1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Reid, Sir George Houstoun

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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
Reid, Sir George Houstoun
See also George Reid (Australian politician) on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

REID, SIR GEORGE HOUSTOUN (1845-1918), Australian statesman, was born at Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Feb. 25 1845. His father, a Presbyterian minister, emigrated to Australia seven years later, and the boy was therefore Australian by education though not by birth. At the age of 13 he became a junior clerk in a business house in Sydney, but later entered the N.S.W. civil service and began to read for the bar, being finally called in 1879. Politics attracted him more than law, and in 1880 he was elected member for E. Sydney, together with Sir Henry Parkes but above him in the poll. He stood as a free trader, a policy to which he adhered throughout his political career, and with one short break (1884-5) he represented E. Sydney in the N.S.W. Legislature until 1901 when he was elected its representative in the Federal Parliament. He first held office in N.S.W. for a brief period in 1883-4 as Minister of Public Instruction. In 1894 he became its Premier and during his term of office (1894-9) introduced reforms into the civil service and represented the Colony at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. He did much to promote Federation and from 1901-9 led the free-trade party in the Federal Parliament, becoming Premier for a short period (1904-5) but being for the most part leader of the Opposition. When the Act to constitute an Australian High Commissionership was passed in 1909 Sir George Reid became the first High Commissioner and was created K.C.M.G. He represented his country in London in genial fashion until 1916, and at the end of his term of office stood for the British House of Commons and was elected for the St. George's Hanover Square division of London Jan. 1916. He was created G.C.M.G. in 1911 and G.C.B. in 1916. He published My Reminiscences (1917), as well as Five Free Trade Essays (1875), and other economic papers. He died suddenly in London, Sept. 12 1918.