Counter, Francis (Frank) William Dr

Date of Birth/Death:


Francis (Frank) William Counter was born at Yankalilla 2 July 1864, the son of John Counter, a Bible Christian minister and farmer, and his wife Elizabeth Cole. His father had preached at Yankalilla and Willunga. Dr Counter never married. He attended Prince Alfred College in Adelaide and upon graduating he sailed to Britain on the Cuzco in February 1883 in the second-class saloon section. He studied medicine at the Marischal College, University of Aberdeen in Scotland. In July 1889, he graduated and returned to South Australia arriving in December that year on the Famenoth. In February 1890 he had taken over the Willunga practice of Dr Robert McGowan. That same month, he was named public vaccinator for Willunga. In August 1890 he was appointed surgeon to the military forces. On 7 January 1891 St Anne’s Lodge, a residence and surgery, was transferred from Dr McGowan to Dr Counter. The new incumbent of St Stephens Church, Willunga appointed him as the Minister’s Warden. The following month he became the medical officer for the destitute, poor and the Aboriginal people in Aldinga and Willunga, and in May 1893 he was appointed to the Willunga’s School Board of Advice.

By January 1894 he was a Justice of the Peace. But in November that same year, the press reported he was recovering from a trap accident and that he would resume his practice at Christmas or in the early New Year. He became the President of the Southern Cricketing Association in September 1896, but in November 1899 he was recovering from surgery performed in Adelaide, although the specific nature of his illness was not stated. In March 1900 he became the surgeon to the Noarlunga Race Club.

One of his hobbies was floriculture, and he successfully exhibited flowers such as fuchsias, daisies, petunias and pansies at the Willunga Show. As well he showed pot plants, ducks and a female Scotch Collie dog for which he received prizes. In June 1896 he was listed as a member of Willunga’s Agricultural Bureau committee. It was also reported in April 1897 that he grew thirteen-foot-high maize! As well he exhibited pigs at the Port Elliot Show, and it was reported he did ‘fairly well’.

However, on 30 April 1900 he died from pneumonia at his home, St Anne’s Lodge. Reports suggest his surgery in November had left him in a ‘weakened condition’, and he caught a cold which progressed to pneumonia. His obituary stated he was ‘highly popular in the district’. He was buried at Payneham Cemetery.

Hephzibah Ann Counter of Willunga, his unmarried sister, was the beneficiary of his estate which included St Anne’s Lodge. It is presumed she had lived there with Francis as she too had exhibited flowers at the Willunga Show.


Willunga National Trust Branch, Willunga Doctors, Folder 42:9.

Willunga National Trust Branch, Willunga District Doctors 1841-1909

Genealogy SA,

St Anne’s Lodge, 7 St Peters Terrace, Willunga, Part Section 248, SAILIS CT 29/186.

1882 ‘Athletics.’, Evening Journal , 18 September, p. 3.

1883 ‘Latest News.’, Evening Journal, 22 February, p. 2.

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1888, ‘A South Australian Student in Scotland’, South Australian Register, 12 September, p. 5.

1888 ‘PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE.’, The South Australian Advertiser, 21 December, p. 7. ,

1889 ‘SHIPPING.’, Adelaide Observer, 14 December, p. 20.,

1889 ‘PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE.’, Adelaide Observer, 28 December, p. 6. ,

Roll of the Graduates of University of Aberdeen 1860-1900, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, University of Aberdeen Alumni 1596-1900, p. 100. (Findmypast).
1890 ‘The Week.’, South Australian Chronicle , 22 February, p. 11. ,
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1892 ‘VESTRY MEETINGS.’, South Australian Register, 1 June, p. 7. ,
1892 ‘MEDICAL CARE OF THE DESTITUTE.’, Adelaide Observer, 23 July, p. 31. ,
1892 ‘GOVERNMENT GAZETTE.’, The Advertiser, 9 September, p. 7. ,
1893 ‘SCHOOL BOARDS OF ADVICE.’, Evening Journal, 11 May, p. 4.,

1893 ‘MEDICAL OFFICERS TO DESTITUTE.’, South Australian Register, 21 July, p. 7.,

1893 ‘Advertising’, Evening Journal, 23 September, p. 1. ,

1894 ‘THE SOUTHERN DISTRICTS.’, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, 12 January, p. 3. ,

1894 ‘PROVINCIAL NEWS.’, South Australian Register, 9 March, p. 5. ,

1894 ‘APPOINTMENTS.’, South Australian Register, 27 July, p. 7. , viewed 10 Jan 2024,

1894 ‘MEDICAL OFFICERS.’, South Australian Register, 17 August, p. 7. ,

1894 ‘The Week.’, South Australian Chronicle, 1 December, p. 11. ,

1895 ‘WILLUNGA SHOW.’, South Australian Register, 29 October, p. 6. ,

1896 ‘MEMBERS OF SCHOOL BOARDS.’, Adelaide Observer, 23 May, p. 32. ,

1896 ‘BRANCH AGRICULTURAL BUREAUS.’, Adelaide Observer, 20 June, p. 5. ,

1896 ‘COUNTRY.’, South Australian Register, 15 September, p. 3. ,

1897 ‘GENERAL NEWS’, Adelaide Observer, 17 April, p. 28.,

1898 ‘PORT ELLIOT SHOW.’, The Advertiser, 29 October, p. 9.,

1899, “MEDICAL OFFICERS FOR THE DESTITUTE.” Chronicle, 22 July 1899: 19,

1899 ‘CONCERNING PEOPLE.’, Adelaide Observer, 11 November, p. 32.,

1900 “NOARLUNGA RACES.” The Advertiser, 12 March 1900: 6,

1900 ‘CONCERNING PEOPLE.’, South Australian Register, 2 May, p. 5.,

1900 ‘CONCERNING PEOPLE.’, Adelaide Observer, 5 May, p. 23.,

1900 ‘THE LATE DR. F. W. COUNTER.’, The Advertiser, 2 May, p. 9.,

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