Dr George Sly (1864-1934) was one of Sydney’s most prominent solicitors. He resided in Strathfield from the mid-1880s to 1928. Dr Sly practiced for over 60 years until his retirement in 1928. It is estimated that he had 20,000 clients over the course of his career.
Sly was the son of colonial cabinetmaker Joseph Sly. He was born in Pitt Street Sydney in 1864. He received his early education at Calder House at Redfern. He passed on to the University of Sydney, where he took the degrees of BA , MA, LLB, and LLD. His brothers Richard Meares Sly (1849-1929) and Joseph David Sly (1844-1934) wre also educated in law and graduated from University of Sydney. Richard Meares Sly was a judge and resident of Strathfield and Burwood and Dr J. David Sly, headmaster and solicitor, who established the ill-fated Eton College in Redmyre Rd Strathfield from 1888-1892.
For a number of years he engaged in legal private practice, then he entered into partnership with Messrs Spain and Roxburgh. Mr Roxburgh withdrew, and the partnership continued for some time, under the firm name of Spain and Sly. Later the partnership was dissolved, and Sly and Hamilton became the designation. Then a third member was admitted, and the firm of solicitors practised under the title of Sly, Hamilton, and Russell, until in 1888, another dissolution altered the firm name to Sly and Russell. This firm is now the Sydney office of the law firm Deacons.
Sly was personally acquainted and associated with such well-known figues of Commonwealth history as W. B. Dalley, Chief Justice Sir Frederick Darley, Mr. Justice Long Innes, Sir Julian Salemans, Mr. Justice Windeyer, Mr. John Henry Want, while he had briefed such men as Sir William Cullen and Sir James Marlin.
One of Sly’s chief interests was promotion of Freemasonary. He was a member of Lodge Harmony and at one stage was Deputy Grand Master for New South Wales. At the time of his death, he was a member of the committee of the Masonic schools and of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales.
Sly was a member of the Church of England and took a keen interest in the local Church.
Sly resided at ‘Glen Luna’ 2-4 Carrington Ave Strathfield from 1887 but also built and owned ‘Halsbury’ 12-14 Albyn Road Strathfield. He maintained a country residence at Bowral, NSW. After his retirement, he moved to Darling Point where he died. He was cremated at Rookwood Cemetery.
He was survived by his widow Mrs.Florence Sly, by a son, Mr. George Lyell Sly, and by four daughters, Mrs. Harold White, Mrs. Elma Pearse, Mrs. Harry Piper, and Miss Lorna Sly.
‘Death of Dr G J Sly’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 May 1934 p10
‘Dr G J Sly (Funeral)’, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 1934, p13
Mitchell, Bruce, ‘Sly, Joseph David (1844–1934)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976
‘Solicitor Retires.’ The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) 25 Jul 1928: 6. Web. 5 Aug 2011.
Cathy Jones. (c) Cathy Jones 2011