November 17, 1857|
Brasted, Kent, England
|Died||September 5, 1941(aged 83)|
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 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.
Marchant purchased the ginger beer manufacturing business of John R. Palmer in Elizabeth Street, Brisbane in 1886. 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.
Marchant also invented a bottling machine that came to be used worldwide.
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. Marchant Park is named after him. A ward of the Brisbane City Council centred on Chermside is also named Marchant Ward.
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. 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).
Marchant's wife died in 1925, and he died 5 September 1941.
Drinks bearing his name today are marketed by Coca-Cola Amatil.
- Helen Gregory (1986). "Marchant, George (1857 - 1941)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10. MUP. p. 406. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Teague, David R. (1973), The history of Chermside, D. R. Teague, ISBN 978-0-9599089-1-6
- ""THE CANBERRA.".". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 1 August 1927. p. 14. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "GAVE HIS HOME.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 30 September 1932. p. 13. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Our History". Montrose Access. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
Additional resources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography
- 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 Oct 1941, p 31
- Worker (Brisbane), 1 July, 7 Aug, 1 Sept, 1, 18 Oct 1890
- Boomerang (Brisbane), 27 Sept, 4 Oct 1890
- Queenslander, 16 July 1931
- Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 7 Sept 1941
- Courier Mail (Brisbane), 8 Sept 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).
- SOFT DRINKS, 1945 - 65 History of Marchants company