The Lady Gowrie Lookout is adjacent to the Prime Minister's Sydney residence, Kirribilli House, on
the north shore at Kirribilli. Reached after a short walk and up a stone stepway, it offers views across
the harbour to Sydney city, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
It was named after Lady Zara Gowrie, wife of the Governor-General of Australia from 1936-1944, and Governor of New South Wales from 1935-1936. Zara was born at Lismany, Galway, Ireland, on 20 January 1879, the daughter of John Pollok and his wife the Honourable Florence Madeline, née Bingham.
Lady Gowrie was tireless worker organising concerts and Government House fêtes raising money for the war effort. She set up a soldiers' club in Canberra and lent her support to the establishment of what became known as the Lady Gowrie kindergartens.
Her 1941 New Year's Day radio broadcast to the war-time women of Australia calling for 'hope and courage' was followed by a similar message next year from Lord Gowrie. Their only surviving son Patrick was killed in action in 1942; next year a collection of his poetry was published. In 1943 a Gowrie scholarship trust fund was set up for ex-service personnel and their children.
Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie VC GCMG CB DSO PC (6 July 1872 - 2 May 1955), tenth and longest serving Governor-General of Australia, was born in Windsor, Berkshire, the second son of Walter Hore-Ruthven, 8th Lord Ruthven of Freeland. Hore-Ruthven (pronounced Hore-Riven) was educated at Eton College, but was withdrawn from the school due to poor eyesight.
In 1898 Hore-Ruthven joined the British Army. During the Sudan Campaign he was a Captain in the 3rd Battalion of The Highland Light Infantry. During the action at Gedarif, Hore-Ruthven saw an Egyptian officer lying wounded within 50 yards of the advancing Dervishes, who were firing and charging. He picked up the wounded officer and carried him towards the 16th Egyptian Battalion; he had to drop his burden several times in order to fire upon the Dervishes and check their advance, but his action undoubtedly saved the officer's life; for his bravery, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
In 1905 Hore-Ruthven became an aide-de-camp to Lord Dudley, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1908 Dudley was appointed Governor-General of Australia, and Hore-Ruthven went with him as military secretary. In June of the same year he married Zara Eileen Pollok at St George's, Hanover Square, London, with whom he had two sons, one of whom died in infancy. He left Australia in 1910 and returned to military service in India. During World War I he served in France and Gallipoli, where he was severely wounded, awarded the Distinguished Service Order & Bar, and Mentioned in Despatches five times. He finished the war as a Brigadier-General, and commanded British forces in Germany between 1919 and 1920. After this he held various Army staff positions until 1928, when he was appointed Governor of South Australia. Thisis term as Governor ended in 1934, and he was then appointed Governor of New South Wales, with the title Baron Gowrie.
With his military record and experience, he was seen as an obvious choice to succeed Sir Isaac Isaacs when he retired as Governor-General in 1936. His appointment was approved by King George V, who died on 20 January 1936, three days before Gowrie was due to be sworn in, thus he came to office during the reign of King Edward VIII.
In 1938 he toured the Netherlands East Indies at the invitation of the colonial administration becoming the first Governor-General to represent Australia abroad.
During World War II Gowrie saw it as his duty to support the government and the British Empire, and also the troops. He officially opened the Australian War Memorial on 11 November 1941.
In 1943 he undertook a four-week tour of inspection of Allied Defence Forces in northern Australia and New Guinea. Shortly before undertaking this tour, Gowrie and his wife had learned that their remaining son, Patrick, had been killed in Libya the previous year.
Gowrie's term ended in September 1944 after which he returned to Britain, where he was created Earl of Gowrie and appointed Deputy Constable and Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor Castle. In 1948 he was elected president of the Marylebone Cricket Club. He died in May 1955 at his home in Gloucestershire.
He was the only Governor-General of Australia to be advised by five different Prime Ministers (Lyons, Page, Menzies, Fadden and Curtin), although two (Page and Fadden) were short-term appointments.
Governor of South Australia 1928 - 1934
Governor of New South Wales 1935 - 1936
Governor-General of Australia1936 - 1945
Abridged from the sources below
MORE DETAILED INFORMATION
Australian Dictionary of Biography Author: Deirdre Morris, Chris Cunneen