Evans, John Dr

Date of Birth/Death:


John Evans was born 3 May 1874 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John Evans and Mary Harvey Puis (probably Pim – see Sources below). It was reported his father was an apothecary/doctor, and a grandfather was a doctor in Calcutta, India. He married 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, 16 January 1906 Camperdown, South Africa
  • Beatrice Margeurite Jervoise Evans later Guthrie, born 21 April 1915, Natal, South Africa

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 in 1900 and a Licentiate Apothecaries’ Hall 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.

He gave a lecture on the South African War at the Willunga Oddfellows’ Hall in October 1907 . The Boer National Anthem was played. Here he indicated he had been a member of 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 gave another 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. Perhaps his last public duty was on 28 November when he 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.

Dr Evans died suddenly 8 October 1937 at Coalbrook (Clydesdale Colliery), district of Heilbron, Orange Free State, South Africa aged sixty-three. 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 died at Durban, Natal in February 1953, although her residence was given as Karoi, Southern Rhodesia. It is unknown if his wife and infant son accompanied Dr Evans to South Australia.


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

Willunga National Trust Branch, Willunga District Doctors 1841-1909https://willungantsa.au/willunga-district-doctors-1841-1909/

Reece Jennings, An Annotated List of Registered Medical Practitioners – South Australia: Nos. 1-1018 (1844-1918), 1994, Mandrake Press, Adelaide.

Transcripts of the national register of the Society of Friends, 1859-1949,  LDS Film No. 5412707, FamilySearch. Image 15 of 442. [Date and place of birth].

‘Evans and Tim, Marriages’, 3 July 1873, Belfast Newsletter, 8 July 1873. Recent research suggests John Evan’s mother’s surname was Pim and not Puis. They were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). His father was an Apothecary and Chemist, and later surgeon at 49 Dawson Street, Dublin.

‘Obituary. Dr. J. Evans.’, South African Medical Journal . – S.A. Tydskrif vir Geneeskunde, ‘23 October 1937, Vol. XI, No. 20, page 749. http://www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj

Entry for John Evans, 1937, “South Africa, Orange Free State, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1832-1989”, , FamilySearch, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W2VL-V36Z

Entry for John Randal Desmond Evans, 1962. “Zimbabwe, Voter Registration, 1938-1973”, FamilySearch https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:66PD-RYV5  

South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004, FamilySearch, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6F4H-JV8P

Entry for John Evans and Beatrice Cecilia Jones, 16 April 1903,  “South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955”, FamilySearch, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDCG-9H3

1907 ‘THE COUNTRY.’, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), 11 October, p. 9. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5098634

1907 ‘A GUN ACCIDENT.’, Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 – 1931), 3 August, p. 43. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163166044

1907 ‘The Country.’, Observer, 19 October, p. 13. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163171260

1908 ‘THE COUNTRY.’, The Advertiser, 5 December, p. 13. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5150285

1908 ‘AN AFRICANDER IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA.’, Chronicle, 12 December, p. 12. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88306960




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