Andrew Alexander Kirkpatrick’s father was Patrick Alexander (also known as Alexander) Kirkpatrick and his grandfather was Robert Kirkpatrick, a farmer from Northern Ireland. Patrick Alexander Kirkpatrick was born about 1813 in Ireland and emigrated to England some time between 1841 and 1849. He died on the 12 February 1849, age 36, in the University College Hospital, London. He first worked as a Railway Porter and was a Railway Police Constable at he time of his death. He was accidentally run over by a train in a fog.
Andrew Alexander Kirkpatrick’s mother was Mary Ann Stinton. Mary Ann was the daughter of Samuel Stinton and Mary. Samuel was christened on the 25 March 1770 at All Saints, Eastham, Worcestershire and died in 1863 in Worcestershire. He first worked as an agricultural laborer and farm servant and was a wool comber in 1844. Samuel and Mary had 9 children, including Mary Ann Stinton who was christened on the 09 May 1801 at Sapey Pritchard, Worcestershire. Mary Ann Stinton first married Thomas Giblin on the 11 February 1844 at the Old Parish Church, Clerkenwell, Middlesex. They had about 11 children but only 5 have been identified. Mary Ann Giblin (nee Stinton) second married Patrick Kirkpatrick on the 11 February 1844 in the Old Parish Church, St James, Clerkenwell, Middlesex. She was a widow, age 43, and he was a bachelor, age 31.
Patrick and Mary Ann’s marriage only lasted 5 years. During that time, they moved from Wilmington Square, St James, Middlesex to 9 Clarendon St, Grove Street, Somers Town, and in 1848, Mary Ann was living at 50 Little George St, Somers Town, Middlesex. They had at least 2 children: Robert Samuel Kirkpatrick who was born in March 1845 in Middlesex and Andrew Alexander Kirkpatrick who was born on 04 January 1848 at 50 Little George St, Somers Town, Middlesex.
Immediately following Patrick Alexander Kirkpatrick’s death, Mary Ann had no means of financial support. In the 1851 England Census, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick (age 44) was listed as the Superintendent of Girls at the Central London District School (referred to variously as located at Croydon, Norwood and Surrey). It was a work house with an educational function and her children - Robert Kirkpatrick (age 6) and Andrew Kirkpatrick (age 3) - were with her and classified as inmates. The inmates were divided into 2 groups - Andrew and Robert Kirkpatrick were in a group of 97 persons under 17 and Mary Ann Kirkpatrick was in a different mixed group of 97 persons of mixed sexes and ages.
The Central London Districts Schools Board of Management was formed in 1849 from 5 London Unions (the same year that Patrick died). In that year, it acquired a privately owned pauper school building in Westow-hill, Norwood, Surrey from a Mr. Aubin (Superintendent) and his wife (Matron). The Central London Districts School Board used this building as a pauper school and retained Mr. and Mrs. Aubin in their previous capacities until the time of Mr. Aubin’s sudden death in November 1860. This Norwood School aimed at maintaining and instructing children in order to render them useful members of society. It quickly expanded and was soon altered to accommodate up to 800 children. In 1856, the school managers purchased a 136 acre site at Hanwell for £13,000 and the foundation stone of the Hanwell or “Cuckoo” Schools was laid in 1865. The Norwood School relocated soon after and Andrew and Robert were probably transferred and remained there until 1860. They would have been institutionalised in the Norwood and Hanwell schools for up to 11 years before they emigrated to Australia with their mother and their 2 Giblin half sisters.
