George Leonard Lee 1860-1939 :: Genealogy
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George Leonard Lee 1860-1939

Journal by janilye

George Leonard LEE the son of John Leonard LEE 1833-1913 and
Mary, nee ECKFORD 1836-1883 was born in Maitland in 1860.
In 1896, George Leonard married Emma Onus TOWN 1867-1948 the
daughter of Andrew TOWN, of Hobartville 1840-1890 and
Emma Susannah ONUS 1843-1941.

This biography below is from the Dictionary of Australian Biography:-
[George Leonard Lee (1860-1939), soldier, was born on 25 June 1860 at West Maitland, New South Wales, son of John Lee, draper and later merchant, and his wife, Mary Ann nee Eckford. Educated at Sauchu House School, West Maitland, and Armidale Grammar School, he worked for a while in the family business, John Lee & Sons, West Maitland. He was a well-known horseman and sportsman, keen on polo.

On 4 October 1889 Lee was commissioned in the local troop of the New South Wales Lancers and during the maritime strike of 1890 acted as adjutant of the partially paid cavalry and mounted rifles who were enrolled as special police in Sydney. Next year he was sent to England for training and by October 1892 had qualified in an equitation course at the Cavalry School, Canterbury, at an Army Service Corps school and at the School of Musketry, Hythe; he also trained for several months with the 20th Hussars at Aldershot. After returning home he joined the New South Wales Permanent Military Forces in December 1892 as a captain and from then until June 1902 was adjutant of the New South Wales Lancers. The New South Wales Mounted Brigade's book of confidential reports contains laudatory references to him. During that time he was also acting staff officer, Mounted Brigade, for over two years, and commandant of the Cavalry School. On 2 January 1896 he married Emma Onus Town at St Ann's Anglican Church, Homebush, Sydney; they had no children.

On the outbreak of the South African War in October 1899 the New South Wales Lancers mobilized a draft to go from Sydney to reinforce their squadron which was proceeding to the war from England after training there. Lee, now a major, was in charge of the draft which joined the squadron in South Africa on 6 December. Lee then took command of the Lancer contingent from Captain C. F. Cox. His unit, part of Lieutenant-General French's force, was employed in operations around Colesberg, the relief of Kimberley, and actions at Paardeberg, Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Zand River, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Diamond Hill and in the Transvaal east of Pretoria to 26 October 1900 when the squadron's year of service ended. For his work in South Africa Lee was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Resuming duty with the Australian Military Forces, Lee was assistant adjutant general and chief staff officer in Victoria in 1902-07. Appointed to the Administrative and Instructional Staff in 1904, he became a lieutenant-colonel in 1909, having held brevet rank since 1902. He served in New South Wales from June 1907, and was commandant in Tasmania in 1911-12 and in Queensland in 1912-17. After that he was temporarily in command in New South Wales, with the honorary rank of major general from July 1918 until he was transferred to the retired list on 13 May 1920 as honorary lieutenant-general. He was aide-de-camp to the governor-general in 1915-20, and in 1917 was appointed C.M.G.

Warm tributes to Lee's personality and ability include praise of his fine horsemanship, geniality and ripe judgement; there was 'no hypocrisy in his make up' and he would not tolerate it in anyone under him. In retirement he worked two oyster leases at Port Stephens, New South Wales. He was a member of the Union Club, Sydney. Survived by his wife, he died on 13 April 1939 at Burwood and was cremated with Anglican rites.]

Citation details
Vernon, P. V., 'Lee, George Leonard (1860?1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 12 July 2012.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 15 April 1939

Lieutenant-General George Leonard Lee, who died on Thursday night,
aged 78, had a distinguished military career.
He received his first commission in the New South Wales Lancers in 1889,
and was subsequently adjutant of the Lancers for 10 years.
After reaching the rank of lieutenant-colonel he was appointed to the
administrative instructional staff of the permanent military forces.
He was Assistant Adjutant General and Chief Staff Officer in Victoria
from 1902 to 1907, Commandant in Tasmania from 1911 to 1912, and
Commandant in Queensland from 1912 to 1917.

