George De Saxe was born in 1856 and worked most of his life as a dentist in Sydney and Parramatta.1 He often visited smaller towns providing dental services and in September 1900 visited Wingham for this purpose.2 By the end of the month he had decided to stay in Wingham leasing the Bank Chambers in Isabella Street.3 Business was booming and by July 1901 his son Frank (George Francis) took over his Wingham business, while George moved to Taree where he based himself next door to the Commercial Bank.4
George experienced a number of unfortunate events in his life, one of which occurred in Taree. A fire started in his workshop and it quickly spread, destroying his tools and house, much of which was not insured. In a touching story, a 5 year old neighbour visited him the next morning and handed over her 3 pennies to help him build a new home. George was so moved he took the pennies intending to make them into a trinket for her.5
George’s apprentice, Amy Mackay, became one of only a handful of qualified female dentists at the time.6 In 1906, George handed over his dentistry business to Amy while he stayed on as manager. They operated out of George’s house called ‘Gowan Brae’ opposite the wharf of the North Coast Company, Taree.7
In 1911 George died at his residence and was remembered as a large-hearted man with a positive outlook. His sporting interests helped form early ideas for making The Lakes a tourist region.8
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Victorian Registry of BDM, Birth Index of George Benjamin De Saxe (1856 No. 917); various articles on Trove newspapers.
2 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 1 September 1900.
3 Ibid., 26 September 1900.
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 8 June 1901; Ibid., 7 August 1901.
5 Ibid., 29 August 1903.
6 Government Gazette NSW, Register of Dentists, Amy Mackay 29 July 1907; search of dentistry registers in Government Gazette NSW1901-1910.
7 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 2 October 1907, 2.
8 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer,8 March 1911.
9 Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser,16 September 1899, page 3.