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George Franklin Garton (1846–1923)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

George Franklin Garton (junior) (1846-1923) painter and decorator, shopkeeper, trade union official and political activist

Birth: 1846 at Gundagai, New South Wales, son of John Garton (1812-1881) and Eliza, née Morris (b.1820). Both parents had been born at Manchester, Lancashire, England. Marriages (1) 1871 at Sydney, NSW, to Mary Ann Wybrow (or Adams) (1828?-1885), born at Harrow, Middlesex, England. They had at least one daughter. (2) 6 July 1891 at Bowral, to Emily Balmer (1844-1915). Death: 15 October 1923 at Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria. 

  • His parents and his uncle and aunt had arrived in Sydney as free settlers aboard the Columbine on 3 December 1841.
  • He seems to have spent his early years in Victoria (where his father died in 1881) and had moved to Sydney about 1867. From about 1871 to 1880 he lived at Woolloomooloo and worked as a painter and house decorator. In 1874 he was secretary of the United Painters Protective Society.
  • He was secretary of the No. 22 Wycliffe Loyal Orange Lodge from 1874 and in March 1876 was a founder of its benefit society. The Lodge was dissolved in 1882.
  • He was publicly prominent in Sydney in the period 1870-1890, however it is difficult to distinguish his activities from those of his cousin and namesake, George Franklin Garton (senior) (1845-1893), a bootmaker. Both were active political proponents of Protection and supporters of democratic reform.
  • Associations with which either or both of these men might have been connected included the Psychological Society (1880) and the School of Arts Debating Club (1884-1885) chaired by L. F. Heydon.
  • From about 1880 George junior lived and had an adjacent shop at Oxford Street, Paddington. It seems likely that it was he, who was proposed — but did not stand — as a candidate for the seat of Paddington in September 1885, supported by the Democratic Alliance.
  • In May 1889, now living at Liberty Street, Petersham, Sydney, he petitioned for bankruptcy. He moved to Melbourne a few years later. In 1895 he was a painter living at Coburg.
  • The 1903 electoral roll shows him as painter in Melbourne living with his wife, a shopkeeper, at Sydney Road, Brunswick, and in 1909 he was a leading member of the Metropolitan Shopkeepers’ Association.
  • After the death of his second wife he moved to Railway Place, Coburg, where he worked as a house decorator.

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Garton, George Franklin (1846–1923)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia


15 October, 1923 (aged ~ 77)
Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Key Organisations
Political Activism