He took part in the South African campaign, and was present at the
relief of Kimberley.
He was mentioned in despatches in 1901, and received the
Distinguished Service Order and the Queen's medal with six clasps.
He was created a C.M.G. in 1917.

A well-known sportsman and horseman, in his younger days he won renown
in many cross-country rides, winning more than one.

Before he was appointed to the permanent staff he was a member of the
firm of John Lee and Sons, general providers, West Maitland.
He was at one time Commandant of the Cavalry School of Instruction.
He was granted the rank of lieutenant-general when he retired from the
position of State Commandant in New South Wales 19 years ago."

Lieut.Gen. George Leonard LEE C.M.G D.S.O died on the 13 April 1939 at his residence,
58 Broughton Road, Homebush.
(the former residence of his mother-in-law, Emma Susannah TOWN)
His widow Emma Onus LEE died on the 15 April 1948, also at Broughton Road.

For family researchers, here is the obituary for John Leonard Lee 1833-1913
The Maitland Weekly Mercury Saturday 5 April 1913 Page 6
Death of Mr. John Lee.

After a long illness, the death occcurred at
his residence, Church-street, on friday after
noon, of Mr. John Lee, a highly-respected re
sident of Maitlnnd for many years, who, in
his younger days, was actively and enthusi
astically associated with all movements which
had for their object the advancement and
progress of the district in which his lot was
The deceased gentleman was fourth son of
the late Mr. Benjamin Lee, who died at Par
ramatta in 1870, in his 92nd year. The old
gentleman, served thiough the Peninsular
war, and retired from the army in 1828, after
25 years' service, landing in New South Wales
in 1829 to manage the estates of Bolwarra
and Segenhoe. He shortly afterwards went
to reside at Parramatta, where he lived until
his death. The late Mr. John Lee was
born at Parramatta in 1833, being therefore
79 yeais of age. He was educated at Par-
ramatta. and came to Maitland in 1847, where
he entered into the employ of Messrs. T. and
J. Dickson, for five years, during which time
he opened a store on their Belah Station on
the Castlereagh River. On completion of
his term he removed to Sydney, and acted as
manager and buyer for the same firm. In
1856 he established the drapery business of
.John Lee and Co. Trade grew rapidly, and
in 1865 he erected what was then the finest
business premises in Maitland, 'Cheap-
side,' when he went into a wholesale and re
tail trade in both drapery and grocery. In
1879 he admitted the late Mr. J. W. Allison
as a partner, and in 1883 his son, Mr. Geo.
L. Lee, joined the firm, which was conducted
with considerable success for many years.
when the deceased retired to 'Leeholme;'
Woodville, a splendid mansion he had built
for himself, but he was involved in financial
difficulties through his own good nature, and
left "Leeholme," to reside in West Maitland.
He was twice married, his first wife having
died in 1883 at the early age of 47.
The late Mr. Lee was one of the oldest
magistrates in the State, and. in his younger
days took a verv active and prominent part
in public and political matters. He was one of
the first committeemen of the Maitland School
of Arts, which he served long and faithfully,
both as secretary and president, and was
Returning Officer for the State Electorate of
the Hunter. With others he woiked ener
getically to secure the incorporation of the
municipalitv, and was one of the aldermen re
turned at the first election in 1863. He was
re-elected for a number of years afterwards,
and was elected Mayor in 1867, 1868, and
1878, and during his term of office had the
distinguished honour of receiving his Royal
Highness the Inte Duke of Edinburgh on his
visit to Maitland. The floodgates for pro-
tecting the low-lying parts of the borough
and the annexed area were constructed dur
ing his Mayoralty. During the floods which
devastated the district at various periods his
time and means were freeiy given, for the as
sistance of those in distiess, and it was, only
natural to find him taking a keen interest in
the flood mitigation movement. Deceased
