John George Davies (known as George) was born in Melbourne in 1846 and was educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and The Hutchins and High Schools, Hobart. At 17 he joined the Hobart Town Volunteer Rifles, the start of a distinguished career in the local defence forces and as a sportsperson. He entered his father's newspaper business, the Hobart Mercury, as an 'office boy', but trained as a journalist and advanced to become general manager, a position he later relinquished in favour of his brother Charles. In 1866-68 he captained Tasmanian cricket teams touring other Australian colonies and New Zealand. He went on to found the Southern Tasmanian Cricket Association and wrote cricketing articles for the Tasmanian Mail.

In 1868 Davies married Sarah Ann Pearce. They had seven children before she died in 1888.

The brothers took over the Mercury entirely in 1871, months before their father died. It became the colony's most dominant newspaper and printing works under their management and reatained its conservative focus.

Davies devoted much of his time to public affairs. In 1883 he organized the Juvenile Industrial Exhibition in Hobart, in 1888 was in charge of the Tasmanian Industrial Court at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition and the following year was honorary commissioner for Tasmania at the Paris Exhibition. He was also a Justice of the Peace.

In 1884 Davies became an alderman in the Hobart City Council, and served six terms as mayor before his retirement in 1901. He was named as Mayor of Hobart on an 1897 medal issued to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria (NU 34783). In 1909 he was a successful candidate in the newly formed division of Denison. He was deeply conservative and a member of the Liberal Party, but chose not to enter government because of sensitivity to accusations of bias due to his newspaper interests. Davies was appointed CMG in 1901 and knighted in 1909. In spite of his Jewish ancestry, Davies was also active in the Freemasons, and was deputy grand master in 1896-1914 and past grand master in 1910.

In 1891 Davies married again, this time to Constance Charlotte Giblin. They had two sons. In the 1890s and early 1900s Davies was an office-holder in both the Tasmanian and national rifle associations.

Davies died of kidney disease in 1912, at the age of 66.

Australian Dictionary of Biography website

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