Simultaneously, the Crimean War (1854 - 56) was taking place in the Crimea, Asia Minor, the Baltic, the White Sea and on Russia’s Pacific Coast between the nations of Russia, Turkey, Great Britain, France and Piedmont-Sardinia. It has become known as one of the worst managed wars in history. Deaths due to illness and malnutrition were 4 times the rate of those due to enemy action. From 1854, there were calls in the British press for nurses to join the forces and Florence Nightingale departed for the Crimea with 38 nurses on 04 November 1854. Oral traditions suggest Mary Ann Kirkpatrick (nee Stinton and previously Giblin) may have been one of those nurses. But she was not a trained nurse and no one with the name of Stinton, Giblin or Kirkpatrick was listed in the Register of Nurses Sent to Military Hospitals in the East in the Florence Nightingale Museum in London or in the records of the National Archive at Kew, London. Simultaneously, this does not mean Mary Ann did not go to the Crimean War. A Museum Officer, has indicated that although Mary Ann did not serve in any official capacity in any British Hospital between 1854 and 1856, she may still have served in the Crimean War in an unofficial, supportive capacity. She may have been an orderly - cooking, mending old shirts, sorting rotting linen or doing any number of other unattractive chores - while trained nurses focused on treating large numbers of infested and infected wounds in appalling conditions. However, it seems most unlikely that Mary Ann would have abandoned her sons in England, for at least several years, to participate in such folly. More likely, she remained in England working as Superintendent of Girls at the Hanwell Schools for up to 10 years. Her role would necessarily have involved some nursing duties and she may have been referring to these activities when she indicated that she was a nurse in her emigration documents. Others may have incorrectly inferred this to mean she was a nurse in the Crimean War.
Perhaps Mary Ann’s nursing duties at the Hanwell Schools were quite considerable. This environment was notorious for its high incidence of infection, particularly infectious eye disease. A particularly serious outbreak in 1862 affected 686 children and several young children went blind. Discipline was also harsh. Children were frequently and publicly subjected to 3 to 6 hefty strokes with a 4 foot cane or 3 or more strokes with a birch for their misdemeanors. Many children fainted during this process and most required immediate medical treatment afterwards.
We can reconstruct Robert and Andrew’s daily routine over this period. The Hanwell Schools continued expanding until 1861 at which time they were able to accommodate 1200 children. For many years, children were organised into 2 divisions - a school division and a working division. Up to the age of 9, children stayed in the school division where they received basic instruction in literacy and numeracy. After the age of 9, they spent alternate days in the school and working divisions where boys received instruction in basic trades - such as tailoring, shoe-making, cleaning, farming, gardening, painting and glazing, carpentry, blacksmithing and baking and girls received instruction in home duties - such as needlework, cleaning, attending to the dormitories, nurserymaid work, cooking, scullery and dairy work. There was also a Hanwell School Farm on the estate and many of the boys worked on that farm during and after their training. We can presume that Andrew, at least, was trained in farming and went to work on the school farm. The Observer stated that at 9 years of age (Andrew) had to go out into the fields haymaking, so he had little opportunity for education and the Biographical Index of South Australians stated that Andrew started work as a farm labourer at the age of 9. His brother Robert was listed as a servant in his emigration documents but not specified as any particular type of servant.
Mary Ann emigrated to South Australia arriving at Port Adelaide on the 11 November 1860 aboard the Ramilles. She was listed as Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, a nurse (and the numbers associated with her emigration were 374 and 632). She was accompanied by Mary Kirkpatrick (age 37), a servant from Sussex (no. 374), Robert Kirkpatrick (age 15), a servant from Sussex (no. 374) and Andrew Kirkpatrick (age 12), a farm servant (no. 632). She was also accompanied by Elizabeth Giblin (age 22), a servant from Sussex (no. 4421). Elizabeth Giblin’s travel number was not sequentially linked to the other Kirkpatrick family members but she belonged to this family group as her name and age details match previously established details.
We can only speculate about Mary Ann’s reasons for emigrating to Australia with some of her children. She probably realised that she and her children had limited options in England whilst also being subjected to a huge amount of propaganda by the large and ever increasing number of organisations and agencies concerned with the relocation of disadvantaged adults and children all over the world from the 1830s onwards. And she was probably specifically pressured by London Central District Schools which had an arrangement with the owners of the Ramilles with regard to transporting workhouse inmates to Australia. Most of these organisations and groups would have promoted South Australia as a particularly desirable location (along with others) on the basis of its climate, work opportunities and particularly because Australia was a British Colony.
It is not known how Mary Ann supported herself immediately following her arrival in South Australia - but her 2 sons probably assisted her. Mary Ann Kirkpatrick (nee Stinton and previously Giblin) died of heart disease on the 11 November 1875, age 74, at her usual place of residence, Grote Street, Adelaide. Her death was notified by her son, Andrew Kirkpatrick, compositor, of Victoria Place, Adelaide.