also served on the committee of the Maitland
Hospital for many years. and was a devoted
churchman. having served in the office of
churchwaiden at St. Mary's for a lengthened
period. He was also very liberal with his
purse in church affairs, and amongst his gen
erous acts was the donation of the beautiful
reredos which now adorns St. Mary's. He
was a very old member of the Masonic Order,
and until his illness laid him aside was a re-
gular attendant at the lodge meetings. De
ceased leaves a widow, six sons, three daugh-
ters, and six grand-children . The sons are
Colonel George Lee, who occupies a respon
sible, position in the Commonwealth Military
Forces, Dr. Ernest' Lee (Sydney), Messrs.
John E. Lee (Sydney) W. Lee (Sydney). Ed
ward Lee and Benjamin Lee (Queensland).
Mesdames Edward Blair (Lorn). Richard
Broughton (Sydney), and A. Tuck (Sydney),
are the daughters.
Mr C. A. Lee, late Minister of Works,
and Mr. Benjamin Lee, are brothers of the
deceased gentleman .
The funeral took place on Sunday
afternoon, the cortege moving from
his late residence to St. Mary's
Church, where a short service was conducted
by Rev A. Killworth, M.A., L.L.B. Mr.
G. F.. King, A.R.CO., organist of St.
Mary's Church, played the. hymn, 'Safe in
the Arms of Jesus.' and as the mourners left
the church the 'Dead March' in Saul was
rendered. The interment was made in the
Church of England burial ground at Camp
bell's Hill. The chief mourners were Colonel
Geo L. Lee, Dr. H. E. Lee, Messrs. W.
Lee and J. E. Leeee (sons), Messrs. Broughton
and A. Tuck (sons-in-law), Messrs. Harry and
Leonard Lee (grandsons). A large number of
floral tributes were placed upon the grave,
including those from Mr. Thos. Dimmock,
Mrs. Stubberfield, Miss K. Blair, Mr. J. W.
Eckford and family, Jas. Kerr nnd Sons,
employees of Jas. Kerr and Sons, Mrs. Geo.
Lee, Mr. and Mrs. John Rourke, Mary
Young, Mr. H Sawyer, Mrs. Broughton,
Mrs. Wolfe and family (Springfield). Mr.
and Mrs. J. D. Sawyer. Miss L. M. Wil
liams, Mr. and Mrs. V. Wolfe, Misses Blair.
Mrs. Falkiner, and Mr. and Mrs.
H. L. Brown. Among those in at
tendance at the funeral were the
Mayor (Alderman McLachlan), Major
Nicholson, M.L.A., Major Cracknell,
Mr. E. P. Capper, and other representative
citizens. The service at the graveside was
conducted by the Rev. A. Killworth, who
said it was not his intention to speak at any
length, because he intended conducting a me
morial service in the church next Sunday in
memory of their late brother. That day,
however, he could not refrain from saying a
few words. He would like to remark that
there was something happily coincident in
the departure of their brother during the re
surrection season. That day they were in the
octave of Easter. It was a very happy moment
for their brother to be called away.
As they knew, their brother had been a great
sufferer. He had been a constant visitor to
him. and he would like to testify to the for
titude with which he bore his sufferings — so
bravely. so nobly, so uncomplainingly, and
so considerate of others even in his saddest
moment,s. His life had been a spiritual re
velation to him, and now he had been called
away to his rest, his reward would be great-.
He had passed away from the sorrows, limi
tations, and hampering affairs of this life to
the broader horizon of heaven itself. They
praised God for such a faithful man, and
thanked God that such lives as his were poss-
ible In the midst of the materialism of the
twentieth century.

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by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-07-11 21:25:27

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

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by Doctory on 2018-06-26 10:24:26

Do you have any further info or photos on the Eckfords or Lee’s?
My Family as well.

by janilye on 2018-06-27 13:43:39

No Doctory, nothing else apart from what's online. He's not my family. I'm related to the Onus's. His mother-in-law Emma Susannah Town, my 2nd cousin 3 times removed

by Doctory on 2018-06-30 08:48:37

Thanks for this. Much appreciated.

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