

Alexander Hore‑Ruthven commanded a Camel Corps at the battle of Gedaref where he was awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery during his rescue of an Egyptian officer under heavy enemy fire.

The officer was lying wounded some 50 metres in front of the advancing Dervishes. Captain Hore‑Ruthven rushed forward, picked him up and started back for his own lines. He had to lay down his burden three times while he kept the enemy at bay with his revolver.

He first visited Australia in 1908 as military secretary to the Governor-General, Lord Dudley and, during the following two years, he was a staff officer with Lord Kitchener when he came to Australia to advise on the reorganisation of Australia's defences.

Hore‑Ruthven served at Gallipoli during the First World War, which later led him to be admired by many Australians. He also served in France where he was seriously wounded and, as a result, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He later received a Bar to his D.S.O. whilst serving in France with the British Expeditionary Force. He was mentioned in despatches on five occasions and was promoted to Brigadier‑General in 1917.

As a result of his outstanding service, he became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1918 and a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1919.

Brigadier‑General Hore‑Ruthven was Commanding Officer of the Welsh Guards from 1920 to 1924 and subsequently, the first Infantry Brigade of Guards at Aldershot from 1924 to 1928.

It was then that his second association with Australia began with his appointment as Governor of South Australia and his creation as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He served until 1934 when he moved from Adelaide to Sydney to become, in 1935, the Governor of New South Wales. After just one year he became Governor-General of Australia in which office he served until 1944, during the darkest of the years of the Second World War.

On his return to England he was appointed Deputy Constable and Lieutenant‑Governor of Windsor Castle (1945‑53) and Colonel of the Welsh guards.

Lord Gowrie always had an interest in sport and, in his younger days, was one of the few amateur jockeys to have ridden in the English Grand National Steeplechase.

In 1948 he served as President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (M.C.C.) and had the dubious pleasure of watching Bro. Don Bradman's undefeated Australians claim the ashes.

Lord Gowrie died in Wiltshire, England on 2 May 1955.

Most Wor.Bro. Lord Gowrie was initiated into Freemasonry on 15 March 1893 in Lodge St. Andrew’s Military No. 668, Scottish Constitution. This lodge met at Hamilton in Lanarkshire, Scotland and he joined during his service with the Highland Light Infantry.

Whilst in the Sudan he affiliated on 26 July 1898, with the Sir Reginald Wingate Lodge No. 2954, English Constitution, where he served as Secretary for a short time.

On his arrival in Adelaide he affiliated, on 27 September 1928, with the United Service Lodge No. 37, South Australian Constitution. He became Senior Warden of this lodge on Anzac Day, 25 April 1929 and, appropriately for an old soldier, he was installed as Worshipful Master on Anzac Day 1930.

Ten days earlier on 115 April 1930, he was installed as Grand Master of  the  Grand Lodge of South Australia.

Thus, for the first year of his Grand Mastership, he also had the duties of Governor of the State and Worshipful Master of his lodge. Only a special man could contemplate such a program.

On moving to New South Wales, he affiliated with Lodge Army and Navy No. 517 and was installed as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales in the Sydney Town Hall on 23 July 1935.

The installing Grand Master was another distinguished soldier, Most Wor.Bro. Major‑General Dr. Frederick Maguire, C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., K.St.J., M.D., F.R.C.S., F.R.A.C.S., F.R.C.O.G., F.A.C.S.

Lord Gowrie served as Grand Master until 30 August 1944.

He was certainly no 'figure head' Grand Master and he attended lodges throughout the State and the Australian Capital Territory as often as possible. For instance, in March 1938, whilst engaged on his Vice Regal duties, he somehow contrived to visit Lodge Commonwealth of Australia No. 633, at Canberra, Lodge Justice No. 461, at Dulwich Hill and Lodge Temperance No. 179, in Sydney.

On a 20,000 km journey around Australia, he even visited a lodge with eight members at a remote town on the coast of Western Australia. The meeting, at which a candidate was initiated, was held in a tin shed and there were brethren who had ridden horses 250 km to be present.

Our distinguished brother was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in the St. Alban Collegiate Chapter No. 25, South Australian Constitution, in December 1928 and he became First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of South Australia on 21 May 1930. He held this office until May 1935.

In September 1932, he was advanced to the Mark Degree in the Adelaide Mark Lodge No. 1, South Australian Constitution, and in June 1933, he was installed as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of South Australia. He relinquished this office on his departure for New South Wales in 1935.

He was a member and office bearer of the Earl of Euston Preceptory of Knights Templar No. 169, English Constitution in Adelaide and Most Wise Sovereign of the Earl of Euston Rose Croix Chapter No. 147, English Constitution, also meeting in Adelaide.


Information supplied from the book " Australian and New Zealand Freemasons and the Victoria Cros" by Grahame Cumminge PDGM UGL of NSW & ACT