John Arthur WEDDELL (Snr)
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John Arthur WEDDELL (Snr)


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Winifred Ida Louise (Ida) LATIMER

John Arthur WEDDELL (Snr) 98

  • Born: 21 Oct 1902, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 97,99
  • Marriage: Winifred Ida Louise (Ida) LATIMER on 22 Aug 1925 in Methodist Church, Thompson Estate, South Brisbane 97
  • Died: 11 Jul 1980 at age 77 97
  • Buried: (Cremated and ashes scattered), Mount Thompson Crematorium, Nursery Road, Holland Park, Brisbane 100

bullet  Events

• John came to Australia as a seven year old, with his father and mother, and his younger sister, Olive, who was only two years old.

They sailed on the ship SS Perthshire, which left London on Thursday 28th October 1909, exactly one week after John's seventh birthday.

• John and his family arrived in Australia on Thursday 23 December 1909.

• The S. S. Perthshire was the first overseas vessel to enter the Port of Cairns, on 1 December 1913. It was captained on this occasion by Captain J. N. Thompson.

In honour of the occasion, the Mercantile Community of Cairns presented this plaque to the Captain:

"Presented to Captain J. N. Thompson by the Mercantile Community of Cairns, North Queensland as a token of their appreciation of his co-operation in demonstrating the shipping facilities of the Port by Berthing the Steamship "Perthshire" at the Wharves on both outward and homeward voyages

Cairns, 1st December 1913

• The background of the momentous occasion of the S. S. Perthshire being the first overseas steam ship to enter the Port of Cairns is not known, but it certainly was an important event in the Cairns diary.

Captain J. N. Thompson's photograph was recorded on a certificate of appreciation, which is still today located in the office of the Cairns Historical Society.

• In appreciation to Captain Thompson, the Mercantile Community of Cairns presented Captain Thompson with this magnificent canteen of cutlery on the occasion on 1 December 1913.

• John grew up in the Weddell household at Junction Terrace, with his mother, father, and sister Olive.

• John Arthur attended Brisbane Boys Grammar School, as was his son after him, John Arthur Junior.

• John is seen here with his mother, Sarah, and his younger sister Olive.

The family would have been living at Junction Terrace at this time.

• John married Winifred Ida Louse Latimer on 22nd August, 1925.

One witness to John and Ida's marriage was John's younger sister, Olive. Olive was only eighteen when asked to perform this honour.

• The other witness to John and Ida's marriage was a work colleague of John's, William Alan Thompson Summerville.

Alan,an agricultural scientist and public servant, was born on 6 February 1904 at Ipswich, Queensland, seventh of eight children of Ipswich-born parents William Henry Summerville, solicitor, and his wife Annie Agnes, nιe Herbert. He attended Ipswich Grammar School, seen here, for the years 1917 to 1921, where he enjoyed cricket and was a determined, short, compact figure on the Rugby field.

Other distinguished Old Boys from Ipswich Grammar were John Bradfield, Chief Engineer during the construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge and designer of the Brisbane Story Bridge; Charles Chauvel, a cinematographer widely credited with pioneering the Australian film industry; Hugh Cornish, known as the First Face on Queensland Television; Craig McDermott, who played cricket in club, State and Australian test teams; and Vance Palmer, the foremost man of letters of his day. Vance was a novelist, dramatist, short story writer, poet, critic, biographer, editor, political and social commentator and interpreter, his active writing career covered a period of nearly fifty-five years. The Vance Palmer Literary Prize is presented at Ipswich Grammar School each year.

• In 1922, Alan was appointed a 'learner in entomology' under Henry Tryon [q.v.12] in the Department of Agriculture and Stock, Brisbane. He studied part time at the University of Queensland (Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), 1929; Master of Science (M.Sc.), 1933; Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), 1944).

In 1929, Alan was promoted to Assistant Entomologist in the Department of Agriculture and Stock, and was posted to Nambour to work on horticultural crops. At the Methodist Church, Sherwood, on 3 September 1930 he married Ethel May Barker. His early research, reported in the Queensland Agricultural Journal (1934), was on the scale insects of citrus and the spiny and bronze bugs of orange-trees. He found that oil sprays were a more effective means of control than the growers' hazardous method of fumigating with cyanide. While serving with the department he made two extensive overseas visits to the United Kingdom, U.S.A., Canada, and European and Middle East countries. As senior research officer from 1937, he investigated the physiology of the banana plant. He found that the area of leaves available to light interception was a controlling factor in crop growth and inflorescence development.

Alan's work earned him his doctorate.

