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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Verdon, Hon. Sir George Frederick

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Verdon, Hon. Sir George Frederick, K.C.M.G., C.B., J.P., F.R.S., F.R.G.S., eldest son of the Rev. Edward Verdon, M.A., perpetual curate of St. Ann's, Tottington, Bury, Lancashire, by Jane Frances, daughter of Dr. George Hobson, was born on Jan. 21st, 1834, at Pendleton, and educated at Rossall School. He went to Melbourne in 1851, and engaged in commercial pursuits. He was called to the Victorian Bar in April 1863, and was elected to the Municipal Council of Williamstown and appointed Chairman of the Municipal Conference held at Melbourne for the consideration of the laws relating to municipal institutions. He was one of the first members of the volunteer force established in 1854 for the defence of the colony, and was engaged at the head of his company in 1857 in suppressing the outbreak of convicts in which Captain Price was killed. In 1859 he was elected member for Williamstown, and on Nov. 26th in the following year he was appointed Treasurer in the Heales Government, retiring with his colleagues on Nov. 14th, 1861. He was reappointed Treasurer under Mr. (afterwards) Sir James MᶜCulloch on June 27th, 1863, and held office until May 6th, 1868. As honorary secretary to the Astronomical Observatory, and as a member of the Government, he did much to assist in the perfection of the present system of astronomical observation. In 1866 the Government and Legislature of Victoria resolved upon sending a minister of the Crown to England for the purpose of bringing the subject of the defence of the colony before the Home Government, and Mr. Verdon was selected for the mission, in which he was completely successful, obtaining a contribution of £100,000 towards the construction of the Cerberus, and the gift of the Nelson for a training-ship. He was also instrumental in smoothing away the obstacles to the establishment of the Melbourne Mint, and was created C.B. for his services Nov. 23rd, 1866. On his return to Victoria he was elected to the Assembly for Emerald Hill, and on May 5th, 1868, was appointed Agent-General for the colony in England. He was elected P.R.S. in 1870, and is an Associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He was nominated a K.C.M.G. on Feb. 22nd, 1872, on the occasion of his retiring from the Agent-Generalship, and accepted the office of colonial inspector and general manager of the English, Scottish and Australian Chartered Bank, a position he held till 1891, being elected chairman of the associated banks in 1888, in which year he represented the Royal British Commission at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition. Sir George revisited England in 1890. He married on March 28th, 1861, Anne, daughter of John Armstrong, of Melbourne, who died on August 22nd, 1889.