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Thorn, George (1838–1905)

from Queenslander

The Hon. George Thorn, who has been ill for some time, died suddenly on Sunday from heart failure. The deceased gentleman was at one time a prominent figure in Queensland politics, and last sat in Parliament as member for Fassifern. He was a son of the late Mr. George Thorn, of Ipswich, and was born in Sydney in 1838. Educated at the King's School, Parramatta, he passed on to the Sydney University, where he graduated B.A. in 1858. After that he engaged in pastoral pursuits, and his bluff heartiness made him many friends. In 1867 he was elected to represent West Moreton in the Legislative Assembly, and he represented that constituency until 1873, when a redistribution of seats took place, and Fassifern became an electorate. He was returned as its member, and on 9th January, 1874, he joined Hon. A. Macalister's Government as Postmaster-General, with a seat in the Upper House. When in June, 1876, Mr. Macalister resigned, in order to take the position of Agent-General in London, Mr. Thorn succeeded him in the Premiership, holding also the office of Secretary for Public Works and Mines. His Cabinet consisted of the late Hon. J. Douglas (Secretary for Public Lands). Mr. S. W. (now Sir S. W.) Griffith, Attorney-General and Secretary for Public Instruction), Mr. J. R. (afterwards Sir James R.) Dickson (Colonial Treasurer), Mr. R. M. Stewart (Colonial Secretary), and the late C. S. (afterwards Mr. Justice) Mein (Postmaster-General). The leadership remained in Mr. Thorn's hands from 6th June, 1876, to 8th March, 1877, when his administration merged into one formed by the late Hon. John Douglas. In that Government he acted successively as Secretary for Public Works and Mines and Secretary for Public Lands and Mines, holding the latter portfolio until 6th February, 1878, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Sir James Garrick. On his resignation he paid a visit to Europe, but on his return to the colony in 1879 he re-entered Parliament as member for the Northern Downs. He held that seat until the dissolution of Parliament in 1883, and was then an unsuccessful candidate. After some years of absence from politics he was again elected for Fassifern, and continued to represent that constituency until he was replaced by the late Mr. T. De M. Murray-Prior at the general elections in 1902. Of late years Mr. Thorn suffered a good deal with ill health, but until a comparatively recent period he was often seen in Brisbane. He resided at Ipswich and it was here that he died.

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'Thorn, George (1838–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/thorn-george-4942/text25111, accessed 16 July 2019.

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