Dr Allan Campbell - Obituaries

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


The Register, October 31, 1898








The people of South Australia will be painfully startled to-day by the tidings of the shockingly sudden death of one of their most prominent, useful, and respected colonists in the person of the Hon. Dr. Allan Campbell, M.L.C. The deceased gentleman was taken ill on Sunday morning while about to take a bath, and although he appeared to revive, the improvement was not for long. Another attack prostrated him again, and after lingering a few hours he passed quietly away in the presence of many of his relatives and friends.


Speaking to a reporter soon after the sad event happened, His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor and Dr. Way said that Dr. Campbell had been poorly for some time past. On Saturday he felt unwell on going to the station to catch the 1.10 train to Mount Lofty, and had to stop at Parliament House to rest a while. He, however, felt better in the train, and at the “Sunbeam” demonstration spoke with remarkable force. After the meeting, however, an attack of angina pectoris came on, and it was with difficulty that he walked to the station. He and Mrs. Campbell caught the 5.20 train to Adelaide, in which the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. Way were passengers, and he seemed very well on the way down. His Excellency was surprised to hear that the doctor had been unwell. The latter said that he suffered from angina, and related how a gentleman aged eighty years had passed away recently after a two hours’ attack of the same complaint. He, however, was in very good spirits. Dr. Campbell took a cab home from the station. He was exhausted on arrival at his house, but seemed better again after tea, and went out to pay a visit in Hanson-street. On Sunday morning the doctor rose at half past 8 and went to his bath. Shortly afterwards one of the servants heard moaning in the bathroom, the door of which unfortunately was locked. One of his sons entered the room through the window, and found his father lying on the floor moaning, although conscious. The explanation he gave was that he felt giddy while sitting on a chair, but knew nothing of what afterwards happened until he found himself on the floor. Later on he said to Mrs. Campbell:-


“If I have another attack like this I shall leave you.”


Dr. Way was in attendance soon afterwards, and Dr. Lendon came a few minutes later. They found Dr. Campbell in a very weak state, conscious, but in great distress of breathing. Restoratives were administered, and the doctor was conveyed to his room, where he revived. Previously he was almost pulseless. He rallied considerably, and the improvement continued for some hours, but during the afternoon he had further attacks of angina at frequent intervals. He gradually grew weaker in the evening, and the end came at twenty-five minutes to 12. Dr. Campbell was conscious up to within a few minutes of his death. All the members of the family were present except the deceased’s two sons, Dr. Allan Campbell, who is on H.M.S. Impregnable at Devonport, and Dr. Archie Campbell, who is pursuing his studies at the London Hospital. Dr. Way, who is a brother-in-law of Dr. Campbell, and Dr. Lendon were also present at the end, and had been in attendance all day, while another brother-in-law, the Lieutenant-Governor, with Mrs. Way, who spent part of the day at the house, came immediately afterwards. Dr. William Campbell was with his brother almost from the morning. The funeral will take place on Tuesday afternoon.


Anything like a full and worthy record of the life of Dr. Allan Campbell would fill many columns. In spite of constitutionally weak health, his life was one of constant activity. By never sparing himself he accomplished more work than would have been possible to many a robust man. He was born in the Barony Parish of Glasgow in the year 1836. The early days of his youth were passed in Renfrewshire, at Cathcart, a village about four miles south of the City of Glasgow. His elementary education was imparted to him chiefly in the parish school of his place of residence. The master of that institution was evidently a man of unusual gifts, and he certainly made a deep impression upon the heart of his young pupil, who for many years after his arrival in the colony maintained a friendly correspondence with the old preceptor. In his maturing years he went to Glasgow and devoted himself to higher branches of study, especially in mathematics and physical science. His special object was to qualify himself for the profession of architecture, but his health failed, and he had to abandon that ambition. Still he did a good deal of work in the way of architectural direction, and his knowledge of that profession was of incalculable benefit to him in assisting with the designs of such buildings as the Children’s Hospital and other homes for the sick with which he was so prominently associated. Between his relinquishing of other professional studies and his beginning of the medical course there was an interregnum of some years. In 1867, however, when thirty-one years of age, he had so qualified himself that he became a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. His uncertain health interfered for some time with practice of his profession. The first appointment which he took was in a London Hospital, but he was forced by ill health to give that up and fly to the South of Europe from the malady which caused him so much anxiety, loss, and pain. Having been restored by his Continental residence, he decided not to risk any longer the rigours of the British climate, but to seek the milder atmosphere of one of the Australian Colonies. He finally chose South Australia, with which he had family associations, and arrived here in the year 1869.Note 1 He at once began the practise of his profession, having entered into partnership with Dr. H. Wheeler, then a well-known member of the medical fraternity. Hardly had he settled down to his lifework here than he began to demonstrate the public spirit which he showed in so many admirable ways ever afterwards. Possessed, like his surviving brother – himself an artist of no mean ability – with art perception, he first joined the committee of the Society of Arts, with which he has ever since been connected. Another prompting of his cultured nature was gratified when he took a seat on the old Board of Education, which was supplanted by the regime introduced by the Education Act of 1875. He was later appointed a member of the Education Council created by the Act referred to, and acted as Chairman for some time. He also became a member of the Central Board of Health and of the University council. Notwithstanding that enormous demands were made upon his energy by pressure of a heavy professional practice, he further showed his capacity and zeal for the public interest, by serving on various parliamentary Royal Commissions, such as those concerning the parliament Buildings and the sewage question. His active participation in politics as a member of parliament did not begin till twenty years ago, when he was elected to the membership of the legislative council, in which he worked without interruption up till the time of his death. From first to last he thoroughly discharged his parliamentary duties, championing many good causes, and championing them with enthusiasm. He never did anything by halves, and probably scarcely any surviving members of the Upper Chamber has had more influence upon the laws passed during the last twenty years than Dr. Campbell, though practically he never held a Ministerial office. Certainly for a few days he filled the position of member of the Executive in the Cockburn Ministry, but after the controversy which raged around the question of the legality of that appointment, he persistently refused, as he had done before, to accept any suggestion that he should take Cabinet rank. In the cause of Australian Federation the doctor took a deep interest. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Federation Convention, but as a leading officer of the Federation league he did useful service for the cause of national unity. Enterprises connected with the development of the colony’s resources found a warm supporter in Dr. Campbell, and he acted as Director of several South Australian Mining Companies.


