Cumpston Research

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Watson Cumpston death cert Trinity House Hull lloyds ship Voilier withernsea pier


My interest in the Antarctic began when I discovered that a distant relative Dr. John Stanley Cumpston of Australia, a 4 x cousin once removed, wrote the definitive book on Macquarie Island for the Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs, Australia.  


Published in Canberra in 1968, it describes Macquarie Island, situated some thousand miles south of Tasmania.  It was not discovered until 1810, and over the next 100 years the island’s great natural wealth was exploited by both the fur and the oil industries.  The ‘Perseverence’ a Sydney sealing vessel discovered it, abounding in fur seals and sea elephants, and despite its bitter weather, it attracted ventures from Australia and New Zealand, at first seeking fur skins, and then valuable sea elephant oil.  The oil industry lasted for over a hundred years.


In 1890 the killing of penguins for oil began but in 1919 the Tasmanian Government called a halt following representations from a number of scientific organizations.


His book tells the story of the ships that visited the island and the men who manned them.   'Macquarie Island' is a definitive work in the field of Sub-Antarctic history and takes its place as a classic in the Antarctic story, and I am delighted to own a copy.


John Stanley Cumpston and I share a 3 x great grandfather William Cumpston born about 1769 in Hull...


In the introduction to his book JS Cumpston described how there was no available useful history of any of the Sub-Antarctic Islands.  ‘Standing in splendid isolation in the stormy Southern Ocean these islands form a ring of tiny stepping stones between more temperate lands and the ice-covered slopes of the Antarctic Continent.  They offer only a precarious foothold and little shelter to those who seek to tarry there’.


The original draft of the text was written in New Zealand between 1950 and 1953.


Dr John Cumpston was a graduate of the University of Melbourne in Arts and Law and a Doctor of Letters in Political Geography.  He was an historian in the Department of External Affairs in Canberra.  A member of the Department since 1935, he had followed developments in the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic, and assisted the chief cartographer to prepare the first reliable map of the area, published in 1939.  As an Intelligence Officer with the Allied Geographical Section, he compiled a number of topographical studies for use in operations planning.  He died in 1986.


I was delighted to find on my visit to Macquarie that a wooden house for researchers has been named in his honour and photographs can be seen in the Photo Gallery.  All the staff we spoke to were conversant with his work and made us most welcome.


Dr. John Stanley Cumpston of Australia


Click on photo to enlarge


Cumpston Massif Antarctica


(73°36′S 66°48′E / 73.6°S 66.8°E / -73.6; 66.8) is a prominent, flat-topped rock outcrop, about 2,070 m high, 14.5 km long and 7-13 km wide, at the junction of the Lambert and Mellor Glaciers in Mac.Robertson Land. Discovered in November, 1956, from an ANARE aircraft. Named for Dr J S Cumpston (then) of the Aust Dept of External Affairs who, with E P Bayliss, was responsible for the map of Ant. pub. in 1939 by the (then) Property and Survey Branch, Dept of the Interior, Canberra.


This article incorporates text from Cumpston Massif, in the Geographic Names Information System, operated by the United States Geological Survey, and therefore a public domain work of the United States Government.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Obituary: John Stanley Cumpston, FRGS, 1909-1986

Dr John Cumpston died in Canberra on

6 August, 1986, aged 77, 'was a noted Australian cartographer and historian'.

The Geographical Journal, Vol. 154, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 150-151

JS Cumpston wrote a number of books.  See the list here.

John Stanley Cumpston was born 06 Mar 1909


He died 06 Aug 1986  and is buried at the Australia Canberra Woden Cemetery

His parents were JHL Cumpston and Glady Maeva Walpole

He married Helen Dunbar and they had 2 sons and 2 daughters.

In my copy of 'First Visitors to Bass Strait' (1973) John Stanley Cumpston was shown as living at  42 Araba Street, Aranda, ACT.  2614.  The fly leaf states 'since his retirement, as a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University he studied American whaling in Pacific and Australian waters.  He is now editing the Roebuck Series devoted to Australian history, particularly local history'  1973.

