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Greene, George Henry (1838–1911)

George Greene, n.d.

George Greene, n.d.

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 January 1912

The death occurred last month of Mr. George Henry Greene, of the famous Iandra Estate, in the Grenfell district of New South Wales. Though ailing for a short time previous, the news of Mr. Greene's death came as a shock to a very wide circle of people, for the deceased was one of the most highly-esteemed pastoralists of Australia, as well as being one of the most energetic.

Mr. G. H. Greene was born at Collon House, County Louth, Ireland, being the son of Lieut. William Pomeroy Greene, of the Royal Navy, and the coming of his family to Australia is particularly interesting. His father, acting on medical advice, selected Australia as the most suitable country for his health, and taking with him the late Sir William Stawell, late Chief Justice of Victoria, and Mr. Walker, father of Miss Edith Walker, he chartered a ship, and brought out, besides those mentioned, his whole family, including Mr. G. H. Greene, then aged four years, his butler, grooms, cow herd, gardener and family, man cook and family, laundress, housemaids, nurse, and governess. He also brought out two racehorses, his hunters, two bulls, and a cow. Besides this, he had his whole library and a house, packed in sections, which he had had built in London.

On 1st December, 1842, he arrived in Port Phillip, and the house was erected at Woodlands, near Melbourne, where Mr. G. H. Greene spent his youth, and where his father died.

Mr. G. H. Greene was educated in Melbourne, and was one of the first to graduate at the Melbourne University, where he made a name as an athlete. After leaving the University he became interested in various properties, among others, the Billabong Station. Later on he moved to New South Wales, and, with his cousin, Mr. McCartney, and Mr. Kinleside, bought the Tooma Estate, on the Upper Murray. In 1870 he married Miss Crawford, second daughter of the late Colonel Crawford, an old Indian officer. A few years later he sold his share in Tooma, and returned to the Old Country, where he remained for same little time.

On his return to Australia he bought Iandra, in the Grenfell district, New South Wales, against the advice of all his friends. Iandra was then a densely-timbered tract of country, where a sheep would starve on four or five acres, and Mr. Greene, once more against the advice of his friends, soon conceived the idea of growing wheat. The result was that in a few years the forest had disappeared with the exception of clumps and belts of trees left for shade and ornamentation, and that its place had been taken by thousands of acres of cornfields, and where there had been practically no population a body of prosperous farmers had arisen. Mr. Greene's example was soon followed, and now the districts surrounding the neighbouring towns of Grenfell, Cowra, and Young are amongst the most wealthy and populous in Australia. Mr. Greene was the father of the "share system," by which many men, sterling farmers, but without capital, have been enabled to put their feet on the first rung of the ladder of fortune.

In the eighties Mr. Greene began to take part in politics, and thrice headed the poll for the old Grenfell constituency. In 1899 he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council, and, though of late years he had not taken such an active part in politics, he was a familiar figure in the Upper Chamber.

In private life Mr. Greene was of a quiet and retiring disposition, hating self-advertisement and ostentation of every description. He was most generous towards every deserving movement, but would never give anything publicly, and, though he gave away hundreds annually, the general public never heard of it.

Original publication

Citation details

'Greene, George Henry (1838–1911)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/greene-george-henry-441/text442, accessed 24 August 2017.

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George Greene, n.d.

George Greene, n.d.

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 January 1912