During the period under review he served on so many Commissions and Select Committees that a mere recital of them would be wearisome. In politics he was a Freetrader, a Liberal and a Democrat in the sense of that much-abused term which is not always exemplified by men who profess more than the esteemed doctor ever claimed. But the crowning work of his Parliamentary career was his strong advocacy in season and out of season of the Public Health Bill, which he rightly regarded as one of the most important measures, a life-saving measure, which have been brought under the notice of parliament for many years. By word of mouth and by pen he fought for a more intelligent public apprehension of the importance of sanitation, and it is not improbably that the overstrain which he placed upon himself in this work led to the shortening of his life. Now that our highly valued and deeply esteemed late contributor has gone from the world we may mention that in an interview with a member of our editorial staff he expressed his opinion that the health Bill might yet be the death of him. His heart was so thoroughly in it, he was so earnest about it, that he regarded as almost a personal slight any attempt to belittle the value of legislation of this particular variety. It was appropriate that the champion of the Public Health Bill should be also the founder of the Bacteriological Institute, an extremely able address in connection with which was published in “The Register” of September 10, and that the last letter which the doctor wrote for our columns was one which appeared two or three days ago with reference to the Health Bill. We have also a mournful satisfaction in mentioning that the very last letter written after his fatal seizure was a private communication which he dictated shortly before he died, in which he characteristically desired that credit should be given, not to himself, but to others who had been instrumental in founding the Queen Victoria Home for Convalescent Children, in connection with the opening ceremony of which he took part at Mount Lofty on Saturday.


The work of philanthropy will always be that with which the name of Dr. Campbell will be most closely and honourably associated. He began to help in the cause of the poor and the suffering as soon as he arrived in the colony, and he continued in that noble enterprise until he drew the last breath of life. Note 2 He will be known for his erudition as a member of such Societies as the Association for the Advancement of Science, and his political services will not soon be forgotten, but the crowning work of his life was connected with charitable undertakings. He was one of four who founded the Children’s Hospital, and half the success of that asylum for the sick children is due to his indefatigable exertions and his special knowledge of the work to be done, and of the means necessary in the doing of it. The latest extension of what is now a noble pile of buildings was due almost entirely to his initiative, and one of his admirers did not overstate the case when he said in homely phraseology, “The doctor has had a hand in the laying of every brick in the structure.” The same remark may be applied to the Home for Convalescent Children, an institution at Mount Lofty which is really an appendage to the parent institution in North Adelaide, and which was opened for its beneficent purpose on Saturday. It was really touching to note the solicitous concern with which Dr. Campbell watched the progress of that scheme from the beginning of the subscription collecting to the final act in relation to which he was concerned. Apart from the special objects with which the Hospital was started, one of the most recent developments of the doctor’s energy was the establishment of the bacteriological laboratory, which has already proved of such extreme value in cases of diphtheria and kindred ailments. Some sympathetic statistician might do much worse than attempt to calculate how many children’s lives, and the lives of the poorest and most distressed children at that, have been saved through the instrumentality of kindly people moved thereto by Dr. Campbell’s warm heart. The annual meeting of the Children’s Hospital was to have been held to-day, but the Lieutenant-Governor, who is the President, states that it will be formally adjourned for a week. It is a coincidence that a brother-in-law of Dr. Campbell, Mr. F.D. Beach, died on the day of an annual meeting of the Children’s Hospital.


