Australian Dictionary of Biography

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George Miller (1800–1855)

by Vivienne Parsons

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George Miller (flourished 1822-1833), clerk, arrived in New South Wales in the Minerva in October 1822, with introductions to Deputy Commissary General Wemyss and a recommendation from Robert Peddie, town clerk of Perth, Scotland, certifying that Miller had served as his apprentice for four years from October 1816, had been sober and industrious, and had shown considerable talents for business. Wemyss offered him a post in charge of cash payments, and in November 1823 he was appointed clerk in the Commissariat Department. When the settlement at Melville Island in Northern Australia was proposed he volunteered for duty there, hoping to gain promotion more rapidly. He was appointed to take charge of the commissariat there in August 1824. 

After four years on Melville Island Miller's health became impaired under conditions which brought about the deaths of a third of those who had embarked with him. He was relieved in 1828 after a medical certificate had been sent to headquarters, and was granted two months leave. During his stay on Melville Island he visited Kupang, Timor, in 1826, in a vain attempt to establish regular communication and ensure a supply of provisions. In October 1828 he was sent to take charge of the commissariat at Port Macquarie, where he transferred from the store to the accounts branch to fill the vacancy caused by the removal of the senior deputy assistant commissary general to Hobart Town. In answer to successive memorials to the Treasury he learnt that commissariat clerks engaged on the spot were to be considered only as temporary officials.  He was later appointed to the position of managing trustee of the Savings Bank of New South Wales, a position he held for many years.

In 1833 Miller published a pamphlet entitled The Patronage and Justice of the British Treasury Exemplified in a Plain Narrative, in which he deplored the failure of the new Whig administration to stamp out the unjust patronage of the Tory period, citing his own case in the hope that publicity might lead to an inquiry.

It is not clear what became of Miller after this because his is a not uncommon name. It is impossible to know whether he was the same George Miller who became accountant of the Savings Bank and a director of the Sydney Banking Co. and Australian Gaslight Co. in the 1840s.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol 12
  • Sydney Gazette, 18 Oct 1822, 27 Nov 1823
  • Sunday Times (Sydney), 30 June 1907, 13

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Vivienne Parsons, 'Miller, George (1800–1855)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 13 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Perth, Perthshire, Scotland


23 August, 1855 (aged ~ 55)
Edinburgh, Mid-Lothian, Scotland

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