Immediately after his arrival in South Australia, Andrew Alexander Kirkpatrick subscribed to the South Australian Institute where he was described as a “boy” living in Adelaide. Simultaneously, he obtained employment as a messenger boy earning 5 shillings a week. When he reached the required age, he gained an apprenticeship in the printing trade. He completed his qualifications in Ballarat and returned to South Australia where he worked as a compositor at the Advertiser (for many years) and the Government Printing Office (for a further 10 years prior to his election to Parliament). Andrew also established his own printing business which was described as the largest of its kind in South Australia (at that time). Simultaneously, he held company directorships and was active in the Typographical Society of South Australia and a succession of political associations. In particular, in 1874, Andrew was the Foundation Member of the Typographical Society of South Australia (and during 1882 - 83, he was also its President). In that same year, he was a leading figure in the Labor League (and remained a prominent member of the industrial and political labor movement for more than 30 years). In 1875, on his mother’s death record, he was listed as a compositor of Victoria Place, Adelaide. In 1886, he was also a delegate to the triennial conference of the Australian Typographical Union in Melbourne. Andrew Alexander Kirkpatrick married Catherine Maria Cooper on the 04 April 1878 at the dwelling place of Charles Smith, Orange Street, Norwood. He was a bachelor, age 30, and she was a spinster, age 22. They had 7 children.
In 1880, Andrew was one of the founders of the National Liberal Reform League (NLRL) (a group founded to organise workers into political association in order to protect workers’ pay and rights) and in September 1883, he was its first President. In 1882, he addressed a meeting of the NLRL in support of the formation of a United Trades and Labor Council (UTLC). In 1884, the NLRL was superseded by the UTLC. (And in that same year, the second Colton government passed an employers’ liability act). In the late 1880s, the UTLC endorsed and supported political candidates sympathetic to their (the Labor Party’s) interests and Andrew had their considerable political support. In May 1891, the UTLC set up a Legislative Council Elections Committee and on 16 May 1891 Andrew was one of 3 Labor members to successfully contest the Legislative Council elections. He remained there until 21 May 1897, representing District No. 2 (Southern).
On 22 May 1897 Andrew contested the Legislative Council elections, District No. 2 (Southern), but was defeated and on 29 April 1899 he contested the Seat of Frome and was also defeated. On 19 May 1900, 03 May 1902 and 27 May 1905, Andrew successfully contested the Legislative Council, District No. 1 (Central). Between 26 July 1905 and 27 March 1909, he was Chief Secretary. Between 26 July 1905 and 27 March 1909, he was Minister for Local Industry in the Price-Peake Labor-Liberal Coalition Government. On 26 March 1909, Andrew resigned his position to become South Australia’s first Labor Agent General in London. The Northern Territory Times and Gazette 16 April 1909 notes his departure from Adelaide 16 April 1909 with his wife Catherine and 2 of their their daughters.
Oral traditions confirm the Kirkpatricks had a particularly enjoyable time in London and particular highlights included their introduction at the Royal Court and a trip to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. Such activities would have been particularly thrilling for Catherine Maria and their daughters. Andrew must have been somewhat bemused by his personal journey from the Hanwell Schools and Hanwell School Farm to his becoming South Australian’s Agent General in London.
In 1915, Andrew returned to Australia and on 27 March 1915, he was elected to the House of Assembly, Seat of Newcastle, where he remained until 06 April 1918 when he was once again elected to the Legislative Council, District No. 1 (Central). Andrew was Leader of the Opposition during 1917 - 1918. On 05 April 1918, he moved from the House of Assembly to the Legislative Council where he represented District No. 1 (Central). He remained in the Legislative Council until 19 August 1928 (when he died). Between 16 April 1924 and 08 April 1927, he was Minister for Mines, Marine and Immigration in the Gunn Labor Government (1924-26) and the Hill Labor Government (1926-27). Whilst in government, Andrew supported the rights of workers, the rights of citizens and equal rights for men and women. In the first case and in 1886, Andrew was Chairman and Trustee of the 8 Hours Celebration Committee (supporting 8 hour working days). In 1887, he supported legislative assistance regarding the drivers of horse drawn trams and their boy conductors who were working up to 80 hours a week. He fought for the removal of middlemen or contractors paying unduly low rates for work performed - and particularly with regard to female workers involved with the manufacture of clothing. (This was called sweating). On 15 November 1904, he gave a speech on the motion for the adoption of the report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the alleged sweating evil. In this speech, he noted that sweating in the general clothing trade had disappeared and it was now time to apply attention to sweating in most other trades.
