George Devine Treloar

September 6, 2015

TRELOAR, George Devine- – – – SPC 1900

DoB: – – 23 April, 1884, Ballarat

Father:- – Thomas Reid Treloar, chemist

Mother:- – Jane, nee Devine

George’s father, Thomas Reid Treloar was born in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg in 1852, and after finishing school, became apprenticed to a leading chemist in Melbourne. At the end of his apprenticeship, he moved to Bendigo where he was engaged as an assistant chemist in one of the main shops, and later was employed as a dispenser and manager at a Dr McGillivray’s private dispensary.

By 1880, Thomas had moved to Ballarat, where he was appointed dispenser and manager of the newly established Friendly Societies’ Dispensary, which became a pronounced success under his management, and was the precursor to what we know as UFS pharmacies today.

From his youth, Thomas had a passion for the stage, and would have devoted his life to acting pursuits, were it not for the opposition of his parents. While he continued, and excelled at, his pharmacological career, Thomas devoted a large portion of his energy to several drama clubs. He became a prominent member of the Philanthropic Dramatic Club of Bendigo for the many years that he lived there. He married Jane Devine in 1879, in Bendigo, whose father was considered -‘the best amateur comedian in the colony’. Jane also had talent, performing the characters of Ophelia, Cordelia and Portia to great acclaim. The couple moved to Ballarat in 1880, and Thomas established the Ballarat Dramatic Society. The society met regularly at the Treloar’s home, -‘Elsinore’, in Pleasant Street.

Thomas and Jane’s son, George Treloar attended St Patrick’s College in 1900, and was mentioned in the Prize Lists of that year having been awarded a book prize for his commendable results in Sub-Matriculation.

After leaving St Patrick’s, George worked as a bank clerk in Ballarat for five years. He then travelled to Western Australia and worked initially as a jackaroo, before moving into farming.

His career took an interesting turn when George was recruited by actor-manager, Julius Knight, an idol of the Australasian theatre. Perhaps we can assume that George’s parents were supportive of their son’s move into acting and provided backing and encouragement for him to pursue this career. George commenced touring Australia playing in romantic dramas. He toured with Knight’s troupe in South Africa and then England, where he was acting when war broke out in 1914.

Service No:- 75234 (UK)

Rank:- – Private, later Captain

Unit:- – 20th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers, later Coldstream Guards

George Devine Treloar joined the British army in 1915 as a private, and then gained a transfer to the Coldstream Guards. He served in France, and was commissioned and after some time, promoted to the rank of Major, Second-in-Command of the 3rd Battalion. George Treloar was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Military Cross (MC), after actions on the Somme which caused him to be twice buried by shell bursts, and almost bullet-ridden at Ypres.

The Launceston Daily Telegraph of 11 January 1917, reported:

-‘Young Ballarat Actor -“ A Captain in the Coldstream Guards.

Among the members of the theatrical profession who forsook the stage for the army on the outbreak of war was Mr George D Treloar, of Ballarat, for whom a successful career on the stage was predicted -¦ But the young actor dropped his profession without hesitation immediately the war cloud burst to play his part in the greater -game-. His rise in the army has been quite as rapid as his best friend predicted would be his progress on the stage. He first of all enlisted in an aviation corps under Grahame White, but subsequently transferred to the Coldstream Guards, in which crack unit he now holds a commission as Captain. The last letter received from Captain Treloar, dated November 3 [1916], indicated that he was in the best of health and spirits -¦’

After the war, in 1919 Treloar joined the British Mission to the White Russian (pro-Tsarist) armies as assistant military secretary. When this mission withdrew from Constantinople, he served with the Tsarist army as a colonel. However, the White Russians were defeated, and Treloar was appointed to command a British camp for Russian refugees at Toulsa on the Sea of Marmara. He worked for two years voluntarily and continuously, endeavouring to improve the hardship and sufferings of these Russian refugees. He was awarded the Russian Order of St Vladimir with Crossed Swords and Bow, the Order of St Stanislaus, and St Anne (Tsarist Russia).

Treloar became a representative of the League of Nations High Commissariat for Refugees in northern Greece, and between 1922 and 1926 was engaged in the resettlement of over 108,000 refugees. For his humanitarian efforts, he was awarded the Order of the Redeemer (gold cross). The refugee village Thrilorion was named after him. He also met Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the -‘Father of the Turks’.

On 27 December, 1923, George Treloar married Kathleen May Douch in Constantinople. The couple had two children, a daughter, Elizabeth Kathleen born in 1925 in Salonica (Thessalonica), and a son, John Alexander Devine, born a year later in 1926, also in Salonica. George returned to Australia in 1927 to seek work, after severe financial loss in a fraudulent investment. Kathleen and the two children arrived in Australia eight years later. Their third child was born, David William George, in 1936 in Perth, Western Australia.

In the intervening years before Kathleen joined him in Australia, George Treloar had sold insurance and sought business opportunities in Queensland, before unsuccessfully contesting a seat in the NSW Legislative Assembly for the United Australia Party. He then founded his own short-lived movement, the Civic Legion. By 1935, the family were living in Western Australia where George managed several mining enterprises. He gained a reputation for trenchant radio commentaries on foreign affairs and for his program, -‘Perth Speaks’. He was considered a handsome man with a commanding presence, forthright speech and strongly held conservative views. He stood unsuccessfully for a seat in the Legislative Council in 1950, and worked tirelessly for the Liberal and Country League until 1956.

George Devine Treloar died on 29 November 1980 at Dalkeith, Western Australia, at the age of 96 years. He was buried in the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth. He was survived by his wife Kathleen, and his two sons.