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Scott Crawford Stewart MULLIN


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Cpl 57878 39y9m 17/04/18 09/11/19 3

Lance Corporal Scott Crawford Stewart Mullin (1878 - 1954)

In April 1918, shortly before his 40th birthday, accountant and family man Scott Crawford Stewart Mullin enlisted in the 1st AIF.  We have no record of his motivation, but it is perhaps worth noting the context - the second conscription referendum had been defeated in December 1917, recruit numbers were low, and the German Army had launched a major offensive in March 1918.

It was 27 September 1918 before Scott disembarked in the UK, and the Armistice was signed when he was still training in a group designated as reinforcements for the 15th Infantry Battalion.

While waiting for repatriation to Australia, Scott worked in the Australian Army Pay Corps, and was promoted Lance Corporal.

Post war Scott worked as an accountant, was prominent in local affairs in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield, and served two terms as a Councillor on the Brisbane City Council.  He and his wife Margaret were active members of the congregation of Saint Andrew’s (then Presbyterian) Church in the city.

Family background

Scott was born on 3 June 1878 in Leichhardt Street, Brisbane, the second son of Susan nee Finney and William Norris Mullin. Both parents were born in Ireland – William in Omagh and Susan in Galway – and they married in Brisbane in 1871. William (1842-1894) had come to Australia in 1862 and joined the Queensland Customs Department in 1865, working in several locations before being based in Brisbane from 1875.

The family joined the congregation of the Wickham Terrace Presbyterian Church, and from 1883 until his early death in 1894, William was the cashier at the Customs House.

Early life

Scott attended the Brisbane Grammar School for three years (1892-94) and in January 1895 went to work for Finney, Isles and Co. (merchants and direct importers and manufacturers), where his uncle Thomas was one of the partners.  

Over the next eight years Scott was given experience in a variety of areas of the business – obtaining ‘a thorough insight into the trade’ and making him ‘a good all round draper’.  He resigned on 14 March 1903 ‘to go into business on his own account’. 

In Oakey, Scott joined with E. R. Pace to form ‘Pace and Mullin’.  Their timing was good – a drought had broken and over the next three years the business ‘increased in leaps and bounds’.  In addition to carrying a wide range of goods and being agents for various suppliers, the business handled much of the local produce trade such as wheat.

Scott took on an even more important partnership in 1903 – he married Margaret Alice Reid, daughter of a warehouseman Andrew Reid and his wife Annie nee Burns.  The wedding took place in the Wickham Street Presbyterian Church in Brisbane.

Two daughters ensued – Eileen in 1906 and Adele (‘Dell’) in 1909 – and the family resided in Campbell Street, Oakey.

Scott was an energetic member of the Oakey progress association and the inaugural secretary of the business committee for the Presbyterian Church established in Oakey in 1903.

In 1913 the family moved to Brunswick Street in New Farm, Brisbane and in the electoral rolls 1913-1917 Scott’s occupation is given as commission agent.  However, when he enlisted in March 1918, his occupation was public accountant.

Army service

As noted earlier, on 17 April 1918, three months before his 40th birthday, Scott enlisted in the 1st AIF.  He was 166.4cms tall, weighed 79.4kg, and had grey eyes, brown to grey hair, and a dark complexion.

Scott embarked on 17 July 1918 in Sydney on the HMAT Borda A30, and after disembarking in London on 27 September 1918, was allotted to reinforcements for the 15th Infantry Battalion.  However, while the group was still training, the Armistice came into effect on 11 November 1918.

Demobilisation was a huge and therefore slow logistical exercise.  While waiting in the UK, Scott was transferred to the Australian Army Pay Corps in November 1918, and promoted Lance Corporal on 1 January 1919.

Eventually Scott boarded the HT Euripides, arriving back in Australia on 24 Oct 1919.  

He was formally discharged on 9 November 1919.

Post war

Scott returned to his practice as an accountant and local government auditor, and from 1927 the family settled at 41 Butler Street, Clayfield. 

They attended Saint Andrew’s Church on the corner of Ann and Creek Streets in the city, with Margaret being active in the Women’s Guild, and Scott contributing at different times on the Committee of Management, in the Sunday School and for many years as auditor.  Daughter Eileen was married in the Church in 1934 by the Rev Norman Millar, and daughter Adele (‘Dell’) was married at home in 1942 by the then Saint Andrew’s minister, the Rev Norman Webster.

As president of the Clayfield Progress Association and a member of the Council of Progress Associations, Scott was a vocal advocate on local issues.  In 1944 he was elected president of Clayfield’s Child Minding Centre – put forward as a model of community self-reliance, and an important support to mothers in the suburbs needing to shop in a crowded ‘garrison city’.

Reported to be a ‘keen supporter of the Liberal Party’, Scott successfully stood for election to the Brisbane City Council in 1943 and 1946, as part of the Citizens’ Municipal Organisation team.  During both terms Scott was on the Health Committee and a representative on the Brisbane and East Moreton Pests Destruction Board. 

Margaret died suddenly on 12 September 1946, aged 70, and her funeral service was held in Saint Andrew’s. An obituary recorded that she was ‘well known in social and charity circles in Brisbane’ and ‘on the committee of many organisations, including the Travellers’ Aid Society, Victorian League, Queensland Women’s Electoral League, Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Women’s Guild, and the National Council (of Women).’  She was also involved with the Brisbane Women’s Club.

Scott died after a long illness on 1 August 1954, aged 76, and after a funeral service in Saint Andrew’s his ashes were placed in the Mt Thompson Memorial Gardens with those of wife.


Select bibliography

  • Australian War Memorial – embarkation roll.
  • Brisbane Grammar School – Annals 1869-1922, Golden Book.
  • National Archives of Australia – service record.
  • Queensland births, marriages and deaths registers.
  • Mullin family papers 1872-1912 SLQ M332, Box 5114.
  • Saint Andrew’s annual reports, particularly 1946 p17 and 1954 p7.
  • Cole, John R., Shaping a city: greater Brisbane 1925-1985 (William Brooks, Qld, 1985)
  • Greenwood, Gordon and Laverty, John. Brisbane 1859-1959: a history of local Government. (Brisbane City Council, 1959).
  • Daily Standard (Brisbane) 1 January 1935 p8.
  • Darling Downs Gazette (Qld) 25 June 1906 p5.
  • The Brisbane Courier 13 December 1894 p4; 2 July 1903 p4; 19 May 1910 p5.
  • The Courier Mail (Brisbane) 1 January 1935 p14; 27 February 1942 p6; 14 Sept 1946 p3; 3 Aug 1954 p6.
  • The Queenslander 5 August 1871 p1; 30 September 1905 p38. 
  • The Telegraph (Brisbane) 29 April 1895 p4; 13 Sept 1946 p3; 2 Aug 1954 p8.

Written by Ian Carnell, Buderim. October 2016.

 

 

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