William Herbert Phillipps

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William Herbert Phillipps (3 December 1847 – 6 January 1935), generally referred to as W. Herbert Phillipps, later Sir Herbert Phillipps was a prominent South Australian businessman and philanthropist.

Early days[edit]

Herbert was the son of Susannah (1813 – 26 December 1885)[1] and James Phillips ( –1861), a medical student turned saddler and lay preacher[2] who arrived in Adelaide in 1839. He was born in Rosina Street, in a house which was reputedly the first in the city to be made of brick and having the first board floor.[3]

He had a brother and six sisters,[4] two being:

  • fourth daughter Rosa (ca.1845 – 9 July 1941) married accountant and future M.P. and Commissioner of Audit Ebenezer Cooke (ca.1832 – 7 May 1907) (his second wife) on 8 May 1866[5][6]
  • fifth daughter Clara Anne (died 14 September 1939) married architect Frederick W. Dancker (ca. 1852 – 27 August 1936) on 15 May 1883.[7]

He was a student at J. L. Young's Adelaide Educational Institution, Mr. Webster's private school in Kensington then Fellenberg's Commercial School in Pulteney Street, where he taught for a time.[4]


In 1861 he started work with Crown solicitor William A. Wearing (later a Supreme Court judge) then in 1864 worked as tally clerk in the shipping company of Joseph Stilling.[8] He also worked as Adelaide agent for the Chaffey Brothers.[4] Around this time he adopted the spelling "Phillipps" for his surname.[9]

From 1879 he was Adelaide representative for Australasian Accident Assurance Association, Then from around 1882 to 1889 he was manager of Union Fire and Marine Insurance of New Zealand.[10]

For some years he was co-manager (with W. H. Charnock) of shipping company George Wills & Co., a subsidiary of G. & R. Wills & Co., of which his wife's uncle George Wills was a principal.[8]

Board positions[edit]

Phillipps was appointed to the board of trustees of the Savings Bank of South Australia in 1900 and was its chairman for 32 years.[11] His successor was J. C. Rundle.

Herbert was a director of the South Australian Gas Company for 24 years.[12]

He was a director of The Executor Trustee and Agency Company from 1901 and chairman of directors for the last 12 years of his life.[13] [14]

He was a founder,[15] and president for 13 years, of the South Australian Employers Federation.[4] and on two occasions president of the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce.[16]

He had a close association with Glenelg Grammar School.[17]

Charitable work[edit]

For the last thirty years of his life, Sir Herbert devoted much of his time and efforts to a galaxy of worthy charities:

He was president of the Brighton Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution.[18]

For 25 years he was honorary treasurer of the Adelaide Children's Hospital.[19]

In 1879 he was a founder member of the Adelaide YMCA and a life member of its advisory board.[20]

In the early 1870s he was one of the members of the Kensington Football Club who purchased "Penn's Section" of 20 acres to create Kensington Oval. The oval was officially opened on 10 July 1875 and Phillipps was one of the trustees until it was taken over by Burnside District Council.[21]

He was president of the Orpheus Society,[22] Cottage Homes Incorporated,[23] Queen's Home (later Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital), Rose Park[24] and commander of St. John Ambulance Association[25] and was elected Honorary Associate of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.[4]

He was an active member of Kensington's Clayton Congregational Church for over 50 years.[26] and for some years chairman of the Congregational Union, and was involved with the British and Foreign Bible Society.[4]

He was on the board of Commercial Studies at the University of Adelaide.[4]

Civic activities[edit]

He was elected councillor in the Brighton City Council in 1893[16]

For over 25 years Sir Hubert was honorary consul for Belgium in South Australia and for his services was created Chevalier of the Order of Leopold by Albert, King of the Belgians. On retiring the position in 1922, he was made honorary life-consul and awarded the Medaille Civique by King Albert.[27]

His services to business and the community were recognised by his knighthood in 1929.[4]


His sister Jane married Frederick Isaac Caterer, co-founder of Norwood Grammar School and founder of Glenelg Grammar.[28]

On 18 December 1877 he married Caroline Mary Tarlton (died 3 October 1896), daughter of R. A. Tarlton. Two daughters did not survive childhood:

  • Their first, Caroline Mary, died 2 January 1880 aged 15 months.[29]
  • Margaret Tarlton, who died in 1893 aged 10 months.[30]

Three other daughters are recorded as:

  • Constance Tarlton married Maj. Harold Greenway (died as Colonel Greenway D.S.O. Croix de Guerre, on 9 April 1950) of Melbourne, Victoria on 2 January 1917.
  • Kathleen Tarlton (Mrs William Sydney Dean)
  • Mrs George Lancelot "Lance" Dean, of Kensington Park and (a section of) "Koorine Estate", Kalangadoo, South Australia. Also Emu Hill near Ballarat Lance Dean's father was Brigadier-General George Henry Dean (ca.1861 – 12 February 1953)[31]

They had two sons:

