Mr George Thomas (left)

Mr Thomas (left) being presented to the Governor of Queensland, Sir Henry Abel Smith by Ald. G.C. Sykes president of the Gympie R.SL sub branch.

Mr. George Thomas, one of Gympie's best-known citizens, was born on July 29, 1889. Apart from a penchant for Local history, soldiering has always been in his blood. In 1911, he gained his commission as a lieutenant in the Wide Bay Regiment and the following year was appointed area officer with 450 cadets under his command.

When World I War broke out, he left Australia with the 9th Battalion — the first infantry battalion to go overseas from Queensland. After training at Cairo, the battalion took part in the Gallipoli landing, where Mr Thomas was badly wounded. He was invalided back to Cairo and then to Australia, spending eight months in hospital.

After convalescence, he re- enlisted with the 41st Battalion in 1916 and saw service in France where he rose to the rank of captain. He served four months as instructor with the 4th Army before returning to Australia in August, 1919.

Mr Thomas resumed his post as area officer for 18 months, and subsequently entered business on his own account in Mary Street in June, 1921. Without previous aldermanic experience, he won the Mayoral election in 1924 and served for one three-year term. He did not seek re-election for health reasons.

In World War II he was a major in charge of 12th Battalion, V.N.C, and in 1944 was awarded the Efficiency Decoration. He was also manpower officer in Gympie throughout the war. Mr Thomas was a foundation member of the Returned Soldiers' League in Queensland, having attended the meeting at which the organisation had its birth during his convalescence in Brisbane in September, 1915. He served as president, treasurer (32 years), and trustee (39 years) of the Gympie R.S.L. sub-branch and marshalled every Anzac Day procession in Gympie between 1924-1958.  He was also president are the Chamber of Commerce, and Golf Club (of which he was also patron for more than 10 years). He was a member of the Fire Brigade Board for many years and in 1964 stepped down after 42 years as president of the Gympie Rifle Club.

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