G4 1 Cecil Arthur Edgar Sullivan

Cecil Arther Edgar Sullivan was Timothy Sullivan's first grandson through his son Samuel Grose Sullivan. This article looks at Cecil as an aspirational South Australian of whom his father would be proud.


Cecil Athur Edgar Sullivan was Samuel Grose Sullivan’s oldest son from his second marriage to his cousin Hannah Maria Phillipps, whom he (a widower) age 32 married  on 18/07/1878 in Ballarat. Cecil was born at Kadina on 06/05/1879 (1) with father Samuel identified as schoolmaster on the birth certificate, and Richard Wearne Sullivan, uncle, as informant.

Samuel was relocated from Kadina to Moonta Mines as head teacher of the prestigious Model School commencing on 01/05/1886, by which time Cecil would have been old enough at age 7 to commence school.

Samuel was subsequently relocated to the Le Fevre School at Semaphore commencing on 01/01/1889. Samuel enrolled Cecil age 9 at Le Fevre on 21/01/1889, No 1182, previously at Public School Moonta Mines. (2)

After two years at Le Fevre, Samuel was appointed head teacher at the Parkside School commencing 01-01-1891. Parkside attendance records show Cecil age 11 (06/05/1879) 2683, and siblings Hilda Marion (15/03/1881) 2684, Ernest (26/04/1883) 2685 and Eric Wilfred (10/03/1885) 2686, all enrolled on 19-01-1891. Cecil left in December 1893 to "try working".

CAES1896With compulsory schooling in South Australia only requiring children to attend to age 13, Samuel chose to enrol Samuel at a private school, Prince Alfred College, to further his education, where he commenced as a day boy No 2847 in December 1896 aged 17. PAC school fees around 1900 for day boys older than 12 were 13.04 per term (“probably with discounts for Methodists and teachers sons.” (3)

Cecil “Caesar” Sullivan played cricket for the PAC First Eleven including the 1897 “Intercoll” against St Peter’s College where he made 27 as opening bat in the second innings. In the PAC School Magazine he was critiqued as “One of the best bats in the team. Would be a still better bat if he were not so timid. He is a good field and a fair change bowler.(3)

He also played in the First Eighteen Intercoll football the same year as a right half-forward flanker. He was “a good kick and a fair mark. Fast!” He was a fast enough runner enough to place second in the 220 yards in the School Sports. (3)

In later life he continued his association with the School, as secretary of the Prince Alfred Old Collegians Association.

Photo of CAE Sullivan, Intercoll cricketer.
Photo courtesy of PAC Archives

There is some confusion as to the start of his working life. One later newspaper report notes "Entering the Civil Service he was engaged in work for the Education Department and then transferred to the Savings Bank." A second article comments "Beginning his commercial career as a Government servant in the Stock and Brands Department, he later transferred to the State Bank." (4)

In 1902 after two years in the Public Service he resigned to accept the position of manager in Melbourne for S.C. Ward & Co Stockbrokers, where his role was to establish the Melbourne branch.

The 1903 Electoral Roll has him at 20 Gelibrand St, Kew, single, clerk. That same year he married Edith Mary Ward, the daughter of Edward Ward and Jane Raw Ward (nee Cowper), and a younger sister of his employer Samuel Cowper Ward, with Edith born in Bolton England in 1876 or 1877. (1903 V2262).

Cecil continued as a stockbroker until around 1910. In the meantime he passed accountancy examinations and became a fellow of the Corporation of Practising Accountants, and also a fellow of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants. He first entered into practice around 1910 as a Public Accountant, working for example on local government audits. Newspaper clipping sighted from the Tatura Guardian of 03/02/1911 regarding the 1910 audit of the Shire of Rodney, dated 23/11/1910, by CAE Sullivan, AIAV, of St Huberts Chambers, 11 Elizabeth St, Melbourne. In 1917 he was appointed an auditor under the NSW Local Government Act 1906.

During this period he appears to have continued with his love of sport, with later newspaper articles noting

During his residence in Melbourne he played cricket with Camberwell and later Richmond Club, and for five years was a member of the committee of the latter body. He was also a member of the Box Hill Golf Club for a long period.” A second article reported that “for five years he was on the management committee of the Richmond Cricket club in Victoria. He has played junior cricket and golf at Camberwell in Victoria.”

And “There are not many sports at which he has not tried his hand with varying success.”

During the period from around 1909 until his return to Adelaide in 1920, he and wife Edith lived at “Coronella” at 44 Auburn Rd, Auburn. In 1912 his first son Alan Grose was born (V30658) whilst at Coronella.

