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Sir George James Coles (1885–1977)

Sir George James Coles, founder of G. J. Coles and Co Ltd, died at his home in Melbourne on Sunday, aged 92.

Sir George, born at Jung, in western Victoria, was educated at a number of State schools and Beechworth College before becoming one of Australia's most successful businessmen.

With his brothers Jim, David and Arthur, Sir George served with the AIF in World War I. Jim and David were killed in France.

When Sir George started his first "3d, 6d, and 1/-" variety store in Collingwood in 1914, he had eight employees. When he retired 62 years later, his company was the largest retail group in Australia, employing more than 36,000.

Sir George, who was knighted in 1957, was vice chairman of the National Bank of Australasia Ltd and president of the Alfred Hospital.

He was cremated after a private servicc at St John's Church, Toorak, yesterday. He leaves a widow, a son and three daughters.

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'Coles, Sir George James (1885–1977)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

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