Marsden, Walter Cecil Dr

Date of Birth/Death:


Walter Cecil Marsden was born in December 1878 at Dunedin, New Zealand the son of George Henry Marsden and Emily Deacon. He attended Otago High School, and in 1894 placed third out of 145 in the Teacher and Civil Service Junior Examination. His parents immigrated to Australia in 1895 and he attended the University of Melbourne where he studied medicine graduating in 1901. In October 1901 he practised medicine for a short time in Glasgow, Scotland and was later believed to have been employed in England by cricketing great Dr W G Grace, perhaps in part because he had played cricket at school. He registered in South Australia in May 1903 as a medical practitioner and worked as an assistant to Dr Eugene Glynn at Kapunda, but in July 1904 he took over a practice at Port Broughton. In April 1905 he married Julia Ruby Stella (Stella) Hawke at Kapunda. They had five children of whom the eldest was born in Willunga:

  • Mollie, born on 4 July 1906 at Willunga, probably at St Anne’s Lodge, and died in 1955.
  • Joyce (1910 Deniliquin, New South Wales – 1967)
  • Donald Cecil (1914 Trafalgar, Victoria -1974)
  • Maxwell Cecil (1914 Trafalgar, Victoria -1981)
  • Bruce Cecil, born (1923, Camberwell, Victoria – 1991).

In July 1906 Dr Marsden was appointed a poultry judge at the McLaren Vale Poultry Show. In March 1907 he registered, as number 19, a Talbot 10hp, 2 cylinder motor car demonstrating a change in mode of transport from horse and buggy. By April 1907 he was appointed to the School Board of Advice for Willunga and later as the medical officer for the Destitute and Indigenous people in the districts of Aldinga and Willunga. In July 1907 he also registered as a medical practitioner in Queensland, and Victoria indicating his stay in Willunga was to be short. He had moved interstate by 1910.

Dr Marsden had served during World War One in the British Royal Army Medical Corps during 1915 and 1916. After the war he remained in Victoria, returning to South Australia in 1926 purchasing a practice at Torrensville. Like many doctors during this early period, he became insolvent and it is believed this precipitated his brief return to McLaren Vale in 1930 where he became Patron of the McLaren Vale Football Club, and President of the McLaren Vale Tennis Club. However, a short time later he again left the district. In 1933 he was discharged as a bankrupt.  He practised at Kingston (South East) until approximately 1946 when he returned to Adelaide and worked part-time at the Repatriation Hospital at Daw Park.

He died at the Repatriation Hospital, Springbank on 2 April 1951. His wife Stella died in January 1965.


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

Willunga National Trust Branch, 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.
Ancestry – UK & Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942.
Ancestry – New Zealand, Teacher and Civil Service Examinations and Licenses, 1880-1920.

Dr Walter Cecil Marsden’s records and photographs, held by Dr Susan Marsden.

April 1896 Otago High School Magazine, Dr Walter Cecil Marsden’s scrapbook held by Dr Susan Marsden.

‘University of Melbourne. Annual Examination, October, 1897’, Age, 12 November 1897, page 3.
Ancestry – UK, Medical and Dental Students Registers, 1882-1937.
1930 ‘From The Country’, Chronicle, 11 September, p. 17. ,
1933 ‘DOCTOR GOES BANKRUPT’, News, 13 January, p. 4. ,
Kapunda’s Irish Medical Men, 1848-1914′, No. 47,  Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia,  November, 2019, pp. 7-27.
For additional information about Dr Marsden and his family, refer to ‘Transcript: Interview with Bruce Marsden records by Alexandra Marsden and Susan Marsden on 28th December 1991’,

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