BOSCH, George Henry (1861-1934)


BOSCH, George Henry (1861-1934)
merchant and philanthropist
was born at Solomon's Flat, near Beechworth, Victoria, on 18 February 1861. His father belonged to a Dutch family which migrated to Hamburg and became prosperous merchants. His mother was Bavarian. George Bosch was educated at a private school at Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, and was then apprenticed to a watchmaker. He went to Sydney in 1881 and with his father's help, established a small watchmaker's business. He began importing watchmakers' and jewellers' supplies, and about 1884 joined forces with E. Barthel, who had a similar business, under the name of Bosch, Barthel and Company. The importing of dental and opticians' supplies was added in 1885, and the business became the largest of its kind in Australia. In 1894 Bosch bought Barthel's interest in the business, which continued to progress and expand with branches in Melbourne and Brisbane. Working very hard and living simply, Bosch became very wealthy, and he quietly gave away considerable sums of money. His first public gift was a large donation to the dreadnought fund in 1909. He had a breakdown in 1915 due to overwork, and henceforth had to go more quietly. In 1924 he gave a sum of £1000 to the university of Sydney for research on paralysis. This was followed in 1925 by £2000 for cancer research, and in 1928 £27,000 was given to establish a chair in histology and embryology, and £1500 for the purchase of apparatus for the anatomy department. In October 1929, £220,000 in city properties and securities was transferred to the university to establish full time chairs in medicine surgery and bacteriology, and for the building and equipping of laboratories or the promotion of medical and surgical knowledge. Another large donation was £10,000 to Trinity Grammar School, Sydney, and he contributed largely to the upkeep of the Millewa boys' home and the Windsor boys' farm. Though he practically retired in 1924, he had another breakdown in 1928, but after a long holiday in the east, he came back in much improved health. In July 1932 the university received a further sum of £6000. He died at Sydney on 30 August 1934. He married in 1929, Gwendoline Jupp, who had nursed him through an illness. She survived him with two sons. After providing for legacies and a life interest for his widow, further substantial benefits will eventually accrue to the university of Sydney. A portrait of Bosch by Lambert (q.v.) is in the great hall at the university, and there is a memorial window at St John's church, Gordon, Sydney.
Bosch was a keen business man, whose only recreation was walking until he took up golf in middle life. He looked upon his wealth as a responsibility and gave much thought to his benefactions, his chief desire being that he might alleviate human suffering.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 and 4 September 1934; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1940; private information; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.