Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson

Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson was second son of Christopher Rawson.

He was educated at Marlborough College. In 1857, he joined the Royal Navy.

In [Q4] 1871, he married Florence Alice Stewart Shaw [18??-1905] in the Wirral.

Florence Alice was the daughter of John Ralph Shaw of Arrow Park, Cheshire


  1. Alice Evelyn [1872-1938] who died unmarried
  2. Harry Hugh [b 1875] who died at the age of 6 months
  3. Harry Christopher Shaw
  4. Muriel Edith Florence [1881-1882]
  5. Hugh Wyatt Hay

He received several medals for rescuing people from the sea. He had a distinguished naval career and served in China, the Near East, and in Africa. In 1878, he raised the first British flag on Cyprus.

He was an ADC to Queen Victoria.

In 1897, he led the British Force of 1,200 on the Punitive Expedition to Benin, for which Queen Victoria invited him to Osborne House. Like the others who took part in the Expedition, he brought home many of the country's treasures as trophies. These are to be seen at Haugh End House. In 1902, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales. His wife died while he was in office, and her place was filled by their daughter, Alice Evelyn. He proved popular and his term was extended. When he died, he was described as

the most generally and genuinely liked man who ever represented his Sovereign in [New South Wales]

The Rawson Institute in Sydney was established to commemorate his Governorship.

His wife died [3rd December 1905] as her ship, the Ormuz, passed through the Red Sea whilst she was returning to Sydney after a long illness in England.

In 1906, he donated the Rawson Cup, for which the 4 male colleges of the University of Sydney – St Andrew's St John's, St Paul's and Wesley – compete in athletics, basketball, cricket, football, rowing, rugby, swimming, and tennis.

During a visit to England in 1908, he opened All Saints' Day School.

He died in 1910 in London, following an operation for appendicitis, and a naval funeral was held at Bracknell Parish Church, Berkshire.

Geoffrey Rawson wrote a biography of the man

© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 20:38 /8th November 2020 / 4574

Page Ref: WW_28

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