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Biographical entry Swinburne, George (1861 - 1928)

3 February 1861
Paradise, England
4 September 1928
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Business executive, Politician and Philanthropist


George Swinburne was manager of the Melbourne Hydraulic Power Co. 1887-1897 and managing director 1898-1911. He was Minister of Water Supply for Victoria 1904-1908 and Agriculture 1905-1908. In 1919-1925 he was a foundation member of the State Electricity Commission. He founded the Swinburne Technical College in 1909.


Born Paradise near Newcastle, England, 3 February 1861. Died 4 September 1928. Educated at Royal Grammar School, Newcastle and night school, engineering; apprenticed to J. Williamson and Co., chemical merchants 1874, clerk 1880-82; joined gas and mechanical engineering firm of uncle John Coates at London, partner from 1885; followed uncle to Melbourne 1886; manager Melbourne Hydraulic Power Co. 1887-97, managing director 1898-1911, chairman Australasian board 1911-13; director of a number of companies. Member Institute of Mechanical Engineering 1897, Institute of Civil Engineers 1914; member Inter-State Commission 1913-17, CSIR 1916-20; chairman of committee controlling capital issue 1915-17, Board of Business Administration, Defence Department 1917-19; member Military Board 1919-20, Note Issue Board 1920-22; Victorian SEC commissioner 1919-25. Founder of Eastern Suburbs (later Swinburne) Technical College, president 1908-28. MLA for Hawthorn October 1902-July 1913 (resigned), Minister of Water Supply April 1904-October 1908 (resigned over land tax bill), Minister of Agriculture November 1904-October 1908. ); MLC for East Yarra Province June-September 1928 (deceased).

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Patrick, Alison, 'Swinburne, George (1861-1928), Businessman, Politician and Philanthropist', in John Ritchie (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 12, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1990, pp. 150-152. Also available at Details

Journal Articles

  • Swinburne, George; Whitehead, C. A. & Anderson, Joshua Thomas Noble, 'Note on mechanical filtration and gravitation filtration (Paper & Discussion)', Proceedings of the Victorian Institute of Engineers vol. III, 1903, pp. 69-103. Also available at Details

Online Resources

See also

Rosanne Walker