Linlithgow & John Hope | The first Governor General of Australia

Standing in the garden of Burgh Halls is a beautiful bronze statue that provides an unexpected and fascinating link to Australia and the arrival of Aborignal art in Linlithgow. The man immortalised in precious metal is John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun and 1st Marquess of Linlithgow - the first Governor General of Australia.

Hopetoun, as he was known, was born on 25th September 1860 at Hopetoun House in South Queensferry, just north of Linlithgow. The eldest son of the 6th Earl, he had a privileged upbringing attending Eton and Sandhurst before returning to Scotland to manage the family's 42,000-acre estate around the Firth of Forth.

His political career began in 1883 when he became the Conservative whip in the House of Lords, later serving as Lord in Waiting to Queen Victoria, then Lord High Commissioner to the Church of Scotland. In 1889, he was appointed Governor to the Australian state of Victoria, where he became known for lavish entertaining and ostentatious galas, which was very much the style for colonial governors of the time.