Sir Geoffrey Syme 1873 - 1942
Managing Editor of "The Age" and "The Leader" newspapers from 1908 until 1942
This photograph of Geoffrey Syme is dated 1908

Geoffrey Syme died on 30th July 1942. He had been an Age journalist since 1892, first as a cadet, later as a senior journalist. In 1902 he became Editor of the newly founded weekly paper Every Saturday, the forerunner of the Saturday Age. On the death of his father David Syme on the 14th February 1908 he became Managing Editor of The Age and responsible for the editorial policy of the paper. His father's will had given him a position that was senior to that of his elder brother, Herbert Syme, who was Business Manager of the The Age and responsible for the financial side of the business.

Those who write in general terms about The Age's editorial policy during the years 1908-1942 should remember the difficulties of these years. David Syme's era was comparatively peaceful. He did not have to deal with problems resulting from the First World War, the growing importance of political philosophies such as Fascism and Communism, the Russian Revolution, the Depression, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Nor should those writers forget that the Federal Parliament moved from Melbourne to Canberra, and in consequence there was less access to Federal Parliamentarians. They should also recall that in 1908 Geoffrey Syme had to depend on the cable services for overseas news and that during the two wars and the Depression it would have been almost impossible to update the presses and the technology for the printing of the paper. He did not live to see the huge post-war development in newspaper technology.

The Syme and Mackinnon clans spread out in more and more chiffon circles every day. Their number at the Wrixon party was appalling. The recently arrived wife of Geoffrey Syme is the fairest member of the big clan. She is “quite English you know,” young, petite, plesant looking with a taste in frocking, and a manner. At this affair she wore an uncommon black silky dress with blue embossed flowers sprinkled there, a well considered toque went with it. Geoffrey is back on the Age staff.

Punch Melbourne March 1902

This sort of comment  made Violet Syme unpopular with her rather plainer sisters-in-law.
Violet Addison Syme shortly after her wedding

Geoffrey Syme married his eighteen-year-old English bride Violet Addison Garnett in January 1902. She was the daughter of Tom Garnett of Clitheroe, the granddaughter of James Garnett of Waddow Hall, Waddington, and Thomas Garnett of Oakwood Hall, Bingley, and the great-granddaughter of Jeremiah Garnett of Low Moor. Amongst her great–great-uncles were Peter Garnett of Otley, Richard Garnett of the British Museum and Jeremiah Garnett of the Manchester Guardian.

From A.H. Spencer's "The Hill of Content." (1959) page 31.
"One of the most eager women readers I have known was the late Lady Syme, and she fairly loved a talk about fine books. This charming lady would go right down on her knees to make sure she had not missed something worthwhile on the bottom shelves and then move along on her knees! I counted it a blessing whenever Lady Syme entered my bookshop; she was as beautiful as she was charming, well-read and always cheerful. The sight of fine books called to something fine in her and she shone with enthusiasm."

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