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Jenkins, Sir George Henry (1843–1911)

Great regret was felt at the announcement of the death of Sir George Jenkins, which occurred at Colombo on July 18. Few men have been known in official and private circle in Victoria for such a long period as Sir George Jenkins. Scarcely anyone in the present generation has attended a Parliamentary demonstration in which he was not a leading figure. He was born at Abergavenny, Wales, and came to Victoria with his father. He was one of the first pupils at the Church of England Grammar School, and was second president of the Old Melburnian Association. His career as a public servant began in 1861, when be joined the Railways department as a clerk. Four years later he was transferred to the Parliamentary staff as private secretary to the Speaker (the late Sir Francis Murphy) and as secretary for private bills. In 1870 he became clerk of committees; and in 1878, on the retirement of Mr. Dumaresq, was appointed clerk assistant. He remained in that position for nine years, at the end of which period he succeeded Mr. John Barker as clerk, Mr. Barker having been appointed clerk of the Legislative Council and clerk of the Parliaments. When, in turn, Mr. Barker retired from that office. Sir George Jenkins was appointed to it. When federation was established. and arrangements were being made to open the first Commonwealth Parliament, Sir George Jenkins was invited to take control of the official celebrations. At the same time he accepted the position of first clerk of the House of Representatives. He occupied that position during the opening sittings; but later on when the remuneration of the office came to be fixed, Sir George Jenkins found that the salary was below that which he had enjoyed in his former office. To have accepted the terms would have involved a pecuniary loss, as well as a reduction in pension, and in the circumstances Sir George Jenkins requested to be allowed to return to his former position. This was agreed to, and he remained clerk of the Legislative Council till last year. When he retired the Council placed upon record a resolution in recognition of his long and invaluable services. His services during the visit of the present King and Queen, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Commonwealth, were very much appreciated, and the credit which he won on that occasion, marking as it did a culminating incident in a long and useful career, gained for him the distinction of knighthood, which was conferred in 1904. Lady Jenkins is a sister of Messrs. R. G and Harold Kent, both of whom had long careers in the Railway department. Mr. Arthur Jenkins, the only son of Sir George and Lady Jenkins, is a member of the Legislative Council of Western Australia. The eldest daughter is Mrs. Waldeck, who lives in Colombo, and the second daughter is Miss Ida Jenkins. Mr. Brian Jenkins, well known in commercial circles in Melbourne, is a brother.

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'Jenkins, Sir George Henry (1843–1911)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/jenkins-sir-george-henry-28235/text37642, accessed 14 August 2020.

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