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George Oakes (1813–1881)

We regret to have to chronicle the fact that the Hon. George Oakes, M.L.C., one of the best known and most respected of our colonists, met with an accident last evening, on the Elizabeth-street tramway, which terminated in his death. The hon. gentleman had been attending to his Parliamentary duties, and left the Legislative Council Chamber about 6 o'clock, intending to take a tram to Redfern, and thence proceed by train to Parramatta. After he arrived at the tramway office in Elizabeth-street a tram from Waverley passed in the direction of Hunter-street. This tram was followed at a short distance by another which had also arrived from Waverley. Both trams had stopped at the comer of Elizabeth and King streets to allow passengers to alight, and then continued their journey. Mr Oakes seems to have been unaware of the fact that two trams were so close to the terminus. When the first had passed the office he stepped on to the up-line and looked towards Hunter street in order to see whether the Redfern tram was approaching. As a matter of fact such tram had started, and had got as far as Wentworth Court. Immediately Mr Oakes stepped between the rails, the second tram from Waverley, which it was stated was travelling at the rate of about two miles an hour, came upon him. The people who were standing about shouted to him, and the fireman of the motor pushed him off the line. Mr Oakes fell with great force upon the asphalte road and fractured the base of his skull. There was considerable hemorrage from the wound. It would seem that when the fireman pushed Mr Oakes off the line, one of the feet of the latter tripped, for, after he was picked up, it was found that the heel of one of his boots had been crushed, and the boot stripped from the foot. This is supposed to have been occasioned by the near forewheel of the motor coming in contact with the foot, which must at the time have been fixed in the groove of one of the rails. Mr Oakes was picked up by the conductor of the second Waverley tram and was sensible for a short time, during which he requested the conductor to put his boot on. A stretcher was obtained and the unfortunate gentleman was removed to the Infirmary, where he was admitted by Dr Baly. Mr Oakes was then quite unconscious, blood was flowing from his left ear, and he was breathing stertorously. It was at once seen that he would not have very long. The sufferer was removed to a ward, where he was attended by Drs Williamson, Moffit, and Baly, the resident medical officers, and Drs Morgan and Tarrant, honorary medical officers of the institution. Mr Oakes gradually got weaker, and death took place at a few minutes to 8 o'clock. Deceased was a son of the late Mr Francis Oakes. He was a native of Parramatta and an old colonist, being at the time of his death sixty-seven years of age. He was a large landed proprietor, and was extensively associated with pastoral pursuits. He entered upon political life in August, 1848, upon which occasion he was elected a representative of Parramatta in the old Council. On the 29th of March, 1856, he was returned to the Legislative Assembly for the same constituency, and remained a member of the first Parliament until it was dissolved in the following year. He was re-elected in June, 1858, and remained in the second Parliament until that was dissolved and he also held a seat in the Assembly during the third Parliament. Later on he was returned a representative of East Sydney, in the room of Mr. Saul Samuel, who went into the Council to represent the Government, and he remained a member of the seventh Parliament until it ceased to exist. In 1861, during the agitation on the Land Bill, he was appointed to the Legislative Council, but did not sit there then, the President refusing to cause him and several other nominees to be sworn in because the Government had not consulted him in reference to their nominations. In October, 1879, however, shortly after returning from Europe, he was nominated for the Council by Sir Henry Parkes, and sat there until his death. He came from Parramatta yesterday in company with Mr. Fitzpatrick, M.L.A., and after engaging in some business in the city, lunched at his club. In the afternoon he proceeded to the Council to hear Mr. W. B. Dalley's address against the passing of the Chinese Restriction Bill. He left the Chamber when that gentleman had finished speaking, which was about 6 o'clock, and, as already stated, he met with his death while endeavouring to return home. Mr. Oakes, for some time prior to his death, was a widower. He has left a son behind him – Dr. Oakes of this city.

Original publication

Citation details

'Oakes, George (1813–1881)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

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