Coincidently with his labours for the Children’s Hospital he served the people as one of the most active members of the Committee of the Adelaide Hospital, and his retirement from that position was due to circumstances, mention of which we would not obtrude here, but which caused great grief to the sensitive doctor, who felt a real and deep concern for what he regarded as the avoidable sufferings inflicted upon so many of God’s poor. Other avenues for his spare vigour were found in the St. John Ambulance Society; the Sunday-school Union, of which for three years he was the President; the Caledonian Society, of which he was twice Chief; and the South Australian Literary Societies’ Union, of which he was President, and Governor of Union Parliament. He was perhaps the most active of the founders of the District Trained Nursing Society – a most admirable institution for assisting the afflicted poor; and his friendly interest in the Sunbeam Society found expression in many directions. For a time he was head of the Institute of Architects and he filled the office of a trustee of the Savings Bank. He was a member of the Committee of the Institution for the Blind and Deaf and Dumb, and among other positions a member and at one time Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Public Library, Art Gallery, and Museum. He had been latterly working very earnestly as one of the Fine Arts Committee of the latter body by assisting in the arrangements for the purchase of the pictures with the money bequeathed by Sir Thomas Elder for the purpose. His fellow-Governors had noticed that the worry of his accumulated official responsibilities was telling upon him, and though at no time was there any decadence in his strong intellect, yet he sometimes have disquieting signs that his work was exhausting him too greatly. It is somewhat singular that after a long period of comparative immunity from death the Board has within a very few months lost two of its oldest and most useful members in the persons of the Hon. Dr. Campbell and Mr. David Bower. It is also a little remarkable that Dr. Campbell went with Sir Charles Todd to the funeral of Mr. David Bower, and that since then both the doctor and the wife of Sir Charles have departed this life.


The deceased has left a widow, two daughters, Misses Jean and Florence Campbell, and six sons, Messrs. Allan J., Archie, James Way, Colin, Neal, and Gordon.


The Register, October 31, 1898





With a sharp shock of surprise and sorrow the whole community will receive this morning the intelligence of the startlingly sudden death of the Hon. Dr. Allan Campbell, M.L.C. He was never a robust man, but his activity was so incessant, and he bore his weaknesses and afflictions so philosophically and uncomplainingly, that the public fully expected that he would be able to render them many more years of patriotic service. But he knew, and his friends knew, that the end of his life might come at almost any time in the way in which it did come, and which probably the worthy doctor would have chosen in preference to the pathetic burden of a lingering illness. Until such men as Doctor Campbell are taken from us we hardly realize how great is their value or the seriousness of the gap which they leave in the ranks of prominent workers for the good of their fellows. Still even in life the deceased gentleman enjoyed some little of the guerdon which was so richly merited by his truly noble exertions on behalf of the people. He was a true democrat in the sense that he believed as a matter of deep conviction that no man should live unto himself – that it was the duty of all men to share with their fellows the benefits of any special gifts with which providence had endowed them. In nothing whatever did the good Doctor spare himself – neither in output of physical or of mental energy, or of the money which they enabled him, as an essentially self-made man, to earn. Thus it was that probably no other man in South Australia was with full desert better known or more generally respected than Doctor Allan Campbell. Nor were more than a very few connected in so many diverse ways with nearly every department of the life of the community. Probably if one excepts sporting, one might avoid any exception in the preceding phrase. A mere list of the Societies and institutions with which Dr. Campbell was associated during his thirty years’ residence in the colony would fill a column in itself.


As we scan the record of his life we are deeply impressed with the marvellous example which he represented of man-power in one of its best developments. Like his distinguished relatives, the Lieutenant-Governor, he interested himself in practically everything which interests the people. And he was no mere figure-head – no mere lender of his name, no shirker of work. Everything which he undertook was treated with systematic comprehensiveness. If he had a hate it was entertained towards those who scamped anything. The motto of the man might well have been “Thorough.” He was a living illustration of perfect compliance with the injunction – “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with they might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave….” The last word is painfully suggestive in connection with the particular act by which his patriotic public services were brought specially under popular notice as a politician in his last days – his championship of the Public Health Bill. He fairly exhausted the subject of sanitation and sanitary law in order to qualify himself for the inculcation of sanitarian ideas among the people; and we recall a touching communication from the doctor in which he conveyed the impression that his exertions in this respect had so strained him as to lead him to apprehend some such sudden passage from life as that which in reality happened to him a few hours ago. The time will come when his championship of advanced public health legislation will be regarded as a work of immense value to South Australians. The record of that alone would be a monument of which a less talented and public-spirited man might well be proud; but it was only as a word in a sentence in the life story of Dr. Allan Campbell.


His name is honoured as that of a diligent and singularly acute scientific observer. In his own profession he won distinction, and the article published in “The Register” a few weeks ago from his pen on the relation of bacteriology and consumption was among the best monographs on the subject yet presented to the Australian public. In philanthropy he was chief among the chief workers. In politics he was as ardent and tireless as he was able; and, although he declined to take part in active Ministerial life, he did a great deal in influencing for good the character of our Statute-books. In literature he seemed blessed with a pen “warranted never to clog.” The public knew of many communications to which his name appeared attached, but they have read scores of columns written anonymously by him for “The Register” and all characterized by great analytical power and an incisive style which left no pretext for doubt concerning his meaning. Indeed, he was among the most prolific of our valued contributors. We need say no more of the immense loss which death inflicted upon the public when the grim monster bereft them of a fellow-colonist who is the subject of such a monument of sympathy and of love as that with which his name is inalienably associated in the Children’s Hospital, of which he was a founder. It was fitting that the man who excelled in constant and unsparing toil, alike in science, and art, and medicine, and philanthropy, and literature, and political economy, should die as such men deserve to die – in harness – in full possession of their faculties, and in the full exercise of their activities.


