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George, Sarah Ann (1839 - 1919)

Born
22 February 1839
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Died
15 December 1919
Moreland, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Pharmacist and Philanthropist
Alternative Names
  • Wilkinson, Sarah Ann (Birth name)

Summary

Sarah Ann George was the daughter of Thomas Wilkinson, the 'father of Brunswick', and Louisa Wilkinson. In 1856, at Geelong, at the age of seventeen, Sarah Ann married Joseph George, a pharmacist. Joseph had established a pharmacy in Sydney Road, Brunswick, in 1853, and Sarah worked with him as his assistant, eventually becoming registered as a pharmacist herself. She is believed to have been Victoria's first lady pharmacist, and one of the first to be registered. Sarah first registered in 1882, stating that she had been in business in Victoria before the required registration date of 1876. At this time, she was 43 years old, and her nine surviving children ranged in age from five to twenty-five years. Like her husband, who was a member of council and Mayor of Brunswick from 1884-5, Sarah was active in the Church of England, and interested herself in philanthropic work. She was President of the Boarding Out Committee in Brunswick for thirty years, and also of the Australian Women's National League both in Brunswick, and in Portland, where she instigated the branch.

Details

Sarah Ann Wilkinson was born in Launceston in 1839. Her father Thomas was at the time Catechist to prisoners in Launceston and Private Secretary to Major Ryan, Commandant of Launceston. The family moved to Port Philip in 1840, buying land in Brunswick in 1841. After a 10 year sojourn in Portland, they returned to Brunswick. In 1856 Sarah Ann married pharmacist Joseph George, and became a qualified pharmacist herself. The couple ran the pharmacy in Sydney Road until 1905 (Joseph dying in 1903), bringing up nine children to adulthood and losing three as infants. In 1915, as Thomas' last surviving child, Sarah erected a drinking fountain in his memory. It still stands at the corner of Park Street and Sydney Road, Burnswick. Sarah's strong political views were reflected in her presidency of branches of the Australian Women's National League, and her pride that all eligible male relatives had enlisted in the Great War. She was regarded as a woman of fine business instincts. Sarah's profession, like that of her husband, is declared on her tombstone in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

This entry was written with the assistance of Jennifer Hearn, Linda Schulz and the Brunswick Community History Group. They would be grateful if anyone with more information about Sarah George could contact them: details obtainable through the AWAP contact form.

Sources used to compile this entry: Folk-Scolaro, Francesca (ed.), Brunswick Stories and Histories: A Collection of Articles From Fusion, Brunswick Community History Group, Brunswick, 1999; Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria - Archives, c. 1857 - c. 1955, MS 9601; Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection; Shultz, Linda M, Thomas Wilkinson: a Pioneer of Principles and Conviction, Linda M Schulz, Barrack Heights, New South Wales, 1994.

Related entries

Archival resources

Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project)

  • Wilkinson/George/McHenry Family Records; Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project). Details

Public Record Office Victoria

  • Pharmacy Board of Victoria Record Series, 1877 - , Agency VA 1349; Public Record Office Victoria. Details

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria - Archives, c. 1857 - c. 1955, MS 9601; Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Janet Butler

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National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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