STIRLING, Sir John Lancelot (1849-1932)


STIRLING, Sir John Lancelot (1849-1932)
politician
son of Edward Stirling, and brother of Sir Edward Charles Stirling (q.v.), was born at Strathalbyn, South Australia, on 5 November 1849. He was educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and LL.B. He was a good athlete and, representing Cambridge against Oxford, won the 120 yards hurdles. He also won the amateur championship of England in this event in 1870 and 1872, his time in the latter year being 16 4/5ths seconds, considered a good performance at that time. Stirling read for the bar and was admitted at the Inner Temple in 1872, but never practised. He returned to South Australia soon afterwards, became a pastoralist, and bred prize horses and merino sheep. He entered the South Australian house of assembly in 1881 for Mount Barker, and afterwards represented Gumeracha until 1890, when he became a member of the legislative council. He was chief secretary in the Solomon cabinet in December 1899 but this ministry was defeated directly the house met. Stirling was elected president of the legislative council, and continued hold that position until his death on 24 May 1932. He married in 1883 Florence Marion, daughter of Sir William Milne (q.v.) and was survived by three sons and two daughters. He was knighted in 1902, created K.C.M.G. in 1909 and O.B.E. in 1918. He continued his interest in sport all his life, pioneering polo in South Australia and captaining the team which twice beat Victoria. For a time he was master of the Adelaide Hounds and was a well-known figure at racing meetings. He was president of the Royal Agricultural Society for seven years, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Pastoralists' Association, the St Peter's Old Collegians Association, the Caledonian Society, the South Australian Zoological and Acclimitization Society, and was a member of the Adelaide university council.
Stirling was a sound man of business and was a director of well-known companies. In politics he was respected as a man of individuality but was not a first-rate speaker. He found his ideal position as president of the council, carrying out his duties admirably, and as the years passed becoming a kind of elder brother to the newer members. His record of 51 years in parliament has not been exceeded in Australia.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 25 May 1932; Who's Who, 1932; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1931.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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