The Advertiser, October 31, 1898





It is with the deepest regret that we announce to-day the sudden death of the Hon. Dr. Allan Campbell. The deceased gentleman had been present on Saturday at the Sunbeam demonstration organised on behalf of the proposed Convalescent Home in connection with the Children’s Hospital. In that movement he was deeply interested, and the part he took in the successful demonstration brought on a condition of excitement which culminated in a fatal attack of angina pectoris. Though a man of exceptional mental activity, and a hard worker in numerous fields of industry political, philanthropic, educational, and scientific – Dr. Campbell was not physically robust, and at various periods of his life was laid aside by sickness. He died practically in harness, and it will always be remembered to his honor that almost his last hours were devoted to enthusiastic and unselfish labor in the interest of others. That, indeed, he had made an important part of the business of his life. His keenly sympathetic nature led him to throw himself heart and soul into movements which aimed at the relief of suffering and distress. He was not content to be a mere spectator. With whatever charitable institution he became associated his rule was not to spare himself, and many a good cause is indebted to his zeal. Several of the most useful philanthropic agencies now working in our midst owe their establishment to his love of humanity and instinct for discovering suitable opportunities and means of doing good. His name is indelibly connected with the foundation and progress of the Children’s Hospital, while one of the latest of our charities – the District Trained Nurses’ Association – found in him a true and devoted friend.


It is of this aspect of the late Dr. Campbell’s many-sided activity and character that we are induced to speak first of all, not only because it is suggested by the pathetic circumstances of his death, but because it was that which most surely commended him to the esteem and regard of all, and will never be forgotten by a grateful community. The same high principles may animate a man in every department of his life, as they certainly did Dr. Campbell. He may seek to be guided by his sense of right in his political as in all other actions. But there may be in one direction controversy, tending perhaps in those who differ from him to a less generous estimate than the motives of his action have deserved, whereas in another direction, freer from the prepossessions and prejudices that lead to conflict, the sterling worth of the man is plain and unmistakable. Charity is not contentious ground. Native kindness of heart, and not merely the good nature which gives an inactive assent to good works, but the vital and restless feeling of humanity which is discontented without practical and positive employment – these appeal to everyone, and they bestow a wreath of honor which can never fade. Dr. Campbell’s philanthropy was, however, neither of a limited nor mechanical kind. As a public man he identified himself with the advocacy and promotion of those agencies, both religious and educational, the aim and function of which are to make men better, truer to themselves, more self-reliant, and rich in the noblest treasures of life. His ideal of charity was that it should be exercised in the relief of unavoidable misfortune, but he was anxious to cultivate independence of character and to encourage all conditions favoring it. It was in a spirit of that kind that in the earlier days of our present education system he willingly assumed an important share in its administration. He recognised the refining and purifying influences of art, and did his best to bring them nearer to the masses. Above all, he was profoundly religious, though his creed was in no sense narrow. He realised how unsatisfying, if not rudderless, is the life which is guided by no conviction of a purpose in the universe, and of the governance of a beneficent Power whose law is that of righteousness to which we owe obedience. He felt that the Church and the Sunday-school minister to inextinguishable spiritual needs, and their work in developing the religious and moral natures of young and old, in stimulating faith and elevating conduct, had his heartiest support.


Notwithstanding the claims, made on him by the practice of his profession, the late Dr. Campbell found time to spare for politics, and his career as member of the Legislative Council for many years comprised neither the least laborious nor the least distinguished portion of his public service. His principles and views were those of a moderate Liberal. He had few leanings in favour of the newer lines of policy that are usually described as socialistic, having a dread of excessive intervention by the State in the affairs of the individual. On the other hand, he was in no sense an individualist of the extreme type, holding that public interests would justify social legislation which the uncompromising laisser faire advocate would resent as an inexcusable invasion of private rights. There have been a good many divisions in Parliament in which Dr. Campbell and a few other like-minded legislators have case the decisive votes. The sanity and reasonableness of his opinions commended him to those who, amid the struggles of extremists, are content to follow a well-considered, moderate course. On much of our legislation he has left the valuable impress of his calm, sober, and deliberate judgment. It was characteristic of Dr. Campbell that he liked to do things thoroughly, and he rarely spoke on any subject without giving proofs of patient, careful, and intelligent study. One of his latest and best Parliamentary achievements was the improvements he succeeded in making in the provisions of the new Health Code. He has not lived to see the fruit of his labours, but it will not be forgotten how earnestly and indefatigably he strove to bring up our health legislation to an advanced scientific standard. Perhaps, in some respects, he uttered counsels of perfection, but there is no doubt that the Bill still to be carried by parliament owes some of its best features to him. Dr. Campbell was an enthusiast in hygiene. He believed that every year there is an immense waste of human life resulting from preventable causes, and this it was his endeavour to reduce as well by disseminating knowledge of the laws of health as by compulsory measures of government. His inaugural address at the Institute of Hygiene on the subject of tuberculosis dealt with a question he had made his own, and was a luminous contribution to popular literature on a subject in which it is desirable to arouse widespread interest. For many years Dr. Campbell was an occasional contributor to the Press, and in these columns articles from his pen on philanthropic undertakings and other topics have appeared. The deceased gentleman has passed away after a busy and useful life, and South Australia is the poorer for losing such a public-spirited citizen.


