Categories: Melbourne Grammar School, South Yarra, Victoria | Australian Prime Ministers | British Army Officers | British War Medal | Order of the Companions of Honour | Croix de guerre 1914-1918 | Military Cross | 1914-1915 Star | Victory Medal | Wounded in Action, United Kingdom, World War I.
|Eighth Prime Minister of Australia
9 February 1923 to 22 October 1929
Stanley Bruce, CH MC PC FRS, became Prime Minister in 1923 when he was only 39 - Australia's second youngest Prime Minister. During his term as Prime Minister there was a gradual increase in Commonwealth powers in financial matters.
Bruce held the office for six and a half years until he lost his seat in the election in 1929. He later became a very effective High Commissioner in London and served there for 13 years. In 1947 he became Viscount Bruce of Melbourne - our only Prime Minister to be awarded a peerage.
Bruce was born on 15 April 1883 at St Kilda, Victoria, youngest of five children of John Munro Bruce and his wife Mary Ann, née Henderson. His parents were comfortably circumstanced, his father having become a partner in the softgoods importing firm of Paterson, Laing & Bruce in 1878. The family spent some time in England while Bruce was a child, and he began his formal education at Eastbourne, probably with an English governess. In 1891 he entered a Toorak, Victoria, prep school run by Miss McComas, who remembered a delightful boy, serious, earnest, very good-looking, always 'a little gentleman' and very self-reliant. He went on to Melbourne Church of England Grammar School in 1896, where he captained football, cricket and rowing, was a cadet-lieutenant, and in 1901 school captain.
His father JM Bruce, was born in Ireland, the son of a Scottish immigrant. He was educated in Scotland before serving a warehouseman's apprenticeship in Ireland. He came to Melbourne when he was 18, and became a partner in a mercantile business. In 1878 he co-founded the firm of Paterson, Laing & Bruce (PLB), who imported and sold goods.
When his father's firm encountered liquidity problems during the 1890s financial crisis, the family moved temporarily from its comfortable Toorak home. His father retained a right to draw £2500 a year and in 1897 he was able to buy out his senior partner, John Paterson. He then formed a limited liability company to which he transferred assets valued at £400,000 and as part payment became majority shareholder. The English partners, or their estates, took up shares and also provided short-term finance. On J. M. Bruce's death in 1901, the English directors controlled London head office. In a manoeuvre to shift that control without a flight of capital, Bruce was made acting chairman in 1907. It was a delicate situation for the family: they could not take up the debt themselves and they could not be sure they would be able to replace the capital if it was withdrawn as the firm's 4 per cent dividend was below market average.
Bruce had worked in the Melbourne warehouse of Paterson, Laing & Bruce in 1902 before going to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He rowed in the winning Cambridge crew in 1904 and in later years sometimes coached for Cambridge, following the principles of Steve Fairbairn. Known affectionately as 'Bruggins' on the tow-path, he had a winning crew in 1914. After he graduated B.A. in 1905, Bruce trained with Ashurst, Morris & Crisp, a leading firm in commercial law, and read for the Bar. He was appointed acting chairman of Paterson, Laing & Bruce in October 1907, and next month was called to the Middle Temple. The firm appears to have taken priority though he had leave to travel to Mexico in 1908 and to Colombia in 1912 on legal commissions to collect evidence. The management of the firm was the reason for his living in London. His elder brother Ernest was in charge of the Australian end of the business.
Stanley Melbourne Bruce was born in Toorak, Victoria, on 15 April 1883. He was the youngest of five children of John Munro Bruce and Mary Henderson.
Stanley Bruce was educated at Melbourne Grammar School, where he captained cricket, football, athletics and rowing teams. In 1903 he went to Cambridge University in England, where he won prizes for rowing and studied law. He became a barrister in 1906, working in London. He also chaired the London board of PLB.
He married Ethel Dunlop Anderson (b 1879) in London in 1913, but they had no children.
When the First World War began, he enlisted in the British army; he fought at Gallipoli in 1915 as a captain, and was awarded the Military Cross and Croix de Guerre. After being wounded twice, he was invalided back to London when his knee was shattered by a bullet. He spent the next two years on crutches.
He returned to Melbourne in 1917 to manage the PLB firm.
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Stanley is 24 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 28 degrees from Katy Jurado and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.