• Transferred to Brisbane in 1942 to assist the wartime organization of vegetable production, Dr Summerville was made director of horticulture in 1945. Two years later he was appointed director of plant industry: his division embraced agriculture, horticulture, agricultural chemistry, entomology, plant pathology and botany. He advanced applied research in horticulture and pastures, and built up soil conservation teams. In 1957 he was elected president of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science. He became under-secretary of the department in 1958, and its director-general in 1959.

Picture here is an elementary enemy of crops - Bactrocera tryoni, or Queensland fruit fly.

A decisive, quick-witted and articulate administrator, Dr Summerville helped to transform the role of the department from one of regulation to one of providing landholders with effective advice based on sound research. The number of staff increased. Several laboratories and research stations were established to deal with the needs of specific industries. New branches broadened the scope of the department's work in plant, soil and animal science, in economics and in agricultural education.

• Dr Summerville's special contribution lay in his staffing policies. Recruiting men and women from interstate and from British Commonwealth countries, he encouraged them to gain further education and experience overseas, and provided them with opportunities for promotion. His tough and incisive manner concealed a warm-hearted and sensitive concern for individuals' difficulties. He once arranged for a plant-breeder working at Biloela to attend an extension course in Brisbane where his wife was in hospital. Afterwards, the scientist suggested he should return to Biloela to plant his experimental crop. Dr Summerville responded: “Marriott, there are more important things in life than bloody cotton!” On another occasion a scientist presented with some trepidation his proposed overseas itinerary; Summerville insisted that he spend more time in London for his cultural enrichment.

From 1962, Dr Summerville oversaw the development of 360 holdings in Central Queensland on brigalow scrub land. He had good rapport with landholders. When criticized by a farmer over the operation of a pasture improvement scheme, he persuaded the farmer to serve on its executive-committee. Dr Summerville forged strong links with other government departments and agencies, such as the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission, and gave robust, independent advice to his ministers.

• Dr Summerville also served (1956-64) on the Senate of the University of Queensland, which granted him an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) in 1963.

Fred T. Schonell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland:

"Mr Chancellor, it has pleased the Senate to authorise the admission of William Alan Thompson Summerville to the degree of Doctor of Laws "Honoris Causa".

Dr Alan Summerville is a first class scientist and a remarkably able administrator. Educated at Ipswich Grammar School, he graduated as a Bachelor of Science from this University in 1929 and four years later as Master of Science. During forty years of distinguished service in Queensland, he has made an outstanding contribution to agriculture. He worked first as an entomologist and later as a horticulturalist. His scientific knowledge was early used, appropriately enough as a native born "bananalander" on the physiology of the banana plant. The standard of his scientific research earned him the high award of Doctor of Science in this University in 1944.

From 1947 Dr Summerville was Director of the Division of Plant Industry. Now in a forceful commentary on his times, John Milton on "Lycidas" complained that, "the hungry sheep look up and are not fed." But the very antithesis of this metaphor characterised Dr Summerville's care of the State's plant industry. For ten years, under his skilled leadership scientific services to the State were very greatly expanded.

As Director-General of Agriculture, his status is very high, not only in Queensland, but also in Commonwealth and international spheres. He has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian Agricultural Council and to the sugar industry. To this University, Dr Summerville has given none-the-less unstintingly his wise counsel and his scientific advice, and we have reason to be deeply grateful for his generous conception of his duty as a member of the Senate.

All the while Alan Summerville studied the flies and the flowers, the plants and the paddocks, the flocks and the herds, he also studied human nature. He early learnt that there is no garden without its weeds and that one flower makes no garden. All this has served him well in his public relations. Undoubtedly he has been a striking success as an administrator. And the strong support that is so universally given to him stems from his clear thinking, his wise decisions and his warm understanding of men and women.

His penetrating mind combined with his warm humanism coupled with a pretty wit, adroitly applied, has smoothed the way and revealed the answers in many conferences.

Dr Summerville is a great son of Queensland who has brought lustre to his University, and distinction to his State.

Mr Chancellor, I present to you William Alan Thompson Summerville, Doctor of Science, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, Director-General of Agriculture in this State for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws "Honoris Cuasa".

A. E. Axon, Chancellor of the University of Queensland: "William Alan Thompson Summerville, by the authority vested in me and upon the recommendation of the Senate and the assurance of the Vice-Chancellor, I admit you to the rank and privilges of the degree of Doctor of Laws, "Honoris Causa", in the University of Queensland."

Dated this Sixteenth day of December, 1963.

• As Agent-General in London from 1964 to 70, Dr Summerville proved a buoyant, convivial advocate of his State's interests.

