MARCHANT, George (1857-1941)


MARCHANT, George (1857-1941)
philanthropist
was born at Brasted, Kent, England, on 17 November 1857. His father was a builder and hotelkeeper, and while quite a boy Marchant became interested in the temperance question. He came to Brisbane when he was 16 with only a few shillings in his pocket, and began to work as a gardener for ten shillings a week and his keep. He was afterwards a station-hand in the country, but returned to Brisbane and obtained work as a carter for an aerated-waters factory. He acquired a small business of this kind in 1886, and opened a factory in Bower-street, Brisbane, in 1888, which grew into the largest business of its kind in Australia with other factories at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Newcastle. While a young man Marchant invented and patented a bottling machine afterwards used all over the world. He married Mary Jane Dwyer, and with her spent much money in discriminating charity, of which little was known until he made his gift of £41,000 for the building of the Canberra hotel for the temperance organizations. Other important benefactions were the Montrose Crippled Children's Home; the Kingshome Home for Soldiers; the Garden Home for the Aged, Chermside; the City Mission Home, Palm Beach; The Paddington Creche and Kindergarten; Swedenborgian Churches in Australia, England and U.S.A.; and the Home for Crippled Children, Boston, U.S.A. He also gave the land for Marchant Park at Kedron, a suburb of Brisbane. He died On 5 September 1941. His wife died in 1925, and they had no children.
Marchant was a religious, kind, and sympathetic man, who believed that all religions should be related to life. Under his will various bequests were made to relatives, friends and institutions. The largest was £16,500 to the Queensland Society for Crippled Children, which will also receive the residue of his estate.
The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 6 and 7 September 1941; The Telegraph, Brisbane, 5 September 1941.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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