Dr Graham Shipway

One of the stories from the 2012 project: Who were they? People who shaped Victor Harbor and for whom our parks and reserves are named.

Graham Shipway Reserve

Graham Shipway Reserve is situated between Folkestone Terrace and Dwiar Road, Victor Harbor.

Shipway ancestry

From the 1841 British Census, we learn that Dr Shipway’s ancestors John and Catherine Shipway were living in the village of Leighterton, Gloucestershire

  • Shipway, John age 25, born 1816 Gloucestershire
  • Shipway, Catherine age 25, born 1816 Gloucestershire
  • Shipway, Thomas age 1, born 1840 Gloucestershire.

Eight years later, this family came to South Australia aboard the barque Cheapside, a vessel of 621 tons. With three children, they sailed from London 23 June 1849 and Plymouth 6 July 1849, and arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 10 October 1849.

The South Australian Register of Saturday 13 October 1849, records the arrival.

Passengers: Mr. Clisby & daughter, Miss Clisby, Mr. Farmer, Mr. Hodgkin, Revd. Mr. Wood, wife & five children and Mr. J. Ayre, late surgeon-superintendent of the Tasman in the cabin. 242 emigrants in the steerage included; Shipway John age 34, a shepherd born in Gloucester, England; Catherine (nee Innes) 34, his wife; and children Thomas aged 8; Edward aged 6 and Esther aged 2.

(The Cheapside was the 19th ship from England to S.A. with government passengers for 1849; 10 births and 6 deaths on the passage; Mr. J. Ayre, surgeon-superintendent.)

After spending a few months on the plains near Adelaide, the Shipways moved on to the picturesque village of Clarendon, where they remained for nearly five years. In 1854, John took up land at Myrtle Grove.

Three sons Thomas, Edward and Henry, and four daughters Mary Ann, Mary Elizabeth, Catherine and Emma completed their family.

Eldest son, Thomas Shipway 1840-1923 married Mary Ann Tester. Thomas was a blacksmith and local preacher. A devout and widely respected man, he had conducted a morning and evening service in the Methodist Church at Willunga, 16 miles from his home in Clarendon, the day before he was found to have died in his sleep.

Thomas’ and Mary Ann’s son, Cornelius John Shipway joined the Post Master General’s Department and worked in Strathalbyn, Adelaide, Meningie and finally Victor Harbor. Cornelius married Agnes Ann Graham and they became parents of Graham Stuart Shipway, his brother John and sister Margaret.

From The Register 31 Jan 1914

Telephone for Encounter Bay

Encounter Bay has been connected by telephone with Adelaide via Victor Harbor.
On Thursday morning, at 10 o’clock, Professor Rennie, of the Adelaide University, spoke over the telephone, which was used for the first time, to the Deputy Postmaster-General.
Mr CJ Shipway, postmaster at Victor Harbor, was the representative of the department.
Mr O A Baaner (Chairman of the Encounter Bay District Council) on behalf of the residents, thanked the Deputy Postmaster-General over the wire for having installed the telephone at Encounter Bay, and assured him it would prove a great convenience to the people. Mr AH Warland supported My Baaner’s remarks.
Mr E R Bolger (postmaster at Encounter Bay for 30 years) then spoke, and said that he was pleased that at last one of his long held hopes had been realised.

Graham Stuart Shipway was born in Victor Harbor on 26 February 1889. He studied medicine at Adelaide University and became a doctor.

From The Advertiser 27 July 1916

Six more doctors for the war

A special congregation was held in the Prince of Wales’ Theatre, Adelaide University, on Wednesday for the purpose of conferring degrees on candidates. The Chancellor (the Hon. G. J. R. Murray presided.’ The following were presented for the degrees of bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery:– N. B. G. Abbott, G. H. Black, C. B. Burden, G. H. Burnell, G. S. Shipway, and A. R. Southwood… The Chancellor, in presenting the degrees, congratulated the candidates, and particularly the medical graduates who, he stated, had all volunteered for active service. He expressed the hope that they would do good work in alleviating the condition of the wounded and sick, and said he believed their services with the army would not be required for very long.

Dr Shipway became a Captain in the 7th Field Ambulance Unit, and embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A42 Boorara on 10 May 1917. He was in the Australian Camel Field Ambulance, and later in the Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance in Egypt, where he was promoted from Captain to Major.

One story of his medical escapades in the army relates that he infiltrated enemy lines on his camel in the dead of night to steal drugs for the patients he was looking after, as supplies had failed to arrive.

After the war in about 1918 he travelled with a ship load of wounded soldiers to Bristol Hospital. Here, he met his future wife Hilda Elizabeth Reynolds, who was a young doctor working at the hospital. She and a friend were the first two female doctors to qualify at Bristol University.

Dr Graham Shipway returned home, and designed and built a house in Victor Habor on Crozier Road. Hilda followed Graham out to Australia, and they were married in 1922 in Unley. Their children Mary (Mamo), Phyllis, Gerald, and Margaret were born.