The ACT Memorial honours men and women who have an association with the ACT and who served in conflicts, peacekeeping missions and related service throughout the world, some of whom paid the supreme sacrifice.


The Memorial has two parts: the physical Memorial, located opposite Civic Square on London Circuit; and its web site, containing a database of names and information about the people honoured by the Memorial.


The Memorial was dedicated on 10 August 2006 by the ACT Chief Minister, Mr Jon Stanhope MLA. It is a place for contemplation, reflection, awareness, commemoration, gatherings and ceremony.


The website contains a database of people associated with the ACT who are eligible for the Roll of Honour and Commemorative Roll of the Australian War Memorial.  It includes those who died during or as a result of war, warlike operations, peace-keeping missions, as the result of military service, or on humanitarian missions.


To be eligible for the Memorial, individuals must have had a relationship with the ACT prior to active service.



certificate js cumpston

War Service:  CUMPSTON, John Stanley

Service Details Branch of Service: Army  Conflict: World War II  Date of Enlistment: 17/10/1940 Date of Discharge: 25/04/1945 Place of Enlistment: Paddington NSW


Personal Details

Date of Birth: 03/06/1909 Place of Birth: Perth WA Address (at enlistment): Forrest ACT

Next of Kin: Helen Cumpston, Forrest ACT


Unit and Rank Details Service Number: NX70393 Final Rank: Captain Final Unit: Intelligence Corp L HQ



Cumpston was the son of Dr. John Cumpston, Federal Director-General of Health (1921-45)

and the brother of Alan Cumpston. He lived in Forrest from 1928.



Peter Procter, ‘Biographical Register of Canberra and Queanbeyan’, Canberra, Heraldry and genealogy Society of Canberra, 2001, p.65

WWII Nominal Roll


Royal Geograhical Society. Taylor, G., Cumpston, J.


Probable Disintegration of Antarctica.


RGS Monthly issue.

Royal Geograhical Society. London. Journal for June 1963,

pp 190-191 (+) Searle, D. The Evolution of the Map of Alexander and Charcot Islands, Antarctica, pp 156- 166 w/ 2 large fold-out maps (+) Cumpston, J. The Antarctic Landfalls of John Biscoe, 1831, pp 175-184 (+) Jennings, J. Floodplain Lakes In the Ka Valley, Australian New Guinea,




COLLEGE HOUSE HOTEL JERVIS BAY (Telephone Jervis Bay No. 1) envelope, addressed to "Lieut. J S Cumpston NX 70393, Hdqtrs Staff 26th Infantry Brigade, 7th Division, A.I.F. Abroad, bearing 9d Platypus tied by 'JERVIS BAY/17FE41/FEDERAL TERRITORY' with another strike at left over AIRMAIL label, superb roller bars 'NOT OPENED BY CENSOR/2' cancel across back of envelope.


The marriage was celebrated on

Friday afternoon at St. John's Church Canberra, of Miss Helen Dunbar, younger daughter of the late Mr. W. Dunbar and Mrs. Dunbar, of Hobait, Tasmania, to Mr. John Stanley Cumpston, eldest son of Dr. and Mis: J. H.L. Cumpston, of Canbçrra.


The bride was given away by. Professor C. S. King, of Tasmania, She wore an Elizabethan gown of gold lame, with a full train, and her veil, of cream tulle over lemon, was held

in place by a twist of orange blossom.


She carried a bouquet of orchids and golden roses.  The bride was attended by Miss Marjorie Jacobs, of Gordon, Sydney,  Miss Jacobs wore a tailored gown of apple green shot with silver, with a topknot of ribbon on her head. Her bouquet was of autumn flowers. The bridegroom was attended by his brother, Dr. Alan Cumpston, of Sydney Hospital. Mrs. Dunbar carried gold roses with her dark blue frock, and received the guests at "Greystones", the home of the bridegroom's parents, in Canberra.


The Canberra Times  Saturday 1 June 1940  



To Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Cumpston, at Canberra Hospital, 11th November, 1945, a daughter-  

Margaret Ruth.  