Whilst her husband was Agent-General, Mrs Summerville was nominated to represent the Queensland Country Women's Association on the Council of the Associated Country Women of the World, at their 1965 Conference in Dublin.

In 1968, Dr Summerville was knighted for "his outstanding service to primary industry in Australia, particularly to the sugar industry, and for his devotion to duty as a public servant".

Back in Queensland, Sir Alan chaired the Sugar Board from 1970 to 1973. Sir Alan possessed a fine sense of humour, laughed a great deal, and was passionate in the honesty of his dealings with people and in his enthusiasm for the vocation of agricultural science. He had wide cultural and sporting interests, and was fond of early Australian poetry. Survived by his wife and their two daughters, he died on 20 December 1980 at Auchenflower and was cremated with Anglican rites.

• John purchased a block of land at 188 Ekibin Road, Annerley, and had a house built, and later extended, in which he raised his family.

The house was named "Myrilla".

• Annerley was named after the township of Annerley in the County of Surrey by the Hon. Digby Denham, an early Queensland premier. It was originally known as Stephens Shire after Thomas Blackett Stephens.

Back in 1857, Thomas Blackett Stephens acquired 76 ha of what is now Ekibin. He established a fellmongery business in 1862. Later a farming business was added and became one of the largest in the district. Thomas was also involved in politics and represented South Brisbane from July 1863. Thomas died in 1877.

Ekibin is an unbounded locality within the Brisbane suburb of Tarragindi. The name Ekibin is an aboriginal word apparently meaning "good eating place", and refers to the aquatic grasses with edible roots which grew in or near Ekibin Creek.

• It is not known why the house that John built was named "Myrilla".

One theory is that Myrilla trilineata, an insect, would have somehow sparked his imagination.

• Or perhaps Myrilla similis?

• John Arthur Weddell Senior was a noted Entomologist in the Queensland Government. Since 1923, he had worked for the Department of Agriculture and Stock in Entomological Research (Applied). He left this work in 1942 to enlist in the Australian Army.

• The many publications John authored in his time with the Departement included:

Banana fruit-eating caterpillar [1930]

Termites (white ants) [1933]

House fly [1934]

Recent army worm outbreak [1936?]

Grasshopper outbreak in Queensland - 1934-35 [1937?]

Wonderful world of the bees [1940]

Banana weevil borer [1945]

New beekeeping legislation: the Apiaries Act of 1947 (with C.R.R. Roff) [1947]

Commercial use of dichloroethyl-ether for the control of cheese mites (with L. E. Nichols) [1949?]

Control of mites at cheese factories and cold stores (with L.E. Nichols) [1950]

As recently as 1981, one of his co-authors produced a further publication - a series of 20 monographs - as follows: Messel, H., G.C. Vorlicek, A.G. Wells, W.J. Green, H.S. Curtis, C.R.R. Roff, C.M. Weaver and A. Johnson. 1981 "Surveys of Tidal Waterways on Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia, and their Crocodile Populations", published by Pergamon Press Ltd, Oxford, England, and Sydney, Australia.

• Service Record
Service Australian Army
Service Number Q141100
Date of Birth 21 Oct 1902
Date of Enlistment 13 Apr 1942
Locality on Enlistment ANNERLEY, QLD
Place of Enlistment BRISBANE, QLD
Date of Discharge 28 Nov 1943
Rank Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge 1 AUST INF SPECT GP
WW2 Honours and Gallantry None for display
Prisoner of War No

• John Arthur Weddell's Service Number was Q141100, his birth date is recorded by the Services as 21 October 1902, born in Newcastle on Tyne. His Place of Enlistment was Exhibition, Brisbane, and Esk. He had listed Winnifred Ida Louse Weddell, his wife, as his Next of Kin. He included an extra "n" in Winifred. He was a Lieutenant.

John was called up and taken on strength to the 1 Aust Chemical Warfare Company, Brisbane on 13 April 1942. He then served at the Chermside and Wagga NSW Battalions.

• John is seen here at the wedding of his son, John Arthur Weddell Junior, in 1950.

• John Arthur Snr and Ida (Winifred Ida Louise) lived in a large house called "Myrilla", at 188 Ekibin Road, Annerley.

This house had a piano, a superb grand-father clock, bay windows with spacious floor area, and a well tended garden, with fruit trees in the back yard. On the northern side of the house was a lush fernery.

Ida would regularly "have the ladies in for cards", serving delicately sliced corned beef and mustard sandwiches.

• John was steadfastly against the controversial introduction of the cane toad into Queensland, as he believed that this would be to the detriment and indeed destruction of other fauna.

