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Evans, John (Doctor)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1874
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Date of arrival 1907
Principal occupation Doctor
Date of departure 1909
Date of death 1837
Place of decease Coalbrook, Orange Free State, South Africa

John Evans was born on 3 May 1874 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John Evans and Mary Harvey Puis. His father was an apothecary/doctor and a grandfather was a doctor in Calcutta, India. He married on 16 April 1903 in St Paul’s Church, Durban, South Africa to Beatrice Cecelia Jones who was born in Natal. They had at least two children: John Randall Desmond Evans and Beatrice Margeurite Jervoise Evans – their dates and places of birth are unknown.

Dr Evans attended the University of Coimbra in Portugal and volunteered medical assistance during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Following this, he qualified as a medical practitioner from Trinity College in Dublin, receiving a Bachelor of Obstetrics (BAO) in 1900 and a Licentiate Apothecaries’ Hall (LAH) in 1901. He stated that the Kaffir Rebellion, most probably the Zulu Rising of 1906, was the catalyst for his arrival in Australia. On 9 May 1907, he registered to practise medicine in South Australia and, in July, attended Linda Mudge at McLaren Vale who had been accidentally shot.

In October 1907, Dr Evans gave a lecture on the South African War at the Willunga Oddfellows’ Hall. The Boer National Anthem was played. Here he indicated that he had joined the British Army Medical Corps as a civilian doctor but this may have been the South African Medical Corps. Proceeds of the night went to aid the Anglican Sunday School. The next day he gave a similar lecture, complete with lantern slides, at the Aldinga District Hall. This time funds were raised for an organ for the Methodist Church at Aldinga.

In July 1908, he was elected a vice-president of the Willunga Institute. The following month at McLaren Vale, he again gave a presentation on African life including personal reminiscences of the Boer War (South African War). He announced early in November 1908 that he was leaving Willunga to return to South Africa. On 28 November Dr Evans opened a Strawberry Fete and Blossom Fair at the Willunga Agricultural Hall. Miss Nellie Hockney presented him with a button-hole spray. Proceeds of the fair went towards the installation of acetylene gas in the local Methodist Church.

By 10 April 1909 he was reported as having acquired a practice at Sea Point in South Africa. In 1915 he saw military service in East Africa and returned to civilian life in 1919. However, he moved around South Africa, practising at Camperdown, Natal; Lady Grey, East Cape; and from 1926 was at Que Que and Gwelo, both in Rhodesia. In 1935 he was listed as practising medicine at Hobhouse via Wepener in the Orange Free State. He appears to have worked at various collieries and sugar estates.

Dr Evans died suddenly 8 October 1937 at Coalbrook (Clydesdale Colliery), district of Heilbron, Orange Free State, South Africa age 63. He was described as a ‘typical Irishman, versatile, charming in manner and imbued with the roving spirit of his race. He could not bear to rusticate in one abode for long …’. It was reported he had not only studied medicine but also Law and a Bachelor of Arts, perhaps the latter two earlier in Portugal. Beatrice his wife died at Durban, Natal in February 1953, although her residence was given as Karoi, Southern Rhodesia. It is unknown if she accompanied her husband to South Australia.

Sources

  • Transcripts of the Society of Friends 1859-1949 LDS Film No. 5412707 FamilySearch. Image 15 of 442
  • ‘Obituary. Dr. J. Evans.’ S.A. Medical Journal. – S.A. Tydskrif vir Geneeskunde ‘23 October 1937 Vol. XI. No. 20:749
  • ‘An Africander in South Australia’ Advertiser 5 December 1908:13
  • ‘The Country’ Advertiser 5 December 1908:13
  • South Africa Natal Province Civil Marriages 1845-1955. National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Pretoria per FamilySearch
  • Reece Jenning An Annotated List of Registered Medical Practitioners – South Australia: Nos. 1-1018 (1844-1918) 1994 Mandrake Press Adelaide
  • ‘A Gun Accident’ Observer 3 August 1907:43
  • ‘Willunga’ Advertiser 11 October 1907:9
  • ‘The Country. Our Correspondents’ Letters. Aldinga’ Observer 19 October 1907:13
  • South Australian Directory 1908
  • South African Medical Record 10 April 1909:112
  • UK & Ireland Medical Directory 1935 per Ancestry
  • South Africa Orange Free State Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court 1832-1989 per FamilySearch



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