G6 13 Richard Kimpton Sullivan

This article is about Richard Kimpton Sullivan, a great great grandson of Timothy Sullivan, through great grandfather Samuel Grose Sullivan, grandfather Wilf Sullivan, and father Phillip Grose Sullivan. 


Richard Kimpton Sullivan was the first child born to Phillip Grose Sullivan and his wife Shirley (nee Staley). He was born in Sydney in November 1948, and younger siblings Andrew, Catherine and Rober followed.

Richard's parents were both Adelaide born, but he was born in Sydney in 1948 as that is where his father first found work as an industrial chemist after his discharge from the Navy. Kimpton is a family name on his mother's side. After several years the young family moved back to Adelaide, then returned to Sydney around 1954 as father Phil's working reqirements changed. Richard was the first born of four children, and the first grandchild to Wilf Sullivan and wife Addy.


Richard was Educated initially at Rose Park Primary School in Adelaide, then Gordon Public School on Sydney's north shore, before completing his last two years primary school and first three years of secondary school at Knox Grammar School at Wahroonga. The family moved back to Adelaide at the end of 1963 with another change to his father's employment, and Richard completed his secondary schooling at Prince Alfred College. He was fortunate to receive a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of Adelaide where he graduated in 1970 with an Honours Degree in Chemical Engineering.

Circa 1970 Photo of Phillip Grose Sullivan, Richard Kimpton Sullivan, Robert John Sullivan and Andrew Phillip Sullivan.
Photo courtesy of R Sullivan.

The Engineering Degree was followed up with a Masters Degree in Business Management in 1980 after 7 years part-time study. 

Richard's first job was with ICI Australia in Adelaide, in many ways mirroring his father's first job at the ICI Australia complex in Botany in Sydney. Some of those men who had worked with his father in 1949 were still there when Richard joined in 1969. After 10 years with the Company in Adelaide, he was promoted to the Melbourne Head Office where he workd on strategic planning and corporate distribution until late 1985 when he was offered the chance to return to the business in Adelaide in a business services role.  This did not work out, and he left in 1987 to start a series of short to medium term management roles that lasted until his retirement in 2013. His nature was that of a fixer, and he gravitated to roles where there were problems, or where previous managemet had left without an internal succession. The range of roles filled in medium sized enterprises ranged from managing director to human resources manager in mainly manufacturing businesses, although towards the end of his career he worked more in the not-for-profit sector.

In 1970 Richard married Claire Octoman, a farmer's daughter from Eyre Peninsula and Arts student who he met at the University of Adelaide. They had a daughter Laura Kimpton Sullivan in 1975, and a son Thomas Richard Sullivan in 1978.  Both children are now married and there are two grandchildren. Richard and Claire divorced in 1992, and he remarried in 1995 to Carol Denise Fleming. 

Richard was sports minded but not physically gifted until he found his niche in distance running in his early 30s. He completed 5 marathons between 1979 and 1984 in reasonable times, but retired from competitive running in the mid 1980s when the move back to Adelaide made consistent heavy training impracticable.

The divorce in 1992 proved to be an emotional and spiritual turning point. He had to assume much of the responsibility for raising two teenage children. More importantly, he returned to church afer going AWOL for 25 years, and gradually found the support and guidance he needed from caring Christians and a new-found relationship with God. He began to apply his secular skills and talents to church leadership organisation and growth, but inevitably burnt-out and needed to re-focus to restore personal and spiritual balance, learning new things about patience, faith and trust..

Around 2008 he inherited many of his deceased Aunt Margaret Rendle Sullivan's papers, and began to re-trace his aunt's explorations into Sullivan family history. Upon joining the SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society as it's first Executive Officer, he quickly acquired the family history research skills and capabilities to explore further and in much more detail.