George James Powell Finlayson
George Finlayson was born in 1879 into one of the early families of Berrima. His grandfather, James Powell, was a much respected storekeeper and postmaster whose daughter Mary married English-born sea captain, George Finlayson. The family lived at Allington in Berrima, built in 1840 as the Queen Victoria Inn on the Market Place. George was educated at Harrow in England and later at Trinity College, Cambridge. He served with the NSW Mounted Rifles and the NSW Bushmen in the Boer War before returning to Australia. When war was declared George immediately volunteered. He sailed with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force for New Guinea on HMAT Berrima in August 1914 and was stationed at Rabaul until March 1915.
After his return from New Guinea, George transferred to the AIF as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 35th Battalion. In March 1916, he was selected for the first AIF Officers Training School conducted at the Royal Military College Duntroon, a short course aimed at ensuring a uniform standard of instruction for officers throughout Australia. He left Australia on HMAT Borda in October 1916 and served both in England and France. He was awarded the French Silver Medal of Honour with Swords for his service in New Guinea.
George’s younger brother, Frank Lewis Wade Finlayson, also served. He first enlisted in England in 1907, returning to Australia on HMAS Melbourne. He was on escort duty with the 1st Australian Convoy to Egypt in 1914. Frank returned to Australia medically unfit but continued on shore duty at Williamstown Naval Base until January 1919.
Geroge was a pastoralist, working as a station manager both before and after the war, including a period on the famous merino stud, Boonooke Station in the Riverina. He did not marry and died in Victoria in 1938.