This date in 1908 marked the death of John Hope, Marquess of Linlithgow and first Governor-General of Australia. That post is still active today, and actually denotes the country’s head of state. The post also represents the queen (since British queen Elizabeth II is also the Queen of Australia) and is the commander-in-chief of the Australian armed forces.
The first governor-general, John Adrian Louis Hope, was born in 1860 in South Queensferry, Scotland. He was of high aristocratic origin, being the son of the Earl of Hopetoun. He succeeded his father’s title and estates (over 17,000 hectares) already at the age of 13. In 1901 he also became the Governor-General of Australia, the first to hold that post after the unification of the country (before then Australia’s territory was divided into a series of British colonies).
British queen Victoria, who appointed John Hope as governor-general, died only three weeks after he took up the post. As governor-general, Hope was known for his great ceremonial pomp, which was the source of some controversy. This pomp was actually a tradition copied from the governor-generals of India and Canada, who acted as viceroys. He spent lots of money for representative purposes, especially during the king’s visit to Australia, and even before laws on the expenses of the governor-general had been enacted. This caused problems because the legislative authorities in Australia refused to pay the expenses exceeding Hope’s salary.
Hope was left disappointed because he had spent much of his property for representative purposes. He decided to resign, and was succeeded by Lord Tennyson, the son of the famous British poet. As a sort of compensation, the king gave Hope the title of Marquess of Linlithgow. Hope died from disease in 1908, aged 47. His son, the 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow, became the Viceroy of India in 1936.