Lady Novar

Lady Novar (Helen Hermione Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood) served as a member of the Standing Commission from October 1930 until October 1934. Before becoming a member of the Standing Commission, she had been tirelessly and effectively working for the Movement for many years.

Lady Novar’s younger years were spent in various countries owing to her father’s distinguished diplomatic and crown appointments. In 1889 she married Ronald Munro Ferguson who was a Member of Parliament. Lady Helen became a member of the Council of the Scottish Branch, British Red Cross Society from 1909 to 1912, and foundation President of the local Red Cross in Fife, being a passionate advocate of Red Cross ideals and principles. In 1914 Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson GCMG was appointed Governor-General of Australia.

When war was declared in August 1914, Lady Helen created a Red Cross Headquarters at Government House in Melbourne, founding Red Cross divisions and branches in each State. She held her position as foundation President of the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross Society until 1920. Lady Helen was regarded as a brilliant leader and an excellent public speaker. On return to the UK in 1920 Sir Ronald was created Viscount Novar and Lady Novar became Viscountess Novar. Intermittently from 1920 to 1932, she served on the Board of Governors of the League of Red Cross Societies, first representing the Australian Branch and from 1927, the Australian Red Cross Society.[1] She was also President of the Kirkcaldy branch of the Queen Victoria Nursing Association, a position she held for over 50 years, as well as being President of the Young Women’s Christian Association for over 25 years. As a strong-willed and independent-thinking woman who wished not only to be known in conjunction with her husband, she preferred in a working capacity to be known as Lady Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood. Viscountess Novar continued her Red Cross service representing the Australian Red Cross on the League of Red Cross Societies’ Board of Governors and at International Conferences of the Red Cross in 1921, 1928 and in 1930 when she was elected to the Standing Commission for one term.

She was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Law (LL.D.) and in 1918 was invested as a Dame Grand Cross, Order of the British Empire (G.B.E.) due to her work for the British Red Cross Society.[2][3] She was the daughter of Fredrik Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, and was married to Lord Novar from 1889 until his death in 1934, a union that was childless. Lady Novar was born on March 14th 1863 in Bangor, Northern Ireland and died on April 9th, 1941 in Scotland as Viscountess Novar.[4]

[1] British Red Cross



[4] Standing Commission