Hilda never registered as a doctor here in Australia because it was frowned upon for a woman to practice medicine. So, she helped in the Red Cross and also helped Dr Graham in his practice. Graham and Hilda were both well known and much loved in Victor Harbor.

From The Register News-Pictorial Monday 21 January 1929

New public hospital for Port Victor

Work is to cost nearly £13,000

In July, 1925, a movement was made in Victor Harbour with the idea of building a public hospital, to be named the Victor Harbour and South Coast District Hospital.
A piece of land situated at Encounter Bay was purchased, and it was not long before a substantial sum was in hand. Tenders were called for the building and 17 contractors submitted a price.
Yesterday, the tender of Mr. F. W. Paech, a local contractor, was accepted. The price submitted by Mr. Paech was £9987/10/-.
The electric light and power contract was let to Newton & McLaren Limited, for £285, and it is estimated that the hot water service will cost £332.
The building when complete in about eight months, will probably cost about £13,00O, and will be a most commodious and up-to-date hospital.
The trustees are Drs. F. J. Douglas and Graham Shipway and Messrs G. Battye, A. T. Grosvenor, and A. H. Warland (secretary), and the mayor (Mr. D. H. Griffin) is chairman of the committee.

From The Register News-Pictorial Monday 25 March 1929

District hospital at Victor: Governor lays foundation stone

£306 subscribed

Victor Harbour, Sunday – There was a large attendance of people from all parts of the district present yesterday afternoon to witness the laying of the foundation stone of the Victor Harbor and South Coast district hospital by the Governor (Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven).
Lady Hore-Ruthven and the president of the Hospital Association (Dr. W. H. Russell), and the Mayor of Victor Harbour (Mr. W. H. Griffin) were also present.
The Victor Harbour town band, under the baton of Mr. P. R. Field, rendered selections, while the local troops of Boy Scouts in charge of Scoutmaster J. Young and members of the Girl Guides (Commissioner M. Douglas) formed guards of honour.

Governor pays tribute

After performing the ceremony of laying the stone, the Governor said he was pleased to know the Government intended to subsidize the hospital. He paid high tribute to the enterprise of the townspeople in working for such an admirable object. He had visited several country hospitals, and was pleased with their efficiency.
The Chief Secretary (Mr. Tassie) said subsidized hospitals were supported from loan moneys, and the expense in that direction was becoming a burden to the State. He thought that owing to the financial position the subsidy for hospitals should be pound for pound instead of 30/ for pound.
Sir Henry Newland paid tribute to the present private hospital staff — Drs. F.J. Douglas and Graham Shipway and Sister A. M. Le Dan — and referred to the historical grounds on which the hospital was being built.
Afternoon tea was in charge of the Girl Guides and realized £15/10/, and £306/11/6 was placed on the foundation stone. Mr Frank Reed giving £100. The arrangements were in the hands of the secretary (Mr. A. H. Warland).

From The Mail Saturday 13 June 1936

High School Plans Approved

Plans for the new high school at Victor Harbor have been approved, and tenders will be called almost immediately. Three large classrooms and a well-fitted science laboratory, rooms for headmaster and staff, a library, and a common room for both sexes will be included in the building.
It will be of brick, and will face the Inman Valley road, commanding a splendid view of the Bluff and the Southern Ocean.
Other additions expected are wood work and ‘handyman’ classrooms. In front of the school will be planted swamp oaks.
The high school council is the Rev. C. Denis Ryan (chairman), Messrs. L. R. Muller, L. V. Reid, A. L. Sedunary and Dr Graham Shipway.
Five acres of land were secured from Mr C. H. Smith, of Western Australia, and the location is near the Victor Harbor Oval. Already corporation employees have built a footbridge at Forest Avenue.

From The Advertiser Monday 19 December 1938

Victor Harbor Recruiting March

The Victor Harbor recruiting committee held a street procession last night when, headed by the municipal town band under the leadership of Mr. W. Palmer, returned soldiers and sailors and members of the 18th Machine Gun Regiment, marched from Milne Reserve through Railway terrace into Ocean street. Dr. L. J. Pellew, who was introduced by the president of the recruiting committee (Dr. Graham Shipway). gave an address. The enrolment since the appeal by the committee has been satisfactory, and 12 new members have been enrolled.

From The Advertiser Wednesday 15 January 1947

Suggestion For Victor War Memorial, Victor Harbor January 14

That the Victor Harbor war memorial should take the form of an illuminated cross to be erected at Granite Island, was suggested at a special meeting of the local RSL, sub-branch and it was decided to recommend the plan to the public. At the same meeting Mr. B. Walters, was appointed president of the sub-branch, in place of Dr. Graham Shipway who filled the position for 15 years. Dr. Shipway was appointed patron, and Mr. W. W. Jenkins vice-president.


  • Settlers Around The Bay, Anthony Laube
  • Victor Harbor: From Pioneer Port to Seaside Resort, Michael Page
  • Trove digital newspapers www.trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
  • Digger database