See was a self-made man of strong character, an excellent business man and a sound politician. He was well regarded by both sides of politics, for Labour politicians remembered that during his administration the establishment of the State clothing factory had a great influence in abolishing sweating, and that women"s suffrage was also introduced. used both surnames. On the family move to Australia they no longer used the "Seekings" surname.
After three years at school See worked on the family farm, but in 1863 took up land with a brother on the Clarence River.
In 1865, following disastrous floods, he went to Sydney and began business as a produce dealer. The business flourished under the name of John See and Company.
See was a shrewd investor and became very well known in business circles in Sydney. See built a mansion in the Sydney suburb of Randwick and served on Randwick Council as alderman and mayor.
He became a director of several well-known companies, a trustee of the Savings Bank of New South Wales, and president of the Royal Agricultural Society.
In 1891, his shipping line had 14 steamships when it merged with another line to form the North Coast Steam Navigation Company Limited and he remained its joint managing director until his death. He also acquired property throughout the state, including Yester Grange.
See entered politics in 1880 as member for Grafton and remained its member until he retired in 1904.
In October 1885 he joined the George Dibbs government as Postmaster-General, but Dibbs was defeated before the end of the year. See was not in office again until October 1891 when he became for nearly three years Colonial Treasurer in the third Dibbs ministry.
He was in charge of the bill which brought in the first protectionist tariff in New South Wales. The whole of his period as Treasurer was marked by much financial stress throughout Australia.
From August 1894 until September 1899 Reid was in power, but when William Lyne came in, See was his Colonial Secretary.
On Lyne transferring to federal politics in March 1901, See became Premier and held office until 1904. His government passed the Industrial Arbitration Acting in 1901 and the Female Suffrage Acting in 1902. On the other hand, poor economic conditions and drought forced the government to abandon an ambitious public works program
He accepted a seat in the Legislative Council, but was unable afterwards to exercise much influence in politics.
See died at Randwick, Sydney on 31 January 1907.