Honorary awards

John Lawrence Baird, Viscount Stonehaven

The degree of Doctor of Laws* was conferred ad eundem gradum upon the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Stonehaven, by the Chancellor Sir William Cullen at a conerring of degrees ceremony held at 2.45pm on Saturday 3 May 1930.

* As there was no provision in the University Act until 1952 for conferring of honorary degrees by the University of Sydney, the University awarded a number of degrees 'ad eundem gradum' - mostly Doctor of Laws - as a mark of special honour. Those who received this award included members of the Royal Family, Governors-General, distinguished soldiers and leaders of industry.

Lord Stonehaven

Lord Stonehaven inspecting the Sydney University Regiment guard of honour before the conferring of degrees ceremony, photo, The North Western Courier, National Library of Australia.

Lord Stonehaven

Lord Stonehaven with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Wallace, photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 1930, National Library of Australia.

Lord Stonehaven

Lord Stonehaven (second from left), the Chancellor Sir William Cullen and the Esquire Bedell Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Massie DSO moving to the Great Hall for the ceremony, photo from 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 5 May 1930, National Library of Australia.


Prior to the ceremony the Governor-General inspected a military guard, which was drawn up at the entrance to the Great Hall.They stood with fixed bayonets, and a pipe band played while His Excellency passed through the ranks. Earlier the carillon played - its music was taken up in the hall by the organ, which a moment before the commencement of the ceremony played "God Save the King'.

At the commencement of the ceremony, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Sir John Peden said, ''There have been five occasions since the establishment of the Commonwealth on which the Senate has seen fit to direct that the degree of Doctor of Laws should be conferred as a mark of special honour. To-day the University wishes to honour His Excellency. It wishes to pay tribute to the service which he has rendered as his Majesty's representative in the Commonwealth, and to give a token of its high appreciation of his deep interest in the work and welfare of all the universities of Australia".

Sir John Peden then presented His Excellency to the Chancellor, who admitted him to the degree.

Replying, Lord Stonehaven said that the Senate had done him a great honour, which he appreciated all the more because he believed they wished to do honour to his office They had not only given him the distinction of being a Doctor of Laws, but had admitted a representative of the Throne to the inner circle of one of Australia's great institutions.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 1930