Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dr Blood

SSLA 9945

Dr Matthew Henry Smyth-Blood.

Doctor Matthew Henry Blood-Smyth was born on the 26th of November 1806 at Ballykitty, County Clare Ireland to Matthew and Dorothea Blood (nee Ingram).
Matthew would later reverse his surname to Smyth-Blood, stating “I was born a Blood, and a Blood I will die!”, thus forever he will be remembered as a Blood!
Matthew grew up in Ireland and studied medicine. In 1831, at the age of 25, he became a qualified medical practitioner, being admitted to Medical Association of Ireland nine years later in 1840.

In 1833, at the age of 27, he married his third cousin, (a descendant of Thomas Blood),
Matthew Blood aged 26
Source:: Andrea Blood-Smyth Payne Family Page
photo 1832
Marianne Charlotte Blood at Ennis, County Clare Ireland on March 14th.
 Marianne was born on the 4th of April 1816 at Applevale, County Clare Ireland, making her (about) 17 years old when she married Matthew.
Together they had 11 children;
Dorothea (1835 – 1887), Marianne (1836 – 1925), Matthew (1838-1875), William (1839- 1905), John (1840 – 1890), Susannah (1842 – 1906), Frederica (1847- 1903), Elizabeth (1848 – 1870), Neptune (1850-1851), Mary (1851-1933), Frances (1853 – 1854)

The Bloods decided they would sail to the new colony of South Australia. Matthew took a position as “Ship Surgeon Superintendent” onboard the sailing vessel “Success”. The voyage spanned from the 27th of September 1847 until January 1848 when the ship arrived at Port Adelaide.
Matthew and Marianne then made their way to Kapunda where Matthew took the position of Mine Doctor under Captain Bagot, a family friend back in Ireland.
 The pair took up residence in-between Mine Square and the mines proper (there is a plaque marking the spot where they lived on the south-east side of Mine Square, Kapunda).

Marianne Blood - photo: SSLA 15813
On the 28th of April 1856, Matthew Blood was honoured with the task of laying the foundation stone for Christ Church Kapunda after being in charge of raising funds to build the Church and Hall.

Matthew would work as the official mine doctor until 1860. In the same year (1860) he founded the Kapunda Freemason’s “Lodge of Light No. 410 I.C.” of which he became the Lodge’s first Master.
Also in 1860, Matthew was officially titled with the position on “Surgeon” with the “Kapunda Volunteers” (sometimes referred to as The Kapunda Rifles) one of two citizen military forces established in Kapunda, the other being the Kapunda Mine Rifles.

In 1862, Matthew and Marianne left Kapunda for New South Wales where Matthew took a job as Kapunda Mine Medical Officer as the Cadia Copper Mine.
 It was during this period that Matthew became interested in photography, a passion that would inspire him until his death.

Upon his return to Kapunda, Matthew, now inspired by his new hobby, took hundreds of photographs of people and places in Kapunda. He used a camera specially built for him by notable professional photographer James Uren.
On the 13th of July 1865, Dr Matthew Henry Smyth-Blood became the first Mayor of Kapunda a title he held until 1867, and would later hold again from 1877 to 1878.
during his first stint as town Mayor, Matthew co-hosted (with James Crase) the first royal visit to South Australia, that of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria.

Portrait of Mr & Mrs Blood
Source: Andrea Payne Family Page
The Prince travelled to Kapunda to see the mines he had heard so much about, but the mine manager, at the excitement of his miners, gave them all the day off to see the Prince, so the mine was not running. Instead, Prince Alfred spent his entire day at the North Kapunda Hotel enjoying festivities and making speeches!
Photos of the event were taken by the official photographer, Stephen Nixon and are most likely held in the State Library or Museum.
 (Interestingly, in the 1880s a photographic business with the name “Blood & Nixon” was registered. It was owned by Matthews youngest son, John who was in partnership with Charles Nixon, Stephen Nixon’s son.)

Dr Blood was loved by many in the town and was known for his prodigious use of “snuff”, a type of tobacco that is sniffed into the nose. He sat on the board of the Kapunda Hospital, worked as a Magistrate, a Justice of the Peace, and on the local School Board.

Dr Blood's death notice, Kapunda Herald 30 March 1886
Doctor Bloods death shocked the people of Kapunda. Dr Blood was such a well-known and popular figure in Kapunda that The Kapunda Herald newspaper sold out on Friday the 30th of March due to the obituary tribute that was written for him by newspaper staff. The obituary had to be reprinted the following day for those that missed it in the first printing. 

His final day he spent seeing to the needs of a local man named Mr Christopher. He returned home and readied to go out again. He was in his room when he called out to Marianne. Marianne rushed to see what was wrong, and when she got to Matthew, he said: “Mary, I cannot see you!” He then gasped three or four times and died in front of her upon his bed.

Dr Blood's Funeral Notice, Kapunda Herald, 30 March 1886

Dr Blood’s funeral procession was one of the longest ever seen in the region, and followed his body out to the Clare Road Cemetery from Christ Church. He was buried on the 31st of March 1883 at the Clare Road Cemetery, row O-54.

Marianne lived on Kapunda, and was often seen with her constant companion, Miss Howe, who had been her daughters Governess and educator. Marianne passed away on the 5th of January 1900 and was buried alongside her husband.

Want to learn more about Matthew and Marianne Blood’s family, visit the website “The Blood and Dingle Genealogy Pages” written by Andrea Payne here:

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2017


(1929), 'Memories of Kapunda and District by a Circle of Friends’, Kapunda, SA.

1883 'Advertising', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 30 March, p. 2. , viewed 12 Apr 2017,

1883 'DEATH OF DR. BLOOD.', South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889), 31 March, p. 21. , viewed 12 Apr 2017,

Births Deaths and Marriages South Australia, Civil Registry, D.1883/Book 127, Page 407 

Blood, Matthew Henry Smyth (1808-1883)' 2012. Trove, viewed 12 April 2017

Burke’s Peerage Ltd, Burke's Irish Family Records, pages 142-152, American Editions, MCMLXXVI, NSW State Library.

Dehane's Almanac 1853, Blood M.H. Justice of the Peace, page 67, SA Gen & Heraldry Society, Adelaide, Mircofiche

Noye, R.J. (1968), 'Early South Australian Photography: The R.J. Noye Collection’, Adelaide, SA.

Statton, J. (1986), 'Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885’, Adelaide, SA.

Charlton, Rob 1971, The History of Kapunda, The Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, SBN 7256 0039 x

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