CAES1917During the war period he was selected for a responsible position dealing with finance in Melbourne, and at the invitation of the Minister of Defence joined his department. He was appointed as Captain (Provisional) on 01/07/1917 to serve until 08/01/1920


As Captain CAE Sullivan, Australian Army Pay Corps, 3rd Military Division, he controlled a staff of about 200 men.


On his retirement he received the personal commendation of the Minister. As a reference letter from Wilson, Danby & Ferres, Public Accountants, states “His war services in this connection practically cost him his business. He is a very hard working man and of excellent character.”

Photo courtesy of John Alan Sullivan

It is interesting that during his term of service his youngest brother John Rundle who serving in France with the 50th Battalion was transferred to the Australian Army Pay Corps on 22/  12/1918 where he was promoted to the rank of Pay Sergeant. On his return from service John Rundle disembarked from the “Exeter” in Melbourne around 21/08/1919, and was discharged on 29/09/1919. 

The Victorian Sands Directory lists CAE Sullivan as an Associate of the Australian Corporation of Public Accountants and gives his address as 44 Auburn Rd.

Around 1920 the Sullivan family left Melbourne and returned to Adelaide

On 28/05/1920 CAE Sullivan and JR Sullivan (his youngest brother John (Jack) Rundle Sullivan) purchased land at Firle as tenants in common, which they subsequently mortgaged to the sellers, the mortgage being discharged on 27/08/1926.

The 1921 Electoral Roll for Boothby shows CAE Sullivan and his wife Edith residing at Gage St Firle, occupation orchardist, with brother John Rundle Sullivan residing in the adjacent Coorara St, also as orchardist. The 1922 Roll also has them at Gage St, still orchardists.

It's almost as if Cecil had had his fill of accountancy, and wanted a complete break and to start up something else. His youngest brother Jack was good at persuading older brothers to join him in his ventures into a life on the land.


On 27/02/1922 Cecil transferred his interest across to Clyda Gladys Sullivan, his youngest brother John’s new wife whom John had married on 29/08/1922 at Camberwell  in Melbourne. It's possible had played some role in introducing Jack to Clyda when Jack was discharged freom the army in Melbourne in 1919.

The photo from 1922 shows Cecil with prize horse and trap, at his youngest brother John’s market garden and orchard at the eastern end of Coorara Rd.

Photo courtesy of John Alan Sullivan   

Cecil enrolled his son Alan at the Wellington Rd School in 1922, with his address given as Coorara Rd.

By 1924 his short career as an orchardist had ended, with CAE Sullivan (FICA, ACPA) re-establishing his practice as a public accountant, auditor, secretary and tax consultant, and shifting address over Wellington Rd to 11 Edward St. By 1926 the family had moved again to 64A Wellington Road (which became Portrush Road) which was to be family home for the remainder of his life.

A newspaper article in March 1927 notes "Mr CAE Sullivan is one of the leading accountants in South Australia. Few, if any, devote as much time and energy toward bringing the profession before the public and maintaining a keen social spirit among its members than he. Mr Sullivan was one of the founders of the Commonwealth Accountants’ Student’s Society (South Australian Division) of which he has been secretary since its inception about three years ago.

Various public bodies have had the benefit of the services of Mr Sullivan, who has proved conscientious and capable. He is a member of the Wellington Rd School, and St Peters Institute Committees.”

By 1928 he had added the letters JP (Justice of the Peace) to his credentials. He had also been elected as Auditor for the St Peters Council. From 1924 through to about 1931 his practice was on the second floor of the Steamships Building, 17 Currie Street.

In 1929 at the age of 50 Cecil was elected President of the Council of the South Australian Division of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants, a position that he retained in 1930. Again a newspaper article April 1930 comments "For the second year in succession Mr CAES has been elected president of the South Australian Division of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants” 

In 1932 he relocated to the Norwich Union building at 47 Waymouth Street, and was still there in 1939. By 1942 he had moved to 31 Grenfell Street, where his practice continued until his death


The photo is of Samuel Sullivan's four sons, taken in 1944 at the wedding of Ernest's son Brian in 1944
Jack Rundle Sullivan on the left, then Eric Wilfred, Cecil Arthur Edgar, and Ernest on the right.

Cecil died suddenly from a heart attack on 30/06/1951 aged 72 at his home in Evandale, and was buried in the North Brighton Cemetery 

Edith his wife died in St Peters on 23/01/1957 aged 80 and is also buried in the North Brighton Cemetery.


More photos and images are available here.

(1)   District Birth Death and Marriage Certificates, copies held by SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society.

(2)   School attendance records, copy held by SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society

(3)   Courtesy Prince Alfred College Archives.