His keen interest in nature and the world of insects gave him a solid foundation for this opposition, as he realised that the balance of nature would be irrevocably upset.

• Hugh Lunn, a popular local writer, wrote "Over the Top with Jim", his life in early suburban Annerley.

His father, Frederick, had a pastry and grocer shop at 488 Annerley Road. This site is now a real estate office.

Many humorous tales were to be told about the Lunn family. Co-incidentally, Hugh's family also had a lady called "Olive".

• As well as his humourous book about growing up in Annerley, every week Hughie writes a column, "My Backyard", in Queensland's Sunday Mail "Homefront" section, which they hide inside "Escape".

Hugh Lunn is now writing a book about our lost language.

He's looking for old words and phrases which have drifted out of our everyday life, now that we all talk in American sit-com speak.

Hughie started collecting these after he finished Over the Top with Jim, and he threw each one into Fred's old port (that's an old suitcase) which he keeps under the duchess (that's a dressing table) next to his swimming togs (they're bathers or swimmers or cossies). He's got about 5,000 words and phrases so far.

But he's always on the look out for more. So if anyone wants to donate any old words and phrases, please send them to him

• It is remembered that John would remark that the family is related to the famous James Weddell, the English explorer, naturalist, geographer, and sealer.

James Weddell (1787-1834) was a seal hunter and explorer who went further south towards Antarctica than anyone until the 1850s. The Weddell Sea, the big indentation in the northern Antarctic coastline, is named after him.

A career sailor who spent more of his life on the ocean than on land, Weddell joined the Navy when he was nine and was a Master by the age of 28. He joined the merchant service four years later and was given command of a 160-ton sealing brig to take on an expedition to the South Shetland Islands.

He took the brig Jane on three Antarctic voyages. The first lasted from 1819 to 1821. The second voyage, on which he left shortly after he returned from the first, enabled him to visit the island of South Georgia, the Falklands, the South Shetland Islands and the South Orkneys which he named. The Jane had a crew of 22 men and was accompanied by the Beaufoy commanded by Captain Matthew Brisbane and with a crew of 13.

• Weddell was a brilliant map-maker and, like Captain James Cook, was a gifted leader. His crew were ready to follow him whatever the difficulties they encountered.

It was on his third voyage, from 1822 to 1824, that Weddell achieved the remarkable feat of going further south than anyone before. He took advantage of exceptional weather conditions to reach 75 degrees south - more than 200 miles south of the latitude achieved by Captain Cook. This was in February 1823 and his account of what happened was published three years later: A Voyage Towards the South Pole. Both the Jane and the Beaufoy made the great journey south. They eventually returned to England in July 1824.

Weddell died a young man. He was injured when a vessel of which he was master was shipwrecked in the Azores five years after his third voyage. Weakened by the experience, he died, relatively poor and with no family, at the age of 47.


CAPTAIN JAMES WEDDELL - Died on the 9th inst., in Norfolk-street, in the Strand, in the 47th year of his age, James Weddell, Esq., F.R.S.E. . . . The many valuable additions made to our stock of nautical knowledge by him will serve to perpetuate the merits of this intrepid and un-ostentatious seaman, and enrol his name in the list of the most distinguished of our British navigators. Captain Weddell, it will be recollected, is the officer who in the Jane sealing vessel penetrated the southern regions towards the Pole to a higher degree of latitude than any adventurer who has preceded him in that dangerous career.


John married Winifred Ida Louise (Ida) LATIMER, daughter of Walter Edward LATIMER and Annie Elizabeth POTTER, on 22 Aug 1925 in Methodist Church, Thompson Estate, South Brisbane.97 (Winifred Ida Louise (Ida) LATIMER was born on 24 Aug 1903 in Andover, Hampshire, England,97,116 died on 26 Aug 1984 in Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane 97 and was buried (Cremated and ashes scattered) in Mount Thompson Crematorium, Nursery Road, Holland Park, Brisbane 100.)


• The officiating minister at John and Ida's wedding was Albert E. Fox, of the Methodist Church, Thompson Estate, South Brisbane.

Albert was born in London, in 1865, and entered the ministry in 1887, at the age of twenty-two . He would have been sixty years old when he married John and Ida, who were only twenty-two and twenty-four respectively.

Albert married Alice Mary Matilda Rosser in 1888, somewhere in country Queensland. Their children were Elsie May (born 26 August 1889), Stanley Claude (born 16th January 1893), and Dorothy Lillian (born 17th September 1894). All children were born in Queensland, with little Stanley being born in Brisbane.

Albert died on 5th April, 1935, and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.

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