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Gill, George Roydon Howard (1887–1974)

by J. C. H. Gill

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

George Roydon Howard Gill (1887-1974), solicitor, churchman and sportsman, was born on 10 April 1887 at Highgate Hill, Brisbane, second child and only son of Queensland-born parents James Howard Gill, crown solicitor, and his wife Annie Louise, daughter of George Appel. James's premature death in 1899 left the family in straitened circumstances. Roy, as he was familiarly known, was educated at South Brisbane State School and, on a scholarship, at Brisbane Grammar School (1901-03). He was articled to the solicitor Reginald MacDonnell King in 1904 and admitted to practice on 3 May 1910; eight months later King took him into partnership. At St Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane, on 24 June 1914 Gill married Vera Idoline Heaslop (d.1972).

While King was a member (1920-35) of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and deputy-premier in 1929-32, Gill and King's son Stephen (admitted to partnership in 1927) carried on the practice. A council-member of the Queensland Law Association (1924-29), and of its successor, the Queensland Law Society (1929-59), Gill was president in 1934-36 and in 1943-44, the only person to occupy the position twice. In 1958 he was appointed M.B.E. He retired from King & Gill in 1964. After years of service, in 1966 he retired from the Queensland Solicitors' Board and from the board of the law faculty, University of Queensland. Held in high esteem by his colleagues as an authority on legal ethics, he was frequently sought for advice on problems in that area.

Having been blinded in his left eye in 1908, Gill concentrated on rowing for sporting relaxation and next year was selected in the Queensland eight-oared crew. He later turned to administration, managed the State's King's Cup crews, chaired (1919-29 and 1936-66) the Queensland Rowing Association (later Queensland Amateur Rowing Council) and was president of the Australian Amateur Rowing Council when Queensland hosted the King's Cup. Meanwhile, he belonged to the Commercial Rowing Club, of which he was successively chairman, president and patron.

A dedicated Anglican layman and synodsman from the suburban parish of Coorparoo, in 1932 Gill was elected to the Brisbane diocesan council. From 1937 he was chairman of committees of the diocesan synod until he retired in 1968; during this time he also served on general and provincial synods. In addition to being a member of The Southport School council, he served on numerous Church committees. He held office in charity organizations and welfare-service bodies, and gave his time to help people without reward. Survived by his three sons, Gill died on 13 December 1974 at Mount Gravatt and was cremated. Two further generations of the family continued the tradition of practising as solicitors.

Select Bibliography

  • S. Stephenson (compiler), Annals of the Brisbane Grammar School, 1869-1922 (Brisb, 1923)
  • H. Gregory, The Queensland Law Society Inc, 1928-1988 (Brisb, 1991)
  • Church of England, Diocese of Brisbane Year Book, 1969
  • Queensland Law Society Journal, Jan 1975
  • Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 17 Dec 1974
  • private information.

Citation details

J. C. H. Gill, 'Gill, George Roydon Howard (1887–1974)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gill-george-roydon-howard-10305/text18235, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 17 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

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