header & menu donnan-family

| www.donnan-family.org.uk
the website for the Donnan family currently in Southampton UK
with links to this part of the Donnan family & their antecedents

Information about a selection of members of the family currently living in England and Australia

A brief note about how this part of the Donnan family ended up back in the UK about 100 years after Stuart's great-grandfather emigrated from England to Australia is below on this page here.  Known relevant Donnan family history is here.

Stuart's father Paul Donnan died in 2001 aged 95, having lived in Sydney all his life.
Stuart's mother Dot (Doris) Donnan moved to Bowral, 100 km south of Sydney, after Paul died. .  She celebrated her 100th birthday in good health on 1st March 2006 (making a great speech).  Having attained 103 she had to move to a nursing home for the first time in mid-2009. She died peacefully there 4 days after her 104th birthday, on 5 March 2010. Details are in Family past.

Stuart's sister Delle (Dorelle) and her husband Vic Roberts also live near Sydney and can be contacted here.  Their 3 children live with their families near Sydney.
Beryl's only sibling, her sister Val (Valma) lives in Queensland with her husband (Stanley) Neville Willson.  Their 2 children live with their families in Canberra and in Queensland. Beryl's father died in 1966 and her mother in 1981 (see Family past).

Stuart and Beryl's two children were born in London. 
Mike (Michael) is a GP in Southampton with his wife Annie and children Lucy and Ben. Contact Mike via our home page
Ali (Alison) is a GP in Nottingham with her husband Hugh Walsh and 2 daughters, Thea and Rowan. Contact Ali via our home page.

Up to the present we have not found any related Donnans in the UK although there are a few Donnans in the phonebooks now - more than in the 1960s and 1970s.  There are many in Australia.  We have had some contact with distant relatives in France (from the Briot connection of Stuart's father).  Some more details are given in Family past.

There is a major Donnan family website in the USA (donnans.org - it used to be donnan.org) here.
(It should open in a new window.)

A brief note about how this part of the Donnan family ended up back in the UK about 100 years after Stuart's great-grandfather emigrated from England to Australia
The short answer is that the National Health Service in general and 'public health' in particular attracted Stuart and drew him (back) to England.  This was combined with the attractions and advantages for all the family in what one might call "cultural" aspects of living in various parts of England and near Europe.

Stuart Donnan was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1940. After primary school in Earlwood (where his best friend in 6th class was John Howard, now Prime Minister of Australia) he went to Shore School and then the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University, graduating at the end of 1962.  After a year as Junior Resident Medical Officer (i.e. house jobs) at Sydney Hospital he married Beryl in Sydney.

Beryl Sims was born in Sydney in 1937.  After secondary school at Fort Street she took an Arts degree at Sydney University, graduating at the end of 1956.  After several years of secondary school teaching, including Queenwood and MLC Burwood, and an international trip with her mother in 1958 (including London) she worked for Scripture Union in Western Australia during 1962 and 1963, returning to Sydney to marry Stuart in early 1964.  (They had met at a CSSM in Toowoon Bay, north of Sydney.)

After an SRMO/SHO year and a surgical registrar year at Sydney Hospital, Stuart took Beryl to London where he took the specialist surgical exams (FRCS).  After nearly 3 years (during which time Mike was born, at the Hammersmith Hospital) they returned to Australia where Stuart took the Australian surgical exams (FRACS). It was not an easy year, with Beryl unwell and losing a baby, and when at the end of the year Stuart was offered a job at Bart's Hospital they took off back to London at the start of 1970.  Alison was born, also at the Hammersmith Hospital, a year later.

After some moderately productive research as a Lecturer in Surgery at Bart's and then Guy's, Stuart became involved in the provision of 'casualty' services (i.e. A&E or ER) and spent a lot of time outside the hospital with social workers. From this arose the opportunity of a bursary to take a 2 year MSc in 'Social Medicine' at the London School of Hygiene.  This led to Stuart's first full-time academic appointment, at the new Southampton Medical School, in what was called Clinical Epidemiology and Community Medicine (i.e. Public Health) and he also worked part-time in A&E at the hospital.

We bought our first house in Southampton in 1975, and all the family made many lasting friendships.  Stuart was then appointed Foundation Professor and Chair of Community Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1981. Beryl taught at DGS and Mike and Ali both took "O" level school exams, returning to Southampton (Mike after 2 years, Ali after 6) for the final 2 years of high school.  Mike then went to Southampton Medical School, and Beryl and Stuart returned to the UK in 1990 when Ali was beginning at Nottingham Medical School.  All this time the family had a house in Southampton and visited Mike, the house and friends regularly. (So both work and the family were the magnets back to the UK then.)

Stuart was Professor and Head of Epidemiology and Public Health at Manchester Medical School until 1997 when he became Emeritus, and he and Beryl returned to London for Stuart to work with the NHS.  After two-and-a-half years Beryl suffered an embolic stroke (from atrial flutter/fibrillation) and Stuart eventually had to give up work at the end of 2000.  They moved from their London apartment to live permanently in what had been their country escape on the sea (the English Channel) in West Sussex.  After 4 years there, Beryl though it was time to move back to Southampton, which felt and feels like 'home'.

Stuart's great-grandfather John Donnan was born in Baslow, Derbyshire, in about 1840 and migrated to Sydney before his marriage there in about 1870 (details here).  So Stuart reversed the journey (with various comings-and-goings) about 100 years later.


We were born, educated to first degree level, and married (in 1964) in Sydney, Australia. We then moved to London (1966-1968), returned to Sydney (1969) and went back to London (1970-75). After Southampton, UK, (1975-1981) we were in Hong Kong (1981-1990) and then moved to Manchester (1990-1997). We were in London (1997-2000) until Beryl suffered the stroke when we moved to our recently purchased holiday house in Rustington, West Sussex, UK, (2000-2004). We then returned to Southampton (2005 to the present).

Beryl, after University in Sydney, taught English and History at secondary schools in Sydney and London and later in Hong Kong. She trained in personnel management and worked as a Parish administrator in Southampton and then as a support worker in continuing ministerial development in Manchester, and studied feminist theology there.
>Stuart, after medical school at Sydney University, worked in hospitals in Sydney and London. After further study at the London School of Hygiene he then worked at Universities in Southampton, Hong Kong and Manchester with honorary NHS (or HK government) posts, and finally full-time NHS in London before having to stop work early to care for Beryl. He is Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health in The University of Manchester, UK.
Beryl was on the board of Shared Interest for many years, and worked as a volunteer in the office of Jubilee 2000 in London.
Stuart was for several years a Trustee and then Chair of the Trustees of the Borough Market in London, having to resign when Beryl suffered the stroke.