Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stanley Bruce

When I think of the name Bruce I think of Jaws. The film crew had named the fake shark Bruce...or something like that.

I have no idea who Stanley Bruce is.

What else is new?

Let me go talk to Lord Wiki and find out....

Stanley Bruce was a Prime Minister.

I was totally NOT expecting that.

He was the eighth Prime Minister of Australia.

Like everyone else I've been writing about in the past few days, he's from Victoria.

Stanley Bruce was born 15 April 1883.

Birthday website time!

Bruce was an Aries like my brother-in-law Judd, and my Grandma Goldie.

In numerology he was a 3.

I'll look at that numerology website I love.

Here's the positive: You have great verbal skills and a talent for self expression. You are a great communicator, you enjoy life and you don't take things too seriously.

That sounds nice. I'm trying to figure out if it reminds me of anyone. I guess maybe it reminds me of my older sister. She's not a 3 though. She's a 5.

For the negative: You are disorganized, irresponsible, moody, emotional and vulnerable. You can be moody and cynical, you lack focus and discipline and you might have difficulties with handling money.

That doesn't remind me of someone I know, but it does remind me of someone I know OF. That's all I can say.

Let's move on.

It seems baby Stanley was born into a wealthy family. Lord Wiki says he was born in a mansion. Was he LITERALLY born in a mansion? Is this a homebirth we're talking about? I don't really know the history of childbirth, but I'm guessing less babies were born in hospitals back then. When did hospital births become so commonplace?

This website says it was around 1940, and this one says it was 1920. So I guess we can conclude that baby Stanley was born at home, and his parents need not be radicals.

Baby Stanley's birth mansion is on Grey Street in St. Kilda.

Lord Wiki says Grey Street is now known for prostitution. Some of the old mansions have been turned into apartment buildings and hostels.

The area used to be affluent. I wonder why it changed.

Stanley Bruce didn't spend much time in that neighborhood though. When he was a baby, his family moved to a new mansion in Toorak. Isn't that where Sunday Reed had her childhood? Maybe they were neighbors.

The Bruce family lived on Kooyong Road. This website has a picture of their mansion. It's pretty big and impressive.

Stanley Bruce's dad was of Scottish ancestry. I wonder what his mom was.

Bruce went to school at Geelong Grammar School, but the campus he was at was then called Glamorgan.

Okay, I'm getting this now. Each campus is for a different age group. Glamorgan was the Toorak campus. Today it's for ages 3 to year 6. I guess though that if you live in Geelong and have young children, you don't have to send them all the way to Melbourne. There's a Geelong campus for that age group as well.

After Geelong Grammar School, Bruce did some time at Melbourne Grammar School. This is the same school that John Brumby and Julian Burnside went to....ah, Barry Humphries too.

It's also the school that Malcolm Fraser didn't love too much. I think.

For University, Bruce abandoned Australia for England. He went to Cambridge.

Lord Wiki says Cambridge has been around since the thirteenth century. Unbelievable! Amazing. It was there before the Black Death.

But don't get too excited. The Aborigines were doing their thing way before Cambridge was even a twinkle in England's eye. Amazing, huh?

Back to Prime Minister #8.

Bruce did law in London, and he also managed the London office of his daddy's importing business.

He fought in World War I with the British Army...kind of like that other guy did. What's his name? I should remember since I wrote about him a couple of days ago....

Okay. I remember. Martin Boyd.

Bruce was hurt badly in France. He won medals. Did he do something extra heroic, or do you get medals for just being hurt?

He took his injuries back to Melbourne. Ron Kovic's Vietnam War injuries transformed him into an anti-war activist. That didn't happen with Stanley Bruce. He stayed involved with the military. He helped with recruitment stuff.

I guess he made some impressive speeches. The Nationalist party liked him. They got him on their side, and then he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Flinders.

I better read about the Nationalist Party.

It was conservative.

If I'm reading this was started by the previous Prime Minister, Billy Hughes. Hughes was originally part of the Labor Party, but he parted ways because he was pro-conscription. If I'm wrong about this, PLEASE correct me.

In 1922, the party lost some power in the elections. The only way they could stay afloat was to have support of the Country Party. The Country Party said we'll be there for you, but you have to get rid of Billy Hughes. Aren't they the same group that said they'd support the Liberal Party as long as William McMahon didn't become Prime Minister?

That Country Party is a bit demanding.

Billy Hughes was out. Oh, do you notice something. Billy Hughes. Billy McMahon. I think the Country Party has a thing against the name Billy.

Stanley Bruce was thirty-nine when he became Prime Minister. That's pretty young. He was younger than America's youngest president. You know who that was? Lord Wiki says it was Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was forty-two. That's how old Tim is. Tim can never be president because he was born in Korea. Jack could be president though. Maybe he'll be America's first partly-Asian leader.

Lord Wiki says Bruce was the first Prime Minister to lead a cabinet made up of people all born in Australia.

He drove a Rolls Royce.

He exploited fears of Communism. I'm not a big fan of people who exploit fears...although I probably do it sometimes.

He had a love for Great Britain, and a desire to keep Australia white.

Bruce has something in common with John Howard (besides perhaps the thing mentioned above). Like Howard, Bruce was a Prime Minister who lost his seat. I actually don't understand what that means. I remember something telling me about it happening to John Howard. I guess maybe it means not only did he lose his job of Prime Minister, but he lost in seat in Parliament as well. Double whammy there.

Bruce was later reelected into Parliament though. Will the same thing happen for John Howard?

