The Late Mr Geo F. Grill
10 December 1912 The Tumut Advocate and Farmers and Settlers' Adviser
By the death of Mr. George F. Grill (briefly recorded in our last issue), which occurred at 8.10 on Thursday last, the district loses a foremost one among its most sterling citizens.
Some two years ago, while on a visit to the Buddong Falls during the summer months, he did some climbing over the rugged country there with his camera for the purpose of getting photographs for enlarging of the scenic views that thereabout abound, and it is believed that the great exertion caused a strain of the heart.
He was attended by the local medicos, Dr. Mason and Browne, who applied their best physician's skill to his case, and patched up the injury; but it was evident by subsequent happenings that permanent trouble was established; for each of the periodic attacks which seized him took a firmer grip.
Only recently he took a tour through the North and Queensland, and returned some-what improved, and personally resumed the active conduct of his large business concerns.
A few days before his demise he was again stricken down, so severe being the attack that no medical aid could avail to retain the vital spark to enable nature to overcome the trouble, although the closest attention and most careful nursing was afforded.
He was cut off right in the prime of life at the age of 50 years.
A wife and five children (Kathleen Henrietta, Geo. Frederick Baker, Wilga Amy, Gretta Irene and Gordon Stanfield) are left to mourn the untimely death of a loving husband and a most devoted and affectionate father.
The deceased's mother and sister, who live in America, paid a visit to Tumut about two years ago. The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon.
Leaving his late residence in Simpson-st, at 4 p m., the solemn cortege wended its way through the streets to the new cemetery, the townspeople not taking part gathering in knots along the route to pay their last tribute or respect to the memory of one so intimately wound up in the interests and welfare of the community generally.
Preceding the hearse were 38 of the employees in his various establishments who marched in procession, marshalled by Mr. Watt, to the burial ground.
Then followed the mourners and some 120 vehicles, including a 'bus the top of which was covered with wreaths, and 40 horsemen brought up the rear.
An impressive service was conducted at the graveside by Rev. Ross-Edwards. Mr. Jas. Elphick directed the funeral arrangements very effectively.
The coffin, which was of solid-panelled English oak, massively silver-mounted, was bestrewn with wreaths and floral tributes, and was borne from the residence to the hearse and from the hearse at the cemetery to the grave by Mr. Cyril Grill (nephew), Mr. Fred. Baker (confidential manager at Tumut), Mr Fletcher (Gundagai manager), Mr. R. Alley (Adelong manager), Mr. Hogan (manager of the flour mill) and Mr. W. Clout (Tumut).
A memorial service was also held in All Saints' Church on Sunday, Rev. Ross-Edwards, the Rector, making feeling reference to the life of deceased and his sudden death.
Next Sunday Rev. R. E. Davies will preach at a memorial service in the Presbyterian Church.
The late Mr. Grill was the most prominent figure in commercial circles in these districts, for the past few years at any rate. Arriving here ten years ago to take over the business carried on by the old-established firm of Messrs R. A. Newman & Co., he quickly became a very popular man among the farmers and producers.
Realising that there were other avenues of trade that only required probing and encouragement he increased the scope of his establishment and became a large buyer of maize, oats, wheat, chaff, potatoes and other farm produce - in fact, it has been truthfully said that as he began to grasp the possibilities and potentialities of our district in production here was not a single line of produce but that he could find a market for - and that at a remunerative price to the grower.
Good fortune seemed to favor him in his speculations and investments, and while prosperity crowned his undertakings he was content to launch out in other directions and add considerably to the many "irons he had in the fire."
Three years ago he bought the well-known storekeeping businesses of A. E. Mercyfull & Co and Eyles & Son at Adelong, and closing the one carried extensive lines the other.
Then he built the substantial block of buildings opposite the railway station terminus, where he set up an up-to-date flour-milling plant and grain depot.
Last October two years he spread out further his tentacles to Gundagai and built a fine new store on the site of Petrich's buildings, destroyed by fire. In these four concerns alone 180 hands are employed.
The businesses flourished, particularly at the Tumut centre; some of the buying ventures, owing to market fluctuations for cereals, &c, turned out exceptionally profitable.
It is said that some people have the happy knack of turning everything they touch or handle into money.
True, generally this may be said of Mr. Grill; but then he exercised the closest watching of the markets, with cautious buying and keen acumen.
And, may it be said to his infinite credit, where his dealings brought him a big profit over and above the cost of marketing, he was never slow, in many instances where he had purchased ahead, to divide a proportion of his profits with the producers.
Exactly 52 weeks last Sunday his main store premises in Tumut, a large two storey building built by Messrs B. A. Newman & Co, was burned to the ground, the whole of the large structure being gutted and the contents destroyed.
This proved a great shock to Mr. Grill, and, added to his first severe attack of illness and the consequent mental worry and labor of rebuilding, considerably injured his health.
With indomitable pluck be re opened business temporarily in O'Brien's Hall and re-stocking carried on until his new store, built under his own direct supervision, was ready for occupation.
The finishing touches were put on this only a month or two ago.
It is a fine edifice and will stand as a monument to his career here -"1910-1912."
Trade expanded with him from his first advent to the district, and for his straight and fair dealings he was esteemed and respected by all who had business relations with him.
When drought threatened the very sustenance of farmers and others, he proved a veritable financial friend to many, assisting to tide them over their straits. In a word, he was a phenomenal man, with surprising energy and vitality, so much so perhaps that in his judgment of his capacity he overestimated it, and his determination was too pronounced to allow of obstacles blocking his way to the goal of his ambitions.
Much as his loss to the community is felt at the present time, it will be much greater later, when the absence of his master mind and organising ability comes home to us.