  • eldest H(erbert) Tarlton BSc., who married Constance Pauline Griffin of Yass, New South Wales on 3 March 1909 and became a prosperous farmer at "Eulomo" in Balingup, Western Australia
  • Malcolm Tarlton "Mac" Phillipps, who married Helen Reeves on 13 October 1917. An engineer and inventor,[32] he founded (with financial assistance from his father[33]) the Philmac company around 1930[34] to manufacture his "silent press" pushbutton cistern valve.[35] He was president of S.A. Employers' Federation from 1943[15] and chairman of the Brass Manufacturers' Association.[36]
His son Malcolm Wheatley Phillipps was employed at Philmac
Grandson Guy Malcolm Phillipps followed in his footsteps, manufacturing and developing fluid control devices through his own company Guyco.[37]

Phillipps died following a heart attack. His funeral was attended by a large number of prominent people and he was buried in a family plot in St Jude's cemetery, Brighton.[38]

Their homes were variously at "Lyndhurst" in Somerton (the nearby Tarlton Road and Phillipps Street, Somerton Park may be named for him.) and "Craigmellan" at Edwin Terrace, Gilberton.


  1. ^ Family Notices South Australian Register 11 January 1886 supplement p.2 accessed 26 February 2011
  2. ^ http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59017312
  3. ^ Out Among the People The Advertiser Wednesday 9 January 1935 p.17 accessed 26 February 2011
    This article is based on Vox's memories of Phillipp's tales, which may be fanciful.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Death of Sir Herbert Phillipps The Advertiser 7 January 1935 p.9 accessed 27 February 2011
  5. ^ Marriages South Australian Register 10 May 1866 p.2 accessed 26 February 2011
  6. ^ Death of Mr. E. Cooke Advertiser (Adelaide) 8 May 1907 p.7 accessed 9 November 2011
  7. ^ Marriages South Australian Register 22 May 1883 p.4 accessed 26 February 2011
  8. ^ a b http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110220b.htm
  9. ^ Shakspeare Tercentenary South Australian Register Wednesday 20 April 1864 p.3 accessed 7 November 2011
    Clayton Young Men's Society members included W. P. Auld
  10. ^ Advertisement South Australian Register 4 June 1889 p.2 accessed 26 February 2011
  11. ^ Savings Bank Figures Increase The Advertiser 17 September 1935 p.8 accessed 26 February 2011
  12. ^ Company Meetings The Advertiser 23 August 1935 p.8 accessed 26 February 2011
  13. ^ Executor Trustee and Agency CompanyThe Advertiser 11 November 1935 p.12 accessed 26 February 2011
  14. ^ Improving Outlook The Advertiser 22 November 1933 p.22 accessed 26 February 2011
  15. ^ a b Personal The Advertiser (Adelaide) Wednesday 15 December 1943 p.4 accessed 7 November 2011
  16. ^ a b Brighton South Australian Register 29 December 1893 p.7 accessed 26 February 2011
  17. ^ Advertisements The Advertiser 30 August 1892 p.2 accessed 26 February 2011
  18. ^ Brighton Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution The Advertiser 17 December 1934 p.10 accessed 26 February 2011
  19. ^ Tributes to his Work The Advertiser 7 January 1935 p.9 accessed 26 February 2011
  20. ^ Y.M.C.A. Personal Notes The Advertiser 24 January 1935 p.17 accessed 26 February 2011
  21. ^ Round the Wickets The Advertiser 25 January 1935 p.16 accessed 26 February 2011
  22. ^ Orpheus Society Officers Elected The Advertiser 4 October 1934 p.13 accessed 26 February 2011
  23. ^ Usefulness of Cottage Homes The Advertiser 16 June 1934 p.10 accessed 26 February 2011
  24. ^ Increased Grant to Queen's Home The Advertised Friday 2 February 1934 p.20 accessed 26 February 2011
  25. ^ Ambulance Men ParadeThe Advertiser Monday 23 April 1934 p.10 accessed 26 February 2011
  26. ^ Clayton Church 80th Anniversary The Advertiser 27 April 1934 p.11 accessed 26 February 2011
  27. ^ 25 Years Consul for Belgium The Advertiser 21 February 1934 p.16 accessed 26 February 2011
  28. ^ Obituary (of F. I. Caterer) South Australian Register 30 August 1892 p.3 accessed 7 June 2011
  29. ^ Births Marriages Deaths South Australian Register 3 January 1880 p.4 accessed 26 February 2011
  30. ^ Births Marriages Deaths South Australian Register 21 November 1893 p.3 accessed 26 February 2011
  31. ^ Death of Brig-Gen Dean at 93 Advertiser (Adelaide) 13 February 1953 p.3 accessed 8 November 2011
  32. ^ http://www.google.com/patents/about/1562585_MALCOLM_TARLTON_PHILLIPPS.html?id=8XJPAAAAEBAJ
  33. ^ Will of Sir Herbert Phillipps The Advertiser (Adelaide) 17 December 1935 p.19 accessed 7 November 2011
  34. ^ Connection (Philmac's house magazine) Winter 2009
    The founder's name here spelled "Phillips".
  35. ^ Advertisement The Mail (Adelaide) 10 September 1932 supplement p.4 accessed 7 November 2011
  36. ^ http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55788253
  37. ^ http://www.jefco.com.au/minisites/guyco.com.au/6.html
  38. ^ list of Headstones at St Jude's
    Other stones are those of Caroline, Caroline Mary and Margaret Tarlton.