George Colville McKinlay was born in Launceston on 14 Apr 1875, the eldest child of Gilbert Tennent McKinlay (1851-1937), a draper, and Anne Colville (c.1852-1904). George was educated at E A Nathan's Launceston High School at Milton Hall in Frederick Street. He entered the soft goods trade, had experience in Melbourne, returned to Tasmania and opened at Queenstown a branch of McKay, Sampson & McKinlay, of which his father was a partner. He returned to Launceston by 1902 and became the director of McKinlay's Pty Ltd in 1921.
George married Susan Henty McKay in Launceston on 11 Apr 1898. They had two children. Their daughter Enid Colville was born on 19 Aug 1900 at Queenstown. She married Ivan Nello Holyman in 1924. Gilbert Colville was born on 16 May 1912. He joined the firm of McKinlay's in 1928 and became managing director in 1961. Susan died on 28 Dec 1950. George married a second time, to Kathleen Lakin in 1952.
Active in community affairs, George was chairman of the Tasmanian Permanent Executors and Trustees Association; chairman and director of the Launceston Savings Investment and Building Society; director of the Mutual Fire and General Insurance Co. of Tasmania; foundation member of the Retail Traders Association; life member of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce; elder of Chalmers Church; patron of Launceston Art Society; played golf and bowls, and during the Second World War was involved with various patriotic organisations.
From 1902 until 1916 George and Susan lived in their new home 'Penghana', 41 West Tamar Road, Trevallyn, designed by A H Masters. George died aged 86 on 4 Jun 1961 and was buried at Carr Villa in Section F No. 328 after a service at Chalmers Church. His parents and sister Ella are also in the Launceston Family Album.