Vale John Isaac Swann (1887 – 1963)

The sudden death of the President of the St. George Historical Society, Mr. J. I. Swann, has left in our ranks a large gap which will be extremely difficult to fill. Since its inception some two years ago, Mr. Swann was the driving force and inspiration of this Society.

Those of us who were privileged to know him away from meetings of the Society, as a friend and as a neighbour, cannot speak too highly of this very forthright, public-spirited and far-sighted old gentleman whose love for the history of the St. George and Parramatta Districts was infectious.

Perhaps this is not surprising when it is realised that it was Mr. Swann’s schoolteacher father who many years ago rescued derelict Elizabeth Farm House at Parramatta, Australia’s oldest and most historic building from the hands of the demolisher and raised a large family within its walls.

Mr. Swann’s eldest sister, Miss Margaret Swann, whose death was announced only last week, founded the Parramatta Historical Society. For many years she was its President and the late James Jervis, its secretary.

Many tributes have already been paid to Mr. Swann in the various capacities in which he served this community and it remains only for this Society, which he founded and which absorbed his time and his interest in the last years of his life, to say John Isaac Swann, we honour you.

This article was first published in the June 1963 edition of our magazine.

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