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ninth Earl of Kintore (1852–1930)

by Richard Refshauge

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ninth Earl of Kintore (1852-1930), by unknown photographer, c1890

ninth Earl of Kintore (1852-1930), by unknown photographer, c1890

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 5986

ninth Earl of Kintore (1852-1930), governor, was born on 12 August 1852 at Sixmount House, near Edinburgh, eldest son of Francis Alexander, 8th Earl of Kintore (1828-1880) and his wife Louisa Madaleine, née Hawkins. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1874; M.A., 1877). On 14 August 1873 he had married Lady Sydney Charlotte Montagu, second daughter of George, 6th Duke of Manchester. He succeeded his father as earl in 1880 and was appointed to court and other offices appropriate to a member of the nobility. In 1885-86 he was a lord-in-waiting to Queen Victoria and held minor appointments in the House of Lords. In 1886 he was made a privy councillor and captain of the Yeomen of the Guard. In 1889 he was appointed G.C.M.G. and governor of South Australia. He arrived with his family at Adelaide on 11 April in the Orient and was formally welcomed by the administrator, Chief Justice (Sir) Samuel Way; the popular festivities lasted the whole day.

Kintore's appointment, with many others, indicated a change in British colonial policy; in place of military and naval officers and high civil officials, the government was appointing members of the nobility to governorships, an implied compliment and an attempt to develop cordial relations between Britain and the colonies. Kintore took a deep interest in the colony under his charge, travelling more extensively than any previous governor to make himself familiar with it. He was also interested in Federation and supported the Australasian Federal Convention at Melbourne in 1890 but could not attend the convention at Sydney in 1891 because he had decided to cross the continent from Port Darwin to Adelaide. His aim was to 'learn what the continent was like, and to satisfy the curiosity of the Imperial Government as to the condition and prospects of the wide tract of country'. He delayed his departure to attend the funeral of David Bews and left for Melbourne by train on 26 February, a week later travelling to Brisbane where he boarded the Chingtu for Darwin. Accompanied by Dr (Sir) Edward Stirling, a telegraph operator, five other white men and three Aboriginals, he left Darwin on 9 April and followed the overland telegraph line through Katherine, Daly Waters, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs to Oodnadatta whence he completed the journey by train and reached Adelaide on 23 May. Apart from newspaper criticism about 'the privacy' of the trip and the lack of a 'correspondent', his journey aroused popular enthusiasm.

Although at Kintore's arrival the colony was emerging from severe depression, the ending of the boom in the eastern colonies, trouble with miners at Moonta in 1890 and the Broken Hill strike in 1892 delayed South Australia's recovery. He kept aloof from the unrest but had to deal with five changes of ministry before Kingston succeeded on 16 June 1893 in forming a government which lasted to December 1899. Kintore had always been impartial, though his friendship with Way caused him some trouble when he had him appointed lieutenant-governor without consulting the premier. Kintore resigned in 1895 and left Adelaide on 10 April. He resumed his post of lord-in-waiting at the court, serving Queen Victoria until her death and Edward VII until 1905. His court duties brought him the grand cordon of the Crown of Italy, the first class of the Prussian order of the Red Eagle and the Grand Cross of the Portuguese military order of Christ. In 1913 he was elected deputy-Speaker of the House of Lords.

Kintore was a prominent Mason; when he arrived in South Australia, Way resigned as grand master of the United Grand Lodge of South Australia in his favour, and he later became provincial grand master of the Kincardineshire Lodge. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by each of the Universities of Aberdeen and Adelaide. He died on 3 March 1930, survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. Kintore Avenue, adjoining the cultural precinct in the city of Adelaide, was named after him, as were several suburban thoroughfares.

Select Bibliography

  • H. T. Burgess (ed), Cyclopedia of South Australia, vol 1 (Adel, 1908)
  • Australasian, 13 Apr 1889, 25, 27 Feb, 25, 30 May, 6 June 1891
  • Illustrated Sydney News, 11 Apr, 9 May 1891
  • Henry Parkes letters, vol 20 (State Library of New South Wales).

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Citation details

Richard Refshauge, 'Kintore, ninth Earl of (1852–1930)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 28 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

ninth Earl of Kintore (1852-1930), by unknown photographer, c1890

ninth Earl of Kintore (1852-1930), by unknown photographer, c1890

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 5986

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Keith-Falconer, Algernon Hawkins Thomond

12 August, 1852
Edinburgh, Mid-Lothian, Scotland


3 March, 1930 (aged 77)

Cultural Heritage

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