Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey

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Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey : biography

11 February 1836 – 23 February 1918

Sailing activities

Between 6 July 1876 and 27 May 1877 Brassey circumnavigated the world in his steam-assisted three-masted topsail-yard schooner Sunbeam. This voyage is said to have been the first circumnavigation by a private yacht. His son Thomas left the Sunbeam at Rio de Janeiro in order to return to school in England. His wife Annie, Lady Brassey (1839–1887), published an account of the cruise entitled In The Trades, The Tropics, & The Roaring Forties, or alternatively A Voyage In The Sunbeam: Our Home On The Ocean For Eleven Months. In 1880 Brassey’s book The British Navy was published. In 1886, he started The Naval Annual, generally referred to as Brassey’s Naval Annual. He edited The Naval Annual until 1891. He was succeeded as editor by his son Thomas.

At the age of 79 Brassey sailed his yacht Sunbeam to Mudros Bay in order to support the troops as a hospital ship during the ill fated Gallipoli Campaign.

File:Steam Yacht Sunbeam.jpg|Sunbeam under full sail

Governor of Victoria

From 1895 to 1900 he was Governor of Victoria, a colony in Australia, and lived in its capital, Melbourne, in Government House. Brassey is remembered in Australia’s national capital, Canberra, with Brassey House, now a hotel (originally a guest house) in the inner suburb of Barton, Australian Capital Territory completed in 1927 to coincide with the relocation of the Federal Parliament from Melbourne, Victoria, to Canberra. Brassey House originally offered 45 rooms with shared bathing facilities, for the exclusive use of members of parliament and mid-level government officials relocating to Canberra. During the mid 1960s the government of the day expanded the capacity to 131 rooms and added conference and meeting rooms. It was sold in the mid-1980s to local businessmen and has been operated since as a residential hotel, now with 75 rooms including ensuites. It is said to have been built back-to-front, with the more ornate façade facing Belmore Gardens and its plainer face to Macquarie Street., Brassey House, accessed 9 March 2011