28 March 2009

Culpins down under

Today I want to introduce Millice Culpin & Hannah Munsey, who married on 26th March 1869 at the Congregational Church in Ware, Herts. Millice, one of quite a few with that name, was born in 1846 in Buntingford, the oldest of twelve children of Millice & Sarah (nee Barratt) and was a working currier by the age of 14, when the family were living in Railway Street, Stevenage.

In 1877 he changed careers completely, qualifying as a Doctor and was practicing in Stoke Newington according to the 1881 census. However, in another complete change, he then decided to take the family (Hannah & six children) to Australia, sailing on the New Zealand ship Ruapehu in 1891 to Melbourne. The southern part of the continent plainly wasn’t hot enough so they settled in Queensland, where Millice set up practice in Magull Road, Taringa (according to the Brisbane Courier of 16th June that year). Interestingly another entry in the Brisbane Courier tells us that he wasn’t registered as a Medical Practitioner with the Queensland Medical Board until early August 1891!

At some point I know that Millice became an MP for Brisbane and he & Hannah remained in Taringa. Hannah died in 1934 and Millice in 1941. They are both buried in the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane.

Of their six children the one I feel I “know” the best is Millais Culpin, about whom the book “Letters from Laura” was written by his daughter. He too became a doctor (as did his younger brother Ernest) but his life deserves its own entry in this blog, not just a footnote to his father’s.

Rose Culpin, Millais’s sister, married John Howard Simmonds and became a well-known photographer; their brother Clarence, like his brothers, joined up to fight in the Great War and was sadly killed on the Somme in 1918. Daisy, the youngest of the family, became a headmistress in Brisbane.

Photographs of all of them can be found at the magnificent "Picture Australia", part of the National Library of Australia: http://www.pictureaustralia.org/index.html . Simply type “Culpin” into the search box and then sit back and watch the pictures come up.

More another time.

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