Letter (written in code) from Lord Lamington to Lord Roberts, Bloemfontein, South Africa, regarding Queensland contingents arriving in Capetown for the Boer War

A minor British aristocrat who was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Charles Wallace Lamington served as Private Secretary to Lord Salisbury before entering the House of Commons in 1889 as the conservative Member for North St Pancras. The death of his father, Baron Alexander Baillie-Cochrane, the following year saw Lamington take his place in the House of Lords. In 1895 he was chosen to succeed Sir Henry Norman as Governor of Queensland, and arrived in Brisbane in April 1896. Lamington remained in Queensland until December 1901, and during his term as Governor he proved to be somewhat of a paradox. On one hand, as an ultra-conservative, Lamington was appalled by the rise of Labor and its socialist platform; on the other, Lamington found the poor treatment of Aboriginal and Melanesian peoples in Queensland equally abhorrent. He also provided financial support for many charitable causes, including the Maryborough General Hospital which he visited in 1900 during the course of one of his many journeys around the colony. In 1897 Governor Lamington participated in R.M. Collins’s expedition to the McPherson Ranges as part of the latter’s campaign to have the plateau declared a national park: it was later named in Lamington’s honour. It has also been claimed that Lamington’s name is commemorated by a sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut, which is Queensland’s only acknowledged contribution to Australian cuisine.


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