Arthur Roy Burnell


The Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre (a campus of the Royal Adelaide Hospital) was originally built as the Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital, established in 1932 for patients with infectious diseases such as polio, scarlet fever, measles and diphtheria. At the time it was established it was an autonomous organisation controlled by its own Board of Management, and its finances were maintained solely through the contributions of local councils.

By 1947, the introduction of immunisation programs and the discovery of new drugs (including penicillin) created a situation where there was a low incidence of infectious disease, reducing the number of outbreaks of epidemics as seen in the past, and it was determined that the Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital had outlived the purpose for which it was originally designed. On 1st April 1948 the responsibility for running the Hospital passed onto the Royal Adelaide Hospital and it was proclaimed an annexe of the Royal Adelaide Hospital (later becoming known as the Northfield Wards
of the Royal Adelaide Hospital).

ARTHUR ROY BURNELL held a position on the 1948 Board of Management, representing Group ‘C,’ consisting of the municipalities of Brighton, Burnside, Mitcham, Marion, & the Garden Suburb of Colonel Light.

Arthur Roy Burnell.
Photo sourced from the Official civic record of South Australia : centenary year, 1936, page 203

Arthur Roy Burnell was born on the 7 November 1886. His birthplace was registered as Hindmarsh.

Arthur Roy Burnell attended Hindmarsh Public School, followed by the Adelaide Shorthand and Business Training Academy.

Arthur Burnell married Margaret Josephine Gault on the 4th September, 1919 at the Flinders Street Baptist Church, Adelaide. Margaret and Arthur Roy Burnell were both 35 years of age when their only son, Arthur William Burnell, was born on the 1st July 1922 (named after A.R. Burnell’s’ father, their son was known by the name ‘Bunt’ Burnell).

Article: Mail – Adelaide, SA, Saturday 4 October 1919, page 2.
Article: Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), Wednesday 5 July 1922, page 6.

In 1939, Arthur Roy Burnell and his wife Margaret were registered as living at 36 East Terrace, Kensington

(Sourced from Burnside Library, the City of Burnside, Biographical records of Mayors and Chairmen, 20 May 2013):
• Served abroad with the AIF during World War 1 (1915 – 1918)
• Worked as the Managing Director of the Co-operative Building Society of SA from 1933, until his death in 1960.

Excerpt: “The Official civic record of South Australia: centenary year, 1936”, page 203.

Served on the Burnside Council in the following positions:
• Councillor (Kensington Gardens and Magill Ward) from 1936 – 1948
• Mayor from 1948 – 1950
• Alderman from 1950 – 1960

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), Monday 20 August 1928, page 8.

Arthur Roy Burnell also held the following positions during his working career:
• President of the SA Division of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants
• Represented the East Torrens County Board for 24 years
• Member of the Volunteer Defence Corps during World War 2 (1939 – 1945)
• Represented the Central Board of Health for 17 years
• President of the Australian Council of Local Government Association from 1956 – 1957
• Vice- President of the Kensington Gardens Bowling and Tennis Clubs


Arthur Roy Burnell’s’ extended family (parents and siblings) (photo sourced from Wiki Tree, date unknown).
Back Row (standing): Sarah Ann Burnell, Stella Burnell (wife of Glen), Meta Burnell (wife of Roy), Samuel Bowering, Ida Burnell (wife of Reg), Flo Burnell (wife of Norman). Seated: Arthur William Burnell, Jean Burnell, Norman Burnell, Una Mary Bowering (wife of Samuel), Reg Burnell.
Front row (sitting on ground): Glen Burnell (Arthur) Roy Burnell.

Arthur Roy Burnell’s father, Mr Arthur William Burnell, was a founding member of the original Hindmarsh Fire Brigade, established in 1844.

Source: The Official civic record of South Australia : centenary year, 1936 (page 264).

Dr Arthur William (Bunt) Burnell
Mr Arthur Roy Burnell’s son played a significant role in Rehabilitation Medicine in South Australia, and has a connection with establishing the Domiciliary Care Service for the Northern and Western suburbs of Adelaide in 1970.

The following extract is from “A Brief History of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.” Royal Australasian College of Physicians (DRAFT 6. Last updated 20/08/09).

Dr Burnell is also mentioned in the eBook publication ‘Bringing Care Home: A History of Domiciliary Care in South Australia’, by R. Linn, RDNS SA, Department of Human Affairs, December 2018:

Arthur Roy Burnell was one of 750 South Australians to be awarded a Coronation Medal to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second in 1953:

Example of The Coronation Medal, 1953
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The Burnell Oval commemorates the civic service of Arthur Roy Burnell as Councillor and Mayor from July 1936 to October 1960.

Sourced from
This plaque was erected at the Kensington Garden Reserve, East Terrace, Kensington Gardens, SA on Tuesday 24th March, 1970. The reserve is opposite Mr Burnell’s residence, at 36 East Terrace, Kensington Gardens, SA.

(Sourced from Virtual War Memorial Australia and

World War I

World War II

Arthur Roy Burnell died suddenly on 26 October 1960 at the age of 73 in Kobe, Japan, while on a holiday tour. He was buried at sea, and has a memorial stone in Magill General Cemetery, South Australia.

His wife, Margaret Josephine, died on the 1st January 1959, at the age of 71 (buried at the Magill Cemetery, South Australia).

Their only son, Dr. Arthur William (Bunt) Burnell, died on the 4th August 2011, when he was 89 years old. He was cremated and his ashes interred in the Enfield Memorial Park, Clearview, South Australia.

Minutes of Council Meeting, City of Burnside, Tuesday 1st November 1960.

Written by Karyn Baker, CALHN Health Museum Volunteer.