He also fought for miners’ rights at Broken Hill, the idea of working men’s blocks (and sought to secure reimbursement for tenant farmers from private landlords for improvements farmers made to their lands), and fought for tariff protection for South Australian industries. In 1887, he argued that he would rather pay more for boots knowing that men were employed, than pay less for boots knowing that men were only working half time. Andrew applied his public principles to his private printing business and had a reputation as a most excellent master, paying a good rate of wage and expecting faithful service in return. He even supported the principle of free breakfasts for employees.
In the second case, Andrew encouraged the principle of paid politicians as a means of allowing all persons access to political power. Singer (quoted in Moss) writes in 1886: We can understand that it suits the purpose of our wealthy capitalists to restrict the choice of electors to men of their own class, and to ambitious men who will sacrifice their own convictions in return for the support and influence this powerful class can give them. Singer comments, that in that same year, large meetings of farmers organized by the Farmers’ Union at Millicent, Eudunda, Terowie, Watervale, and elsewhere demanded payment of Members. A. A. Kirkpatrick stated “The farming and working classes are in favor of it almost to a man”. He also supported the idea of free education for all.
In the third case, Andrew sought the equal right of both men and women to vote for both Houses of Parliament, without any property qualifications. He also pioneered the principle of equal pay for men and women for equal work. South Australian women began to press for the right to vote and equal pay from the late 1800s. In 1886, the UTLC petitioned to remove property qualifications with regard to voting, and to extend the vote to apply to all women. Such bills were defeated until the Women’s Suffrage League, the Women’s Temperance Union and the Working Women’s Trade Union became major political forces. In 1892, a Bill seeking to give the vote to women of property over the age of 21 was introduced into the Legislative Council. Andrew, President of the UTLC and representing the ULP promised that he would extend the franchise so as to give every man and woman the right to vote for both Houses of Parliament without any property qualifications whatever. He also pioneered the principle of equal pay for women, saying that the ULP had no objection to women pursuing any calling they liked, but they (the ULP) insisted that if any women did the same class and quality of work as men, they should have the same pay.
Andrew’s political career was summed up well by Smeaton: Archibald (he means Andrew) Kirkpatrick, essentially a politician; diplomatic, shrewd, with an even working and calculating mind behind an apparently simple manner; quick to get at the heart of a thing, and skillful in the use of opportunity, he entered politics as to the manor born, and has fulfilled every function, as a private member, Minister of the Crown, and Agent-general, with marked ability and success.
Andrew’s personal qualities are also evident in a variety of other sources. He seems to have been an extremely shy and humble person - especially early in his career. An open letter to Andrew from Simpson, M.L.C. notes that Andrew initially overcame a conspicuous nervousness and was never someone to court public life - even to the extent that to face an audience of comparative strangers was an ordeal from which (he) shrank. None the less, his obvious abilities resulted in him being continually pressed into leadership roles - even though he was always ready with a number of reasons which prevented (his) acceptance of the honour sought to be conferred on (him). Others praised Andrew’s personal qualities and he was almost universally described as a genial gentleman with a warm heart and an open purse, having a keen intellect, sound and considered judgement, a quick wit, a cool and even temper and an ability to speak fluently and in a straightforward fashion.
Catherine died on the 24 December 1920 at Trinity Street, College Town, Hackney and Andrew died soon after on the 19 August 1928 at his home at St Peters. They were buried together in the Payneham Cemetery, Payneham. Andrew’s professional achievements and personal qualities were formally recognised at the time of his death. He was accorded a State Funeral which left from his home and was led by mounted Police and followed by more than 50 cars. At his graveside were family members and a large number of politicians and dignitaries. The House of Assembly was suspended for the day as a mark of respect. In 1988, a plaque was erected on North Terrace to celebrate his life and achievements.