George Marchant

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George Marchant
George Marchant.tiff
George Marchant
Born(1857-11-17)17 November 1857
Brasted, Kent, England
Died5 September 1941(1941-09-05) (aged 83)

George Marchant (17 November 1857 – 5 September 1941) was a soft-drink manufacturer and philanthropist in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Early life[edit]

Marchant was born in Brasted, Kent, England, the son of a builder and hotel keeper; as a boy he became interested in the temperance movement. He arrived in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on the Ramsey on 9 June 1874[1] at age 16 with only a few shillings, he worked as a gardener and then a station hand in the country until returning to Brisbane for employment as a carter in an aerated waters factory.[1]

Business life[edit]

Marchant purchased the ginger beer manufacturing business of John R. Palmer in Elizabeth Street, Brisbane in 1886.[1] Marchant then opened a factory in Bower Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane and his soft-drink business eventually became the largest in Australia, with other plants in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Newcastle.

Marchant believed in social equality and had read Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward: 2000–1887; in 1890 Marchant founded a Bellamy Society. Marchant chaired meetings which raised funds for striking workers and women in his employ were paid more than the average in the food industry. Most of the profits of his business were distributed amongst the employees.[1]

Marchant also invented a bottling machine that came to be used worldwide.


Canberra Hotel, 1939

With his wife, Mary Jane Dwyer, Marchant was the benefactor of many charitable causes, including providing land in Ann St for the New Jerusalem Church and in Chermside, where he donated his horse paddock to the Kedron Shire Council as a park.[2] Marchant Park is named after him. A ward of the Brisbane City Council centred on Chermside is also named Marchant Ward.

He was a major benefactor in the establishment of the Canberra Temperance Hotel in Brisbane, which opened in 1929.[3]

George Marchant (right) with crippled children at Montrose, 1935

In 1932, the Queensland Society for Crippled Children was established to care for children with severe physical disabilities arising from the polio epidemic of 1932. In September 1932, Marchant donated his home Montrose and its 5 acres of gardens at Taringa to the society to establish an institution for the care and treatment of the children;[4] when the number of children needing care became too many to be accommodated in Montrose, Marchant purchased a property at Consort Street, Corinda as a new larger facility which continued to be called Montrose (which is still in use for the care of disabled children in 2015).[5]

Later life[edit]

Marchant's wife died in 1925, and he died 5 September 1941.

His soft drink business was purchased in 1964 by Coca-Cola Amatil.[6]


In 2018, George Marchant was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame.[7]


Serle, Percival (1949). "Marchant, George". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

  1. ^ a b c d Helen Gregory (1986). "Marchant, George (1857–1941)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10. Melbourne University Press. p. 406. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  2. ^ Teague, David R. (1973), The history of Chermside, D. R. Teague, ISBN 978-0-9599089-1-6
  3. ^ ""THE CANBERRA."". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 1 August 1927. p. 14. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  4. ^ "GAVE HIS HOME". The Brisbane Courier. 30 September 1932. p. 13. Retrieved 25 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Our History". Montrose Access. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Coca-Cola". Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame". Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. State Library of Queensland. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.

Additional resources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography[edit]

  • W. O. Lilley, Reminiscences of Life in Brisbane and Reflections and Sayings (Brisb,1913)
  • Queensland and Queenslanders (Brisb,1936)
  • Votes and Proceedings (Queensland), 1891, 2, p 1244
  • Queensland Digger, 1 October 1941, p 31
  • Worker (Brisbane), 1 July 7 Aug, 1 Sep 1, 18 October 1890
  • Boomerang (Brisbane), 27 Sep 4 October 1890
  • Queenslander, 16 July 1931
  • Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 7 September 1941
  • Courier Mail (Brisbane), 8 September 1941
  • S. A. Rayner, The Evolution of the Queensland Labor Party to 1907 (M.A. thesis, University of Queensland, 1947)
  • S. W. Jack's newsclipping book, no 41 (State Library of Queensland); company files, COM/1, 1863–88, and company registration, A/ 11849 (Queensland State Archives).

External links[edit]