Bruce returned in 1931. He left again in 1933. He took on the job of Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Here's something a bit freaky. You know how when you visit a website, the links you've been to lately are colored differently. Well, I went to Lord Wiki's list of High Commissioners and one of the links is highlighted. Gordon Freeth. I don't remember reading about him lately. Why would I? Maybe he was connected to someone I've written about recently.

Oh never mind. I remember. A few days ago I went on a massive name hunt; adding people to my list left and right. I must have landed on his name somehow.

And here I thought something exciting and mystical was happening.

Back to Stanley Bruce. He did the High Commissioner thing for twelve years. During this time he was involved with something called the Edward VIII abdication crisis. Basically the king wanted to marry an American woman who had already been divorced twice.

Holy shit. This is SO romantic. This king gave up his throne to marry this woman. How sweet is that? They were married for thirty-five years; together until the former king died. Why have I not heard this story before?

If I'm reading this right, Stanley Bruce was against the marriage.

I don't think I like this guy that much. He was too pro-monarchy and pro-white for my taste.

Reading further though....I see Edward had a negative side as well. He seemed to be a bit pro-Nazi. Oh well. The same can be said for Walt Disney.

Stanley had a wife, but never had any children.

He died on 25 August 1967. That's five days after my parent's got married. It's a little over a month after Tim was born.

I'm done with Lord Wiki.

Where should I look next?

I'll do the Australian Dictionary of Biography. There's a picture of Stanley Bruce here. He looks a lot like John Cusack.

Bruce was the youngest of five children.

Let's go back in time a bit. The website has a link to information about Bruce's daddy. This website says he was born in Ireland. Lord Wiki says he was Scottish. He did go to school in Scotland though. Lord Wiki might not be wrong. What he said was that Daddy Bruce had Scottish ancestry. That still could be true. He could be a mixture of Scottish and Irish.

I'm not going to go too much into this guy's life. Basically he was a successful businessman. He helped start the Melbourne Golf Club.

He died of Diabetes in 1901. That means Stanley Bruce lost his father when he was about eighteen. Back in those days, there was no insulin treatment for diabetes. It was treated with diet, and I'm sure that didn't always work well enough.

As a child, Stanley Bruce spent time with his family in England.

He started going to the Toorak school (remember, now part of Geelong Grammar School) in 1891. That would make him about eight-years-old. So I guess he spent his early childhood years in England, and then returned to Australia.

The family had some financial problems...a bit of a downfall. Ah, there's a bunch of financial stuff I don't understand. I'm not even going to try to do it. Sorry. Let's just say they had to move from the Toorak home. This website says that the relocation was temporary though.

In Cambridge, Bruce was part of the rowing team. I bet he had nice arms.

At school he had the nickname Bruggins. I think that has something to do with rowing.

Crap. There's so much business stuff here. I'm ignoring it. I really don't have much interest in any of this.

I'll skip to the stuff that interests me.

Marriage. Here we go. He married Ethal Dunlop in 1913. It seems they had a nice marriage. This website says Ethal was Stanley's main confidant. I think that IS very important in a marriage. I don't think a spouse needs to be THE main confidant, but they should be up there somewhere in the top. I mean if things are going well, I think that's how it will be. When things are going bad you tend to tell more to other people. Yes, I know this from experience.

Stanley Bruce and his wife also shared a lot of hobbies together. And they traveled together.

It seems like they had a great marriage.

It reminds me of my parent's marriage. They do a LOT together.

Bruce's war injury was in his knee. Ouch.

The website says that in politics Bruce fostered a mythical of a businessman who frowns down on party politics. There was the idea that he stumbled into politics. The website says this wasn't really true.

Most of this stuff is boring to me. I'm kind of just skimming through.

The website says Bruce was often seen as acting more British than Australian. He reminds me a lot of Martin Boyd.

He must have had love for Australia though because he requested that his ashes be spread around Canberra.

I think I'm going to read one more website, and then quit.

Here's the Australian government Prime Minister site.

They say it was his position on industrial relations that brought him down. The previous website probably talked a lot about that. I just don't have the patience.

As for the financial difficulties of his childhood, the website says that lasted about four years. Then his father fixed things up a bit.

His dad died when Bruce had finished school. He worked for the family business for awhile. Then he, his mother, and and his sister all moved to England. What happened to the other siblings?

Ethal, the wife, was from Melbourne. I wasn't sure actually whether she had been from England or Australia.

The lovely couple lived in London though. Then later they moved to Melbourne so Bruce could take over the family business.

Their marriage lasted for fifty-four years. It ended in death.

I'm reading about Canberra's history now; it's connection to Bruce. Well, he did ask to be cremated there.

Anyway, it seems Bruce was the first Prime Minister to live at the Lodge. He's also be the first Prime Minister to lead from Canberra. Before that, it all happened in Melbourne.

So, now I can understand why Canberra had significance for Bruce. There's a suburb there named after him. Canberra's stadium is there.

Anyway, Jack wants to eat breakfast. I better go feed my child. Besides all the business and financial stuff, I liked doing this post. I like the Australia history stuff.


  1. Interesting one Dina. His wife Ethel Dunlop was probably from the famous car tyre/rubber family, Dunlop. His father would have been Scottish. Irish immigrants were mostly catholic and extremely unlikely that someone with such a background would be accepted into society or start a prestigious golf club. Grey Street St Kilda is still known for prostitution. I can't confirm about Billy Hughes but it sounds about right.

  2. Andrew,

    Maybe he was Scottish, but spent time in Ireland? I don't know.

    What did I say about Billy Hughes...I forgot.