James Millner (doctor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Stokes Millner
James Stokes Millner.jpeg
Born 1830
Died 25 February 1875
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Years active 1855 to 1875
Known for Early pioneer / settler of Australia
Medical career
Profession Surgeon

James Stokes Millner MD (1830 – 25 February 1875) was a medical practitioner and administrator in the early history of the Northern Territory of Australia.


Dr J. Stokes Millner (as he was generally known) was born in Birmingham, England in 1830, the second son of Thomas and Eleanor Millner according to the 1841 census. He was educated at Marischal College, University of Aberdeen: licentiate of faculty of physicians and surgeons[1] and was trained as a surgeon.[2] Millner immigrated to Australia in 1855, arriving at Port Adelaide on 24 August aboard the barque Lismoyne.[3] Prior to settling in Adelaide, Dr Millner was engaged as ship's surgeon, travelling around the world and working on several immigrant vessels between England and Adelaide.[4] After settling in South Australia, Dr Millner practised at Port Adelaide, Angaston and Gawler.[4] In 1861 and 1862, Millner was an elected Alderman on the Port Adelaide Council.[5]

On 22 January 1870, Doctor Millner arrived in Darwin on the SS Kohinoor as Acting Government Resident of the Northern Territory of South Australia.[4][6] His commencing annual salary was listed at £500.[7] As the South Australian Government's representative in the Northern Territory, he had jurisdiction over a white population of just forty-four, until the arrival of South Australia's substantive Government Resident.[8] Millner was described as a tall man, heavily bearded, with thinning hair, who always wore spectacles.[9]

Doctor Millner was given several roles including; Protector of Aborigines, quarantine officer and registrar of births and deaths, as well as caring for the sick and injured, being the only doctor in the Northern Territory.[4] Doctor Millner established good relations with the local aborigine people, who soon realised he had skills and knowledge they could use.[10] In December 1872 his wife Esther (née Sanders) died at Yankalilla, south of Adelaide, having suffered from a heart condition for some time. A few days later Doctor Millner tendered his resignation. In 1874 he was back in South Australia, where in April he remarried, to Elizabeth (née Wood). The following month Doctor Millner, his new wife and the three children of his first marriage (Grace Maude, Esther Eustace and William Sturt) boarded the Gothenburg for Darwin, where he resumed his modified appointment.

In 1874, under Doctor Millner's authority, the first hospital was opened in Packard Street above Doctors Gully.[11]

In February 1875, after five years service in the north, Doctor Millner resigned and was returning to Adelaide with his wife and four children aboard the SS Gothenburg. On the evening of 24 February 1875, off the north Queensland coast, the Gothenburg hit a section of the Great Barrier Reef near Holbourne Island, during a cyclone. Early the next morning, Doctor Millner and all his family drowned, along with about 100 other passengers and crew.[12]


The following places are all named after James Millner:



  1. ^ The Colonial Office List (1877, p. 357). Great Britain. Colonial Office. Original from Oxford University. Published by Harrison. OCLC 1642852.
  2. ^ Administrators in Darwin. (2008). Government Residents. Retrieved on 24 December 2008. Archived 30 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Janmaat, Robert (2008). The Ships List: Lismoyne 1855. Retrieved on 24 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Northern Territory Times and Gazette. NLA Australian Newspapers. 13 March 1875. Retrieved online 5 November 2009.
  5. ^ Those Who Served at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 August 2007) (2007). City of Port Adelaide Enfield. Retrieved on 6 December 2009
  6. ^ Northern Territory Government (2007). Chronological listing of Government Residents and Administrators. Retrieved on 11 May 2008.
  7. ^ Larwood, Douglas (1968, p. 269). The front door: Darwin, 1869–1969. Published by Rigby. OCLC 435229.
  8. ^ Rosenzweig, Paul (1996). Governors, Residents and Administrators of the Northern Territory. Page 5. Retrieved on 11 May 2008.
  9. ^ Picture Australia (2008). Dr. James Millner and Family. Retrieved on 14 September 2008.
  10. ^ Northern Territory Government (1986). History of Northern Territory Health Services. Page 2. Retrieved on 11 May 2008.
  11. ^ Reception for the Reunion of Pre-Cyclone Tracy Staff of Old Darwin Hospital (2009). Speech by His Honour Mr Tom Pauling AO QC on 10 June 2009 (page 2). Retrieved on 6 December 2009.
  12. ^ Wilson, Helen (1992). "The Loss of RMSS Gothenburg". Journal of Northern Territory History. 3: 67–86. ISSN 1034-7488. OCLC 31683149. 
  13. ^ Northern Territory Government (2007). The Origin of Suburbs, Localities, Towns and Hundreds in the Greater Darwin area. Retrieved on 11 May 2008.
  14. ^ Millner Street (1963). NT Government Place Names Register. Retrieved on 12 December 2009.
  15. ^ Green, Antony (2005). "Millner". 2005 Northern Territory Election. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 March 2011.