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Sidney Reginald Innes-Noad (1860–1931)

by Michal Bosworth

This article was published:

Sidney Reginald Innes-Noad (1860-1931), tea merchant and politician, was born on 12 May 1860 at Clerkenwell, London, son of Frederick Innes Noad, merchant and later ship-owner, and his wife Emma Matilda (formerly Clark), née Tennant. Educated in London at Highgate School and Braintree College, Essex, he reached Melbourne in 1883. A tea-taster, he married at Balaclava on 1 June 1886 Rosa Gertrude, the well-dowered daughter of William Howard Smith, and sister of Bruce Smith. Later Innes-Noad was a buyer for Lange & Thonemann and Joseph Webster & Co., tea importers, and by 1890 was in partnership with O. M. Malcolm. In the early 1890s he formed Innes-Noad, Price & Griffiths. The company expanded and also imported 'real Mountain Dew whisky'.

Selling out in 1897, Innes-Noad set up as a tea merchant in Brisbane. By 1903 he was living on independent means near Bowral, New South Wales, and for some years was secretary of the Berrima District (Cottage) Hospital at Bowral. In 1909 he moved to Sydney (though keeping their country house) and with his wife was on the executive of the Twilight League.

An independent Liberal, Innes-Noad unsuccessfully contested the Legislative Assembly seats of Wollondilly (1904) and, as a Liberal, Hartley (1910). In 1911 he established and was president of the Liberal Debating Club to train young men to join the 'Liberal Speaking Team', and was later president of the National Speakers' Association. He and his wife were council-members of the Liberal Association of New South Wales in 1913 and of the National Association of New South Wales in 1918-30 and he was vice-president in 1914-18 and 1930-31. During World War I, after a short visit to England, he was given to fighting the German menace at home by declaring that the Constitution should prevent people of 'alien blood' from ever holding a position in the public service or armed forces. Preselected for the Federal seat of St George in 1917, he stood down for William Bagnall, the ex-Labor candidate, and was nominated to the Legislative Council on 6 May.

Described by Sir Joseph Carruthers as 'not only the best looking man in the House, but a man with the most motherly nature', Innes-Noad was foundation president of the Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies in 1918-28. A voluntary organization, attracting donations from the wealthy as well as government funds, it established the Tresillian nursing homes for mothers and babies and training courses for mothercraft nurses, under the direction of Dr Margaret Harper. In 1925-26 he was attacked by supporters of Dr Truby King's methods used in New Zealand where infant mortality was lower than in New South Wales. He also served on the influenza committee in 1919, the State royal commission on lunacy law and administration in 1922-23 and the Commonwealth royal commission on health in 1925. His interest in health, welfare and housing always reflected the conservative beliefs of his peers that bonny babies for a beautiful Australia could be achieved by legislation and moral guidance from the state. He was appointed C.M.G. in 1929.

Survived by his wife and five daughters, Innes-Noad died at home at Beecroft on 11 February 1931 and was cremated with Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £1792.

Select Bibliography

  • Royal Commission on Lunacy Law and Administration, Parliamentary Papers (New South Wales), 1923, 1, p 651
  • Australian Nurses' Journal, 15 June 1927
  • Fighting Line, 19 Feb 1913, 18 Sept 1916, 19 June 1917, 21 Oct 1918
  • Australasian (Melbourne), 18 Aug 1917
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Feb 1931
  • M. J. Lewis, Populate or Perish: Aspects of Infant and Maternal Health in Sydney 1870-1939 (Ph.D. thesis, Australian National University, 1976).

Citation details

Michal Bosworth, 'Innes-Noad, Sidney Reginald (1860–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 23 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


12 May, 1860
London, Middlesex, England


11 February, 1931 (aged 70)
Beecroft, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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