George Reid

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by Miadiz
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
Politicians and Presidents

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George Reid

General statementGeorge Reid was Prime Minister from 18th August 1904–5th July 1905. He was the opposition leader for the six of the first seven years of Australian parliament.

Early LifeGeorge Houston Reid was born on the 25th February 1845 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He was one of seven children and was brought to Australia at seven years. Reid was educated at the Melbourne Academy from 1852-1857 and his employment was a public servant and barrister. At 13 George was an Office boy of a Sydney Merchant and at 19 got a job in the Colonial Treasury. He helped part time to get his promotion to the Attorney General then to the barrister in 1878. Reid believed in free trade and wanted exports and imports to be free. Free traders loved, cheered and clapped his speeches and soon elected him to the Colonial Parliament in 1880. In 1891 he became leader of the Free Trade Party, then premier of NSW.

Years as Prime MinisterReid was elected in 1901, 1903 and 1906. He was the 4th Prime Minister of Australia. In 1901 Reid was elected to the new federal parliament. As leader of the Free Trade Party he used his position to defeat Watson’s government then Reid became Prime Minister. While George Reid was Prime Minister he greatly improved the number of high schools, technical schools and adult education. His party didn’t have much support so the government wasn’t effective. In 1904 he joined forces with a group of protectionists to surprise Watson and to throw off Deakin. Little did he know the Deakin was scheming to get rid of Reid. He used Labour support to throw him out and from that day he lost interest in politics. He held office for less than a year.

George Reid

Later LifeGeorge Reid was married Dame Florence (Flora) Reid to on the 5th of November 1891 in Wangaratta, Victoria. He was 48 when he had his first child Thelma (1893) then Douglas (1895) then Clive (1899). Reid retired in 1908 and Andrew Fisher replaced him in 1916. However the Liberal Party allowed him a safe seat and he kept it until death. He was High Commissioner to the UK (22 January 1910-21 January 1916). George Reid died at the age of 73 on the 12th September 1918 in London. He was buried at the Putney Vale Cemetery in London. George Reid was one of the most interesting Australian Prime Ministers.

Three Major Achievements *He made exports and imports free*The only Australian to ever have sat in the colonial federal, British parliaments and Westminister Parliament. *In 1969 his portrait was on a postage stamp.

Interesting Facts He was a federation father and the only free trade P.M. He was remembered more for his quirks than his roles in parliament. Reid earned his nickname Yes-No because he couldn’t make up his mind about federation. He had the first Australian P.M funeral in 1918. On the 24th May 1905 there was a public celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday after her 64 year reign in 1901. Following this Reid made Empire Day national event in Australia and it remained a public holiday until 1958. Cartoonists love to draw George Reid, Deakin said that “his immense unwieldly jelly-like stomach is always threatening to break his waistband; his little legs are bowed beneath his weight and his thick neck rising behind his ears rounding to his quadruple chin.”

George Ried


George Reid



why do cartoonist love to draw me?

I was elected in 1901, 1903 and 1906


I think I look pretty good on a stamp


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