The Register, November 2, 1898










The members of the legislative Council were in mourning when they met in solemn silence on Tuesday, and shortly after the President took the chair all the twenty-three members were in their places.


The Chief Secretary moved an informal motion to give members an opportunity to pay a tribute to the memory of the late Hon. Dr. Campbell. His voice was broken, when he spoke of the great shock with which the members and the colony had learnt the intelligence of the death, and eyes were moist on both sides of the Council Chamber as he briefly alluded to the loss which the colony and the country had sustained by the death of their late colleague. Dr. Campbell’s career had been a long honourable one, marked by a deep sense of public duty and a conscientious discharge of his functions as a member of the council. He referred to Dr. Campbell’s efforts in connection with the Health Bill, for which the Council and the country were exceedingly indebted. The late doctor was one who owed little to fortune. Despite physical infirmities, he had breasted the blows of circumstance, and carved out for himself a distinguished and honoured career in the land of his adoption. He would miss him as a colleague in the representation of the Northern district, and they would all miss his kindly and cheery greetings and his thoughtful assistance in the measures brought before the Council. The sentence which the hon. member had used with regard to the late Hon. W. Haslam might be fittingly given as his own epitaph. It was “Full of labour and full of anxiety for the welfare of his fellows he has fallen as a ripe sheaf of corn.” – The Hon. J. Martin as the senior member except the President thought the Council and the country were the poorer for the loss of such a man as Dr. Campbell. Not only in the Council had he worked, but they must remember his efforts for the benefit of his fellow men in all directions. – The Hon. J.H. Gordon as a personal friend since 1889 mentioned that in that year Dr. Campbell was offered the leadership of the Council, but his devotion to his other public and professional duties prevented his acceptance of it. He then became aware of the unselfish nature of the late member and how much he allowed his private interests and his own personal prestige to give way to what he felt to be his sense of duty to South Australia. In all the highest spheres of public duty the Hon. Dr. Campbell’s wise counsel and self-denying labours would be sadly missed, but most of all would they be missed in those spheres of efforts directed to alleviate human suffering and to increase the happiness of his fellow creatures. His life was a bright example to all men, and his death a national misfortune. – The Hon. J.L. Stirling expressed his sympathy with the bereaved family. In according to the late member that praise for conscientiousness, for assiduity in his work, and for zeal many would agree that those qualities had tended to some extent to shorten his life. His career had been one which would carry its own praise. In connection with his outside work he would be more truly and deeply regretted. – The Hon. J.H. Howe mentioned that Dr. Campbell was asked to take a portfolio in the first Downer Government, but he declined on account of his professional duties. What more fitting memorial could stand to his memory than the Children’s Hospital. South Australia mourned for one whose life’s work had made her richer in all the attributes which made a nation righteous. – The Hon. E. Ward spoke of the late member as a practical humanitarian who had fallen on the field of duty, and who “after life’s fitful fever sleeps.” – The Hon. Sir E.T. Smith dwelt on the death of the children’s best and loving friend. – The Hon. D.M. Charleston alluded to the late member’s efforts on behalf of sanitation, the blockers, and the Land Aid Settlement Society. – The President paid an eloquent tribute to the work of the late doctor as a member of the Council. – The informal motion was withdraw, and the Council adjourned at twenty-nine minutes past 2 o’clock.


A solemn air pervaded the Assembly Chamber this afternoon. Most of the members appeared in mourning dress.


On the Speaker taking the Chair at 2 o’clock,

Mr. Kingston, Premier, said – I rise for the purpose of suggesting that the sitting of the House be suspended until 5 o’clock, for the purpose of enabling hon. members to pay their tribute of respect to the memory of the late Hon. Dr. Allan Campbell who, for twenty years, was a most deserving and highly respected member of the Legislative Council. His public services are too numerous, too important, and too fresh in our memories to need any recital on my part; indeed, it seems as though he were yesterday amongst us, and cut off in the midst of his humanitarian work. A valued legislator, he has by his disinterested services in connection with the Children’s Hospital and other great and good works earned the full meed of the public gratitude which is due to a distinguished philanthropist. I believe I am correctly interpreting the wish of the House when I suggest that this step should be taken for the purpose of showing our sorrow at our loss, and sympathy with the bereaved. (Hear, hear.)


The Hon. Sir John Downer, Leader of the Opposition, in seconding the motion, said:- I entirely concur with the remarks the Premier made in moving the motion to pay a tribute of respect to a public man whose services were spread over the whole colony. He was a personal friend of mine, and I feel his loss privately as the public feel it publicly. He was a true patriot in the highest sense of the word, a faithful husband, a loving father, and a trustworthy friend. What higher tribute can be borne to any man? Of late I have noticed that though the brain was as strong as ever the body was ailing, and I suggested to him that the jaded horse should have a little rest; but, faithful warrior that he was, he stuck to his post and died fighting. He needs no monument for the purpose of recording his virtues. They surround us everywhere in the city, and we cannot go anywhere without meeting some evidence of the beneficent influence which he exercised. (Hear, hear.) His monument need not be made in stone; it is in the hearts of the thoughtful and intelligent who see him in the comfort he brought to the poor and needy in every direction. (Hear, hear.) I am glad that the Premier has moved this motion, and I think it is the least possible tribute we can bear to the memory of a truly good and honourable man. (Hear, hear.)


Mr. Burgoyne, Chairman of the Country Party – On behalf of one of the parties of the House I beg to offer my testimony to the worth of our departed friend, and to say how deeply I regret the solemn occasion in which we have to refer to such a loss. He was a private friend of mine for many years. He was a representative of the North, and he was a good and a high-minded man, and an active public servant to the last hour of his life, having died in harness in doing good work. We all regret our loss.


Mr. Batchelor, Chairman of the Labour Party, said – I, also, in supporting the motion, would like to express my personal regret at the loss the colony has sustained in the death of Dr. Campbell, and also the regret which all parties with which I am connected feel at the death of so sterling a citizen. Dr. Campbell had been for very many years a member of the Legislative Council, and he did most useful work there on behalf of the community. It will be, perhaps, the work he did outside on behalf of the people generally in his capacity as a citizen by which he will be most remembered by the future generations of south Australia. He spent undoubtedly a life-time in doing what he could to further the philanthropic interests of the colony, and South Australia is unquestionably the poorer by the loss of one of her most influential and splendid citizens.


Mr. Gilbert – As a very old friend of the late Dr. Campbell, I will be excused for saying a few words. My intimacy with the late Doctor was very close, he being a frequent visitor to my house. He came generally for the purpose of working me up in public matters. Anything the Doctor took in hand he did thoroughly. He put his whole soul into his work, and left no stone unturned to accomplish what he fully believed was for the benefit of the community. In all the varied walks of life he tried to take a prominent part. It was my privilege to hear his last speech, which was delivered on Saturday, and I never heard him speak more forcibly and affectionately to the children than he did that day. As a public man he is a great example. He was sincere, earnest, and honest, and he put himself out of his way to do anything in the fulfilment of what he considered his duty. He was advised not to go to Mount Lofty on Saturday, but duty to him was the first consideration, and doing his duty he came to his death.


Mr. Scherk – I was associated with the late Doctor in connection with the Working Men’s Blocks Association, of which we were Vice-Presidents, and, although we sometimes differed in politics, we were the best of friends. The more one knew of Dr. Campbell the more one respected him. He was a man whose word was his bond.




The burial took place in the afternoon at the North-road Cemetery, and the obsequies were attended by a very large and representative gathering. All classes of the community were represented, and in the vast concourse it was indeed difficult to say who did not join in paying the last public tribute of respect to the memory of the departed legislator, physician, and philanthropist. That Dr. Allan Campbell was a friend of the people – of poor as well as rich – was unmistakably demonstrated by the tremendous crowds of citizens of every rank and station – from Her Majesty’s representative downward – which assembled first at North-terrace, then at Franklin-street Bible Christian Church, and finally at North-road, where the body was laid peacefully to rest. Dr. Campbell’s undeniable claim to the affectionate title of “the children’s friend” was also recognised by the presence in the streets and at the Church of hundreds of little folk, who doubtless felt their loss as acutely as may of their elders. Both Houses of the Legislature closed as a mark of respect, the Legislative Council adjourning after half an hour’s sitting until the following day, and transacting no business other than to eulogize the public life and character of the late doctor. Busy men in the medical profession – in fact all who could possibly leave their patients – joined in the long funeral procession, and all the public, philanthropic, religious, educational, and other bodies with which the deceased was identified were represented at the funeral. The wealth of flowers which were sent from all parts of the city and suburbs spoke in their silent language of the loving regard in which the departed doctor was held by a host of friends with whom he was more or less intimate, and who recognised in dr. Campbell a patriotic guardian of the rights and interests of the people, a trusted public servant, and a generous, lovable man. The vehicle which followed the hearse laden with floral tributes could not contain anything like the number of these beautiful offerings of Nature, and many wreaths and crosses were therefore carried by hand. During the funeral the flag on the Queen Victoria Home for Convalescent Children in the hills, like that at the Children’s Hospital, was flying half-mast.


The coffin, removed from Dr. Campbell’s late residence on North-terrace at half-past 2, was conveyed to Franklin-street Bible Christian Church, followed by a long column of mourners in carriages and others on foot. The approaches to the Church were thickly lined with men, women, and children, while many friends were already seated in the building awaiting the arrival of the mournful procession. As the coffin was borne into the sacred edifice Mr. E. Harold Davies, Mus. Bac., played on the organ Handel’s air “Lascia chio pianga,” a favourite piece which Dr. Campbell’s daughter often played to him, and which the doctor requested should be given at his funeral. Almost needless to say the Church was packed, and hundreds of persons were unable to obtain admittance. The pulpit was appropriately draped, and choice white flowers were laid in front. The Rev. John Thorne, minister of the Church, conducted a solemn and an impressive service, reading the Scriptural portions usual on such occasions and delivering a brief eulogy upon the noble life of the deceased. The choir and congregation sang with much feeling –


Our God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come.


And then the rev. gentleman gave utterance to sentiments which found echo in every heart. In the course of his remarks he said they were then too near to the great loss that they had experienced for him to attempt to do anything like justice to the character and memory of him whom they mourned. If he could command himself sufficiently to say all that was in his heart he thought they would realize that it would not be the place at that moment to do so; there would be more convenient opportunities, when they would have had time to calmly think of all that their departed brother was to them, his family, the Church, and the world, to attempt in some way to offer a tribute worthy of his memory. He felt it right to make these remarks fearing that any should fancy anything was overlooked. There were, perhaps, a hundred men in that building who could better speak than he could, and speak with better acquaintance and better acceptance, concerning Dr. Campbell’s character as a public man, who had seen, known, and witnessed all that he had done in the service of his country, and there were many present who had known of his worth as a physician – truly, a good physician – and could speak of that from experience better than he could himself. He knew that there were some there paying their last tribute solely from that reason, because of the tie that was set up between them as doctor and patients, who remembered not only that skill which was at his disposal, but that loving kindness, care, and sympathy which often went much further than medicine to heal disease and bind up the broken heart. He had had a long acquaintance with dr. Campbell. He was associated with him in Adelaide twenty years ago in the work of the Church. He had admired his Christian character all through, and knew that his motto in life was to do whatever he thought would please Jesus Christ. That, at any rate, was expressed in the doctor’s own mind, if not publicly declared, and he believed he kept closely to it. They knew what a wonderful record Dr. Campbell left behind in this community as a philanthropist, and that the number of undertakings to which he set his hand was almost legion; and it was a pathetic remembrance that the one which lay so near his heart, the Queen Victoria Home for Convalescent Children, which he was permitted to see accomplished on Saturday last, was a proper sequel of that work in the Children’s Hospital with which his name would be imperishably connected. But there were many other public efforts and works of benevolence. They had not even time to enumerate, much less expatiate upon them. There were a thousand acts of private kindness. He had the fullest solicitude for the widow and orphan, and ever manifested anxiety and care in order that he might help those who had no help. For his family this would be their choicest and most precious possession, and they would remember the good name which he had left, which was like ointment poured forth. “Only the actions of the just smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”


The solemn hush in the spacious edifice was broken only by the organ, choir, and congregation softly singing that beautiful hymn “Now the labourer’s task is o’er,” with its subdued ending –


Father, in thy gracious keeping,

Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.


Presently the coffin was borne up the western aisle, followed by the relatives and scores of other mourners, to the hearse. As the long procession passed up Franklin-street, down King William-street and the King William-road, up Brougham-place and Lefevre-terrace, pedestrians stood with heads uncovered, and business people for the while left their counters to watch the mournful column file along. On every hand there were unmistakable manifestations of sorrow. It was after 4 o’clock when the procession reached the cemetery. Hundreds of people, in addition to those in the cortege, had driven or walked thither, and a large space around the grave had been roped off to prevent undue crushing. A number of mounted and foot police were present to regulate the movements of the crowd. Canon Andrews conducted the burial service, and the numerous mourners having taken a farewell glance into the tomb, the grave closed upon all that was mortal of one who truly “lived respected and died regretted.”


(There follows a long list of the chief mourners – family, members of the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly, other medical practitioners, representatives of the various organisations to which Dr Campbell had provided support and services.)


The Advertiser, November 6, 1899 (one year later)





The true memorials of a great man are the works he leaves behind him. It is, nevertheless, appropriate that expressions of public appreciation for the character of any person who has conferred lasting benefits on his fellows should be shown. In no way can this be better done than in the furtherance of some object – known to have been dear to the heart of him whose services it is sought to recognise. Among South Australian philanthropists the name of Dr. Allan Campbell has an honoured place. It is just twelve months since his untimely and sudden death caused a wave of genuine regret to overspread the land. His last public act was to take part in the opening ceremony in connection with the Queen Victoria Home for Convalescent Children at Mount Lofty. This was on October 30, 1898, and on the following night he passed away. In the interval he had expressed a desire to see a stained glass window in the big ward, not merely for purposes of adornment, but because he held that bright colors was one of the essentials of such a home. It was, therefore, appropriate, that a memorial to him at that institution should take this form. On Saturday afternoon a large number of ladies and gentlemen assembled at the home to witness the ceremony of unveiling the window. His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Samuel Way, Bart., presided, and the many appreciative references to the life and labours of Dr. Campbell showed how greatly his memory is respected.


In making the presentation on behalf of the subscribers, Mr. A.T. Magarey referred to the loss the colony had sustained in the death of Dr. Campbell. He briefly reviewed the history of the window, and said that an entertainment had been held by some young ladies of Mount Lofty with the result that £14 was secured. A portion of this amount had been devoted to providing an ambulance hand carette for the benefit of the little sufferers who were too ill to walk. The idea of a colored window in the ward had first been conceived by their late beloved friend, Dr. Campbell, who had suggested that a portion of the sum referred to should be devoted to this object. In a letter dated October 3, 1898, he had written:- “I have tried to get £5 to place a nice colored arrangement of glass in the upper portion of the large window in the big ward of the Queen Victoria Home, but have failed. I think it would be a very nice thing for the folk at Mount Lofty to do this, and I see you could do nothing better with £5 of the £14 you have in hand. If we don’t do it this way I fear it may be some time before we get the money.” In a subsequent letter he had written:- “The secret of my suggestion as to a stained glass window in no way was personal to myself. Children that are ill need to be surrounded with bright color, and objects that attract the eye, even although they are devoid of reflection as to the colors or their harmonies. This is the foundation of my desire to have some color introduced into the wards of sick children. A ward is very plain, and as we cannot hang pictures on the walls, the colored window is the best possible substitute. Another reason was I thought you young folk might be pleased to have some permanent memorial of your first effort to help the institution. Carriages and sofa rests will wear away, and be gone, but in the window will remain a lasting memorial. I thought, too, that it would show that our interest in the children’s recovery had a broader basis than mere change of air. The coloring of the top of the window would not, you see, interfere with the view of the landscape, as the lower half would be quite clear. I know the view is lovely and would not like it to be shut out on any account.” As they knew, Dr. Campbell had been suddenly taken away from them a year ago, and it had been thought well and most fitting to carry into execution his desire concerning the stained glass window. His expressed wish had now been carried out, and it would at the same time embody a fitting memorial of himself. The design was by Mr. Elliot, artist for Mr. Troy, and it had met with approval from all who had seen it. No action of the Master more plainly illustrated the sweetness of his character, his sympathy with and interest in the children, than that depicted in the scene before them. It represented Him receiving little children and blessing them. As the little ones lay in their cots in that ward they could always feast their eyes on the beautiful scene. No eulogy of the doctor was needed. His memory was fresh to them. His life of disinterested kindness and sympathy was an inspiration to them all to go on and follow him, even as he followed the Master. (Applause.)


Miss Campbell then performed the ceremony of unveiling the window.


Sir Samuel Way gracefully accepted the gift on behalf of the board of management. He referred in eulogistic terms to the work of the late Dr. Campbell, and pointed out that his sympathies ran in many directions, and that the colony had lost through his death a citizen who had rendered noble service in many departments. Nowhere, however, had he been more energetic and more untiring in his zeal than in his efforts on behalf of the Children’s Hospital. They were not likely to forget the victorious army of children who, with flags flying and with bands of music welcomed their benefactor to that building. Nor would they forget the beautiful address the doctor had given them on that occasion. He remembered him as he stood on the verandah of that building an on the threshold of death, and the memory of the scene would linger with him. They were unveiling a memorial to him that day, but there were other monuments to his good works, and the chief amongst these would be found at the Children’s Hospital, where his honored name was enshrined. His interest in children was always finding some new form of expression, and he had been of opinion that the Children’s Hospital would not be complete without that convalescent home. It had been whispered that the place was not needed, but those who held that view were not numerous. The doctor could speak with the authority of an expert, as well as with the sympathy of a lover of children, and his opinion had been that the little ones recovering from disease needed such a home during the period of weakness, as much as adults. A change to the bracing air of the hills could not but be beneficial, in many cases it was a necessity. Those who had paid visits to the institution had seen the unmistakable benefits which the patients derived from a sojourn there. After leaving the ceremony there twelve months ago Dr. Campbell had twice or thrice stopped to look back at the building, and on his way home he mentioned his desire that bright colors should adorn the ward, and on the following morning had expressed the wish that a stained glass window might be secured. Now they would regard that building as an appropriate and permanent memorial to him, and as the children from time to time read the name of their benefactor on the window just unveiled, they might be led to love his great Exemplar, who had said, “Suffer little children to come unto Me.” (Applause.)


Mr. D. Murray hoped that the window would bring the memory of Dr. Campbell to those who visited the institution, and to the children. He also referred feelingly to the pathetic circumstances connected with the inauguration of the Home.


Mr. C.H. Goode moved, and Mr. L.P. Lawrence seconded a vote of thanks to the Lieutenant-Governor and Lady Way, and to Miss Campbell, for their attendance.


In responding, Sir Samuel said he wished to take that opportunity of expressing the admiration they all felt at the condition in which the Home was always kept. Its cleanliness and the tidy arrangements, and the tasteful manner in which industrious hands adorned the place; the gardens of the district had been laid under contribution, and the result was exceedingly gratifying. He also wanted to thank Mr. Magarey for the trouble he had taken in bringing about that afternoon’s gathering. The ladies were also thanked for providing afternoon tea.


Mr. H. Scott seconded the propositions, which were carried, and responded to by one of the ladies.


Afternoon tea was then served.


The window is half circular in shape, and forms a coronal to the new plateglass which has been inserted in the lower sashes. It is a fine example of the art, and has been executed at the establishment of Mr. E.F. Troy, Flinders-street. The subject treated is Christ blessing the little children. It is rich in color, and in the background the city of Jerusalem can be discerned amongst the hills of Judea. The figure of the Saviour is well designed, and his arm encircles one of the three children who are gathered closely around him. Other little ones are near, and from the distance a mother is approaching, carrying her infant to Jesus. The attitude and expressions of all denote the reverence with which they regard the Benefactor of Mankind. The inscription at the bottom reads, “The beloved Physician. 1836 – Allan Campbell – 1898. The children’s friend.”


Note 1: The date of his arrival in South Australia is incorrect – corrected later to 1867.




Note 2: Note that nowhere, in any of the obituaries or reports of his funeral, was there mention of his work with the Adelaide Homœopathic Dispensary. This is despite the fact that this was one of his first philanthropic projects upon his arrival in Adelaide, to which he provided his services free-of-charge for many years, almost to the time of his death. His significant role as a homœopathic practitioner was deliberately erased.