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Godfrey Nairne Geary (1840–1897)

It is with extreme regret that we have to announce the painful intelligence of the death of Major Godfrey N. B. [Nairne Benjamin] Geary, for many years past a central figure in this district. The collapse came with almost startling suddenness. From the time that he joined Millaquin, last crushing season, his health began to gradually wane. Nothing serious at first, till at the close of the winter the effects of a severe cold prostrated him for a few weeks, and appeared to permanently impair the system; for, although about town, he was much pulled down and never quite looked himself. Four weeks ago, he had again to confine himself to the house. Under Dr. May's treatment, with good nursing, he seemed to be making gradual headway against his ailments, and no immediate danger was looked for. Last evening, however, after being on the verandah until 9.30 o'clock, he was helped by his wife to an arm-chair in his bedroom. Almost immediately afterwards he quietly slipped, without pain or complaint, into a condition of unconsciousness and half-an-hour afterwards expired—cerebral hemorrhage being the immediate cause of death.

"The Major," as he was generally known amongst his large circle of friends, was born in Sydney at the end of the thirties—1839 it is believed is the exact year—being the only son of Captain Geary, an officer in service under the Crown. Educated in his earlier life, in that city, he was, we are informed, sent home to England, where he entered Woolwich as a cadet. Having successfully passed through a course of instruction, after being gazetted as a subaltern in the Artillery, he came out with his battery to the colonies again, and was stationed in Brisbane. From thence, with one exception, his life was spent in Queensland, where he took a prominent part in the military affairs of the colony until placed on the retired list, after acting for some considerable time as aide-de-camp to both Sir George Bowen and Sir Maurice O'Connell. When he left the Army, he went down to Victoria, and under Mr. Campbell, a leading surveyor, qualified for coastal, as well as trigonometrical survey work. A few years of this saw him back again in Brisbane, joining the Lands Department upon arrival. For about ten years he remained in the head office as draughtsman, and when, at the beginning of 1877, a separate office of Land Commissioner was created in Bundaberg, he received the appointment. He held this until 1888, in that year leaving the government service and establishing himself in town, as a commission and land agent.

This he carried on continuously until last crushing season, when he accepted the postion of juice inspector at Millaquin. Of a warm, though somewhat reserved nature, and over ready to do a good turn, or help a friend out of difficulties, the Major was universally popular, and seldom a man leaves fewer enemies behind him. From his earliest days he acquired a great liking for acquatic sports. Not only one of the best oarsmen of his time in Brisbane, and a skilful yachtsman, possessing a thorough knowledge of handling a boat, he was besides a first-class sporting writer; this paper, as well as its readers, being indebted to him for many a racy account of sailing cruises, races, &c., contributed under the nom de plume of "Main Brace." As a society man for a wedding, ball or any other social function, he had scarcely an equal, both in Brisbane and Bundaberg; no such event being looked upon as a success unless his was the hand directing it. About eight years ago he married Miss Gotham, daughter of Mr. Gotham, chemist, of Gympe, and he leaves her, without family, to mourn her loss. The other relatives surviving him are three sisters — Mrs. Faithful, relict of Dr. Faithful, of Sydney; Mrs. Morearty, wife of the chief engineer of the Harbors and Rivers Department, also of Sydney; Mrs. O'Connell, wife of a brother of the member for Musgrave and Mrs. Dr. Thomas his niece.

His remains will be convoyed under escort of the masons, and if possible a detachment of the local Mounted Infantry, under Lieut. Lachlan Walker, to their final resting place in the Cemetery this afternoon.

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'Geary, Godfrey Nairne (1840–1897)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

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