The Canberra Times  Tuesday 13 November 1945  

PUBLIC SERVICE Ten Graduates To Be Appointed


SIXTEEN SELECTED Ten University graduates have been appointed to the Commonwealth Pub1ic Service following the amendmentof the Commonwealth Public Service Act in the last session pf Parliament to permit the entrance of a limited number of graduates to the service;  Applications were invited from graduates in Arts, Law, and Economics or Commerce who were not more than twenty-five years of age, and forty-three of the applicants were found to be eligible for consideration for appointment.


Those,eligible were interviewed by committees in several States on which were represented the Public Service Board, the Universities, and Commonwealth Departments. The Committees reported to the Public Service Board that certain of the applicants were suitable for appointment, and the Committees' reports were considered by a Board comprising the Chairman of the Public Service Board, the vice-Chancellors of the Universities of Melbourne and Adelaide, and a representative of the Vice-Chancellor of the Sydney University. In the final result sixteen graduates were selected and have been recorded as eligible for appointment. .... The following were the sixteen selected applicants:


Victoria: J. S. Cumpston; B.A.,

The Canberra Times  Tuesday 19 June 1934

Cool work to trace continent


AusGEO News 71 September 2003 11


Antarctica, that perfect place for scientific research, has its faults. These interest geologists and geodetic surveyors because Antarctica is on the move and this

can be traced along faults. Last summer two geodetic surveyors from Geoscience Australia joined a party

of 32 researchers from Australia, Germany and Russia in the Southern Prince

Charles Mountains in eastern Antarctica. Their main targets were the Lambert Graben—a large depressed valley bounded by faults—and the Lambert Glacier.

The Australian Antarctic Division and the BGR, which is Germany’s

Geological Survey organisation, ran the expedition (called the Prince Charles Mountains Expedition of Germany and Australia, or PCMEGA).


Air support

After the field teams were unloaded

at seven camps in the Southern

Prince Charles Mountains (Mount

Stinear, Cumpston Massif, Roefe

Glacier, Mount Rucker, Tingey

Glacier, Mount Creswell and Wilsons

Bluff), the aircraft returned to Davis and was fitted with airborne

geophysics measuring equipment.

The geodetic surveyors camped

at Mount Creswell and Wilsons Bluff

and moved from site to site by

Squirrel helicopter. The two Squirrel

helicopters also transported the

geologists between camps. These

helicopters can place people and

several hundred kilograms of freight

onto otherwise inaccessible areas,

depending on visibility and wind



Geologists specialising in

geochronology, geochemistry and

geomorphology concentrated on

the Mawson escarpment, Mount

Stinear, Mount Ruker and

Cumpston Massif, although they

visited most other outcrops in the

region at least once.  Only a small part of the total  area has rocks protruding above the current ice levels. But these outcrops provide much information about the underlying structures,  their formation and subsequent erosion.  Rocks taken as samples are in Australia and Germany for analysis.


Children of John Stanley Cumpston


John Richard Twin

Helen Mary   Twin

Margaret Ruth

Stuart William

 California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957  30 May 1946


Cumpston John S 36 yrs Diplomat English speaker Australian, English Race Born Perth Australia Last place of residence Canberra


 Helen I Cumpston  abt 1910  Female  Sydney, Australia  Marine Lynx  

Helen I Cumpston Age: 36  Birthplace: Hobart, Australia  Ethnicity: English  Port of Arrival: San Francisco, California  Port of Departure: Sydney, Australia  Last Residence: Australia

Helen M age 4 daughter born Canberra - see red box  <<<<<<<<<<<

John R Cumpston 4 son Born Canberra

Cumpston Margaret R 6 months born Canberra.  (Helen altered this data which showed Margaret as 6 years old.

 13th July 2010

Delighted to hear from Helen daughter of JS CUMPSTON.

She added to the information on the right >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Australian Dictionary of Biography: Volume 17 1981-1990 A-K, Volume 17 edited by Diane Langmore, Darryl Bennet


Records the history of JS Cumpston and is available via google books at