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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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Martin Edward Jull (1862–1917)

The announcement that the Public Service Commissioner (Mr. Martin Edward Jull) had died at an early hour yesterday morning at his residence at Cottesloe Beach was received with widespread regret in the city. Mr. Jull had been unwell for some little time past, but his condition did not cause the gravest concern to his family at the outset. He took a bad turn towards the end of last week, and by Sunday it was recognised that his condition was hopeless as every effort on behalf of the sufferer was put forward by his medical advisers, but without avail. Mr Jull gradually sank, and for the last 36 hours was unconscious. He died at 2.30 a.m. yesterday, the cause of death being announced by Dr. Blackall as hemorrhage of the brain. The funeral will take place this afternoon, and will be attended by members of the State legislature and of the civil service.

The death of Mr. Jull removes from the service one of the most prominent of the State officials and a man who was held in high esteem even by those with whom he came into conflict by virtue of his position as Public Service Commissioner. He was the first gentleman to hold that office under the Public Service Act, which was passed in 1904, and he took up his duties in the following year, when the measure became operative. The deceased was born at Horsham, Sussex, England, on January 18, 1862, his father being a chemist in that town. He received his education at the Brighton Grammar School, and at the age of 17 was articled to the firm of Messrs. T. G. Wharton and Co., surveyors and assessors, of Wallbrook, London, afterwards joining Messrs. Weatherall, Green and Co. of Chancery Lane, with whom he remained until reaching his twