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James Millner (doctor)

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Years active  1855 to 1875
Profession  Surgeon
Name  James Millner

James Millner (doctor)
Born  1830Birmingham England
Died  25 February 1875 Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Known for  Early pioneer / settler of Australia

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 and was trained as a surgeon. Millner immigrated to Australia in 1855, arriving at Port Adelaide on 24 August aboard the barque Lismoyne. 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. After settling in South Australia, Dr Millner practised at Port Adelaide, Angaston and Gawler. In 1861 and 1862, Millner was an elected Alderman on the Port Adelaide Council.

On 22 January 1870, Doctor Millner arrived in Darwin on the SS Kohinoor as Acting Government Resident of the Northern Territory of South Australia. His commencing annual salary was listed at £500. 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. Millner was described as a tall man, heavily bearded, with thinning hair, who always wore spectacles.

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. Doctor Millner established good relations with the local aborigine people, who soon realised he had skills and knowledge they could use. 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.

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.


The following places are all named after James Millner:

  • The northern Darwin suburb of Millner.
  • Millner Street in Millner.
  • The Electoral division of Millner.
  • References

    James Millner (doctor) Wikipedia

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