George Cassimaty was a well-known business identity in Taree running a fruit exchange and refreshment rooms in Manning and Victoria Streets for many years. 1 2
Born on the Greek island of Kythira, it can be imagined that George knew how to swim. 3 On 8 December 1923, two year old Gwen Graham was playing in her backyard when she fell into her parents’ well. George who was attending an auction nearby heard the children’s screams, jumped the fence and into the well fully clothed to save her. When Gwen was pulled out she was unconscious and George ‘used artificial means to restore animation’.4
The following year he was awarded a certificate from the Royal Humane Society for his actions. As George travelled to Sydney’s Town Hall to collect his award the people of Taree, including George’s wife, listened to the entire ceremony via the new technology of a wireless radio. 5
Amazingly, this was the sixth person George had saved from drowning. A woman who attended the ceremony recognised George as the man who had saved her years earlier at a beach in Sydney. Unable to find him at the ceremony she made the long journey to Taree to thank him personally. 6
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Northern Champion (NSW), 11 Feb 1931. National Library of Australia. Trove.
2 Taree historic rates book 1917-1919.
3 NAA: A1, CASSIMATY, George, Naturalisation, 1923-1924.
4 Sydney Mail (NSW), 1 Oct 1924. National Library of Australia. Trove.
5 Northern Champion (NSW), 17 Sep 1924. National Library of Australia. Trove.
6 Evening News (NSW), 30 Sep 1924. National Library of Australia. Trove.