G5 1 Rowland George Painter

This article is about Roland George Painter, one of Timothy Sullivan's great grandsons through grandfather Richard Wearne Sulllivan and mother Gertrude Ida Painter (nee Sullivan).


Rowland, only son of John Edward Painter and Gertrude Ida Painter (nee Sullivan) was born in Adelaide on 23/12/1907.

Rowland was 9 years old when his father John died in World War 1, exposing the young lad and his widowed mother to financial difficulties.

As well as his mother’s efforts to gain income, Rowland, fortunately, was a scholastic youngster and gained a scholarship to prestigious St Peter’s College in Adelaide. His years at St Peter’s were not particularly happy as his background was not as “privileged” as other students. That and his quiet nature meant that he did not make friends easily. It was the practice of medicine that lured Rowland in his latter years at St Peter’s.

As studying medicine at the time was financially impossible, Rowland gained a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Adelaide in 1934. When he graduated, Rowland set about earning an income that could at last relieve some of the burden from his mother. He became a teacher of both the arts and the sciences at private schools. Scotch College and Prince Alfred College (Preparatory School 1936) were among them. So too was Muirden Business College, where he taught French.

He enlisted in the Army on 01/05/1941 and served as a medical officer with the Australian Citizen’s Military Forces and was tasked with providing medical assessments of possible recruitments. He was discharged on 07/02/1942. The 1942 Sands Directory lists him as a teacher living at 14 North Terrace Highgate.

Eventually Rowland’s teaching income financed his further medical studies at the University of Adelaide where he graduated in December 1947. On graduation he took country locum positions, sometimes with Gertrude, to Kimba in 1949, and to Kempsey and Wilcannia in New South Wales. His family recalls he loved the country, its people and the thorough practice of medicine. The need to treat people in a holistic way in an isolated environment and his studious approach to all things, lead him to become a particularly good diagnostician.

He joined the staff of the Repatriation General Hospital in 19??, By 1953 Rowland and mother Gertrude were living at 1 Winchester Street, Highgate, in a large Queen Anne Villa and property that abutted both Winchester Street and North Terrace, having sold 1 North Terrace to Tom and Ida White (see below). He was still working at the RepatriationHospital where he met the tall, slim and vivacious brunette, Jean Alice Robinson, from Queensland. Despite the sniggers from staff members at the hospital over the age difference (he was by then 46, she was 32) and his mother’s opposition, the couple married at St Peters College chapel on 03/07/1954 and continued to live at Winchester Street, with mother Gertrude continuing to live in a section of the house until she died in 1962.

The Painters had three children, all born in Adelaide, with Linda Rae on 10/04/1956, Julian John on 10/03/1957, and Celia Anne on 01/11/1958.

In about 1963, the family moved to 23 Cambridge Terrace, Kingswood, where Rowland remained until his death on the 13/10/1985. When the children were teenagers he began to show signs of dementia. His decline was gradual but inevitable over the final 10 or so years right up until his death, in Abbingdon Nursing Home, Kingswood. His ashes were also interred at Centennial Park Cemetery