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Jenkins, Sir George Frederick (1878–1957)

A great Australian leader and administrator, with a special interest in the primary industries, passed to his rest on 25th July after a long illness. He was Sir George Frederick Jenkins, whose distinguished career as a Minister of State in South Australia extended over 30 years and will long be remembered for the sound, practical achievements recorded in that period.

A son of the land, Sir George was born at Terowie, South Australia and educated at the Terowie public school before going on to Roseworthy Agricultural College. He then returned to the family property, Neathvale, but later branched out on his own and purchased a block at Whyte-Yarcowie. He took a keen interest in the local branch of the Agricultural Bureau, serving as both secretary and president, and devoted some time to debating and literary society work. This led him into politics, and in 1918 he became one of the three members representing the district of Burra. He held this seat from 1918 to 1924, from 1927 to 1930, and from 1933 to 1938. Then, with redistribution in 1938, he was elected to the new seat of Newcastle and held this until his retirement in 1954.

From 1922 onwards Sir George held many Cabinet posts. In 1922-23 he was Minister for Agriculture, as well as Commissioner of Public Works, Minister of Local Government, and Minister of Marine. From 1927 to 1930 he was Minister of Local Government and Commissioner of Crown Lands, and from 1944 to 1954 was Minister for Agriculture and Forests.

When out of parliament during the early 1930's Sir George Jenkins devoted much of his time to pastoral industry organisations. He was president of the Stockowners' Association of South Australia in 1931 and 1932, and president of the Graziers' Federal Council of Australia in 1932-33. Later, his sound knowledge of the pastoral industries resulting from his work with these organisations was of great assistance to the South Australian Government in formulating its policies, especially in the postwar period.

Sir George Jenkins, who was aged 79, leaves a widow, two sons, and two daughters. A third son was killed in World War II.

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'Jenkins, Sir George Frederick (1878–1957)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/jenkins-sir-george-frederick-529/text530, accessed 23 April 2019.

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