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COHEN, George Judah

born 18420427     Died 1937
Cohen, George Judah (1842–1937) by G. F. J. Bergman
This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981 George Cohen, n.d. George Judah Cohen (1842-1937), banker and financier, was born on 27 April 1842 in Sydney, eldest son of Samuel Cohen and his wife Rachel, née Nathan; both came from old-established Anglo-Jewish families.

18340419 Samuel had migrated from London in the Resource, reaching Sydney on 19 April 1834, and, with his brother David and
1836 his cousin Lewis Wolfe Levy, established the wholesale firm David Cohen & Co. in Sydney and Maitland in 1836;
1860 he represented Morpeth in the Legislative Assembly in 1860 and was a founder of the breakaway Macquarie Street Synagogue.
1857-60 George was educated at Cleveland House under James Kean then at University College School, London, in 1857-60.
1861 He returned to Sydney in 1861, intending to study law; however after the death of his father on 4 November, he decided to enter the family business.
1865 after four years in Sydney, in 1865 he took charge of the firm's Maitland office.
He was active in local affairs—chairman of the Maitland Gas Co., treasurer of the Northern Jockey Club, and helped the School of Arts, one of the finest in the colony.
18680219 On 19 February 1868 in Sydney he married Rebecca (Rè) Levy (d.1933), daughter of his father's partner, in the presence of (Sir) Saul Samuel and J. G. Raphael.
With the coming of rail transport, he established a branch of the firm in Newcastle, but in
1879 moved back to Sydney.
Cohen was a financial wizard and an indefatigable worker.

His acumen was soon recognized and in
1885 he succeeded his father-in-law as a director of the United Insurance Co. Ltd, the Australian Gas Light Co. and CBCof S.
1891 As deputy chairman of the bank in 1891 and 1893-1901 and chairman in 1892-93 and 1901-33, he helped to guide it through the banking crisis of 1893 and the depressions of the 1890s and early 1930s;

he celebrated 50 years as a director of the United Insurance Co. and was chairman in 1904-35; he was also chairman of the Australian Gas Light Co. in 1887-1932, Tooth & Co. Ltd in 1889-1929 and of the Sydney Exchange Co. (Royal Exchange of Sydney) almost continuously from 1887 to 1935. In
1912 David Cohen & Co. Ltd was registered as a public company.

At 'no time did get-rich-quick schemes' appeal to Cohen.  If he had any vanity, it was for his good name in financial circles. He had a profound insight into the whole Australian economy—as early as 1903, whilst warning against excessive borrowing by State governments, he urged that all their debts should be taken over by the Commonwealth. Many inducements were offered to him to enter politics, but he dreaded the interference with the happiness of his family life, and his dislike of publicity was a byword in financial circles


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DUGUID, Lessli

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FRAZER, JOHN (1827-1884)

Merchant, company director and philanthropist, was born in Dromore, County Down, Ireland. As 'a carpenter and joiner' he arrived at Sydney as a bounty immigrant in the Margaret on 23 January 1842, with a brother and two sisters. He first went up country 'to learn something of squatting', on 'a very modest salary indeed', and then worked as a clerk in Sydney. In 1847 he opened his own wholesale grocery business and in 1853 he married Elizabeth Ewan. Her two sisters married William Manson and James Watson who with her brother James, became Frazer's closest friends and business partners. In 1858 he moved into larger premises in York Street and next year took Manson as a partner. By hard work, 'integrity, prudence and punctuality' Frazer made John Frazer & Co. into one of the most influential mercantile houses in Sydney. The York Street stores were burnt down in 1865 and rebuilt for £15,000 in massive stone and with modern fire-fighting equipment. From the mid-1860s Frazer speculated in land in Queensland and by 1871 had four runs of his own and eighteen in partnership. In Sydney he had built two large new stores, a bonded warehouse and the impressive Frazer House. He had also sold his home, Ranelagh at Darling Point, and about 1874 bought Quiraing at Edgecliff. His directorships included
the Australian Joint Stock Bank,
the Mutual Life Association of Australasia and
the Sydney Exchange Co. in addition to three other insurance companies,
a shipping line, an ironworks and several mining companies.
Later he was also a director of
The Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney and
the Australian Gaslight Co.

JONES, Richard

After he retired from Parliament following his appointment in 1857 as Colonial Treasurer in the second Cowper Ministry, Richard Jones became a member of Board of Directors of which he was Chairman for 20 years.
1892 he died; when his son:-
Jones Richard succeeded his father as a Director.
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KATER, Gregory Blaxland

Sir GREGORY BLAXLAND (1912-1978), businessman and army officer, was born on 15 May 1912 at Cheeseman's Creek, sixth child of native-born parents (Sir) Norman Kater, medical practitioner, pastoralist and politician, and his wife Jean Gaerloch, née Mackenzie.
In the 1930s Gregory had gained practical experience with A. Reyrolle & Co. Ltd, Hebburn, England, and the General Electric Co., Schenectady, New York. On 3 April 1937 he married Catherine Mary Ferris-Scott at the parish church of St George, Hanover Square, London.
In Sydney, he bought a house at Bellevue Hill and joined Alan Crook Electrical Co. Pty Ltd.
Kater enlisted in the A.I.F. on 12 October 1939 and was commissioned lieutenant on 27 December.
Reaching Scotland in June 1940, he was promoted captain and sent to the 44th Light Aid Detachment.
He was wounded in action at Tobruk, Libya, in June 1941, then served at the 25th Infantry Brigade's headquarters.
Back in Australia, he was promoted major in December 1942 and performed engineering duties.
In December 1943 he was posted to headquarters, New Guinea Force, and in April 1944 became chief engineer, mechanical equipment, Lae Base Sub-Area. He returned home in November and transferred to
the Reserve of Officers on 4 April 1945.
A founder (1950) and chairman (from 1955) of Electrical Equipment of Australia Ltd, Kater moved the company from agency distribution into manufacturing telephone equipment, transmission-line materials,
electric motors, clocks and hot-water systems. He took the firm into solar power by forming a joint company with the Solarex Corporation of the United States of America. Believing 'passionately that oil exploration in Australia would succeed . . . years before practical results silenced the sceptics', he was a director and chairman of Oil Search Ltd for twenty-four years.
Kater had succeeded his father and grandfather as a director of the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd (chairman 1976-78) and the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney (chairman 1966-78). He also sat on the boards of numerous public companies, and of the family's pastoral holdings—H. E. Kater & Son Pty Ltd and Egelabra Pty Ltd. Although 'he had a reputation for being conservative in financial matters, he was willing to back innovative developments' and supported C.S.R.'s entry into aluminium and iron-ore production.
Tall and thickset, Kater rarely smiled in public. Over many years he built a huge, model electric-railway with his children.
He was a member of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (1966-75) and of the
State advisory board of the Salvation Army, a vice-president of the New South Wales Society for Crippled Children and of the local Institute of Public Affairs, a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers and a freeman of the City of London. In 1974 he was knighted.
Sir Gregory died of gastrointestinal bleeding on 9 July 1978 in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and was cremated; his wife, daughter and two sons survived him.   From Australian National University, 2006

KNOX, Sir Edward

One of the first Directors of the "old" bank in 1845, he was the first Bank Manager, resigned in 1851 and was then appointed to the Board, becoming Chairman in 1853. He died on 7/1/1901 having been with the Bank for 55 years. In the 105th Report the Board was requested to place in the Head Banking House of the Company a tablet or other memorial. His son filled the Board vacancy.

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