Rupert Ryan

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This article is about the Australian politician. For the New Zealand international football (soccer) player, see Rupert Ryan (footballer).
Rupert Ryan
Rupert Ryan.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Flinders
In office
21 September 1940 – 26 August 1952
Preceded by James Fairbairn
Succeeded by Keith Ewert
Personal details
Born (1884-05-06)6 May 1884
Melbourne, Victoria
Died 25 August 1952(1952-08-25) (aged 68)
Nationality Australian
Political party UAP (1940–45)
Liberal (1945–52)
Spouse(s) Lady Rosemary Constance Ferelith
Occupation Soldier, landowner

Rupert Sumner Ryan, CMG DSO (6 May 1884 – 25 August 1952) was an Australian soldier and politician.

Early life[edit]

Ryan was born in Melbourne to surgeon Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan and Alice Elfrida, née Sumner. He was one of two siblings; his sister Ethel Marian "Maie" Sumner would later marry Richard Casey. Ryan attended Geelong Church of England Grammar School 1895-98 before travelling to England to complete his education at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy.

Military service[edit]

In 1904, Ryan was commissioned in the Royal Artillery. At the outset of World War I, he was stationed on the Western Front. At the end of the war (1919) he was a lieutenant colonel, and was awarded three foreign honours and the Distinguished Service Order in 1918, having been wounded in 1915 in the Battle of Festubert.

Ryan was the chief of staff to the governor of Cologne in 1919, and was shifted to the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission headquarters in 1920. He married Lady Rosemary Constance Hay, the daughter of the high commissioner the Earl of Erroll, at the British consulate on 29 May 1924. They had one child, Patrick Vincent Charles Ryan, and divorced in 1935, whereafter he returned to Victoria to Edrington, the property he had inherited near Berwick. He and his sister built the station into a very successful Romney Marsh stud; he also built a landing strip there in 1939.

He was appointed CMG in 1928, and acted as high commissioner following Erroll's death until the end of the occupation. At his retirement from the army in 1929, he became an arms salesman with Vickers Ltd, in which capacity he travelled to Moscow and Bangkok. He resigned in 1934. At the outbreak of World War II, Ryan joined the Australian Military Forces, holding administrative posts until 1940, when he was elected to the Australian House of Representatives for Flinders as a member of the United Australia Party.

Federal politics[edit]

Ryan was not particularly prominent in Parliament, serving on joint committees on social security (1941–46) and foreign affairs (1952), the latter of which he was the chairman. He was described by Enid Lyons as "a doughty champion of women". Ryan remained in Parliament until his sudden death of cardiac failure on 25 August 1952; he was cremated, and survived by his son.


Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
James Fairbairn
Member for Flinders
Succeeded by
Keith Ewert