G4 2 Arthur Rowland Sullivan

This article is about Arthur Rowland Sullivan, grandson of Timothy Sullivan, and second child and first son of Richard Wearne Sullivan, born in Ridleyton, a suburb of Adelaide, in 1877, and sadly orphaned in Kadina by 1887.

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Arthur was the second child and first son of Richard Wearne Sullivan and Susan Harris. His older sister was Gertrude Ida Sullivan. Father Richard died in Kadina in 1879, and mother Susan subsequently remarried John Berryman Williams, a railway worker. Arthur became an orphan some time after his mother Susan’s early death in 1887 by when he would have been about 10, and then in the care of step father John Williams with half sister Edith Muriel Williams.

In 1897 John Williams was transferred in his employment with the South Australian Railways from Moonta to Adelaide. Family history suggests arond that time Arthur may have lived in North Adelaide and worked in a grocers shop there before becoming unemployed and deciding, for some reason as yet unknown, to head west to Perth. Whilst in Adelaide he had developed a close relationship with Edith Alice Allen (parents William Allen and wife Thirzge Elizabeth nee Doddridge) also of North Adelaide, and once he was employed and able to support a family, Edith joined Arthur in Perth where Arthur, grocers assistant aged 25 married Edith Allen, dressmaker aged 24 in Bassendean on 08/10/1902. (1)

Arthur and Edith had two daughters in Perth, Gertrude Ida Sullivan born on 23/06/1907 and Marjorie Sullivan born in 1909 and who died as a baby that same year.

DCP 0058

Arthur continued as a grocer in various Perth suburbs until about 1916. Sometime shortly thereafter the family moved from the grocery business in Perth to Wyndham where Arthur eventually became manager of the local meatworks.

In 1921 they left Wyndham to move to Wyalkatchem in the central wheat belt some 300 kms north east of Perth. Arthur was a district pioneer and took over the general store, running the grocery, insurance and GMH agency which he developed whilst Edith managed the drapery section. Gertrude Ida was sent to convent school in Perth as a 15 year old to complete her education, and returning to Wyalkatchem helped her mother in the drapery store.

Artists impression of the Wyalkatchem store
Courtesy of Barrie White

As Arthur’s Wyalketchem business expanded, he decided to hire a fulltime accountant/store manager. He settled on Fremantle born Thomas Alphonsus White who at the time was working in the Nungarin store a few kilometres to the east. Sharing both age and interests with Gertrude, romance flourished, Thomas proposed, and were married, both aged 22, in St Mary’s Roman Catholic cathedral in Perth on 27/0/1930. 

ARSandGIPArthur remained at Wyalkatchem until the early 1950s when he retired and moved back to Perth to 173 Perth Rd, Bassendean.

His sister Gertrude visited around 1950, and Gertrude’s son Rowland visited shortly thereafter.

The photo shows daughter Gertrude Ida White standing next to her father Arthur Rowland, and behind her mother Edith Alice. Gertrude Ida Painter is seated in front of her brother. The picture was taken at 173 Perth Rd Bassendean WA around 1950.


Photo courtesy of Barrie White

Daughter Gertrude Ida, who now called herself Ida, around 1952 moved with her husband to Adelaide, and Arthur and Edith made several visits to Adelaide by train. On their final trip to Adelaide his wife Edith aged 77 died suddenly at her daughter’s home on 31/10/1954. Arthur returned to Perth, sold the Bassendean Rd property, and moved across to Adelaide to live with his daughter and family. His health declined, and he eventually requiring special care entered the Lourdes Valley aged hostel at Glen Osmond where he died aged 85 on 02/12/1962, cause of death being old age and heart failure. In his will Arthur left his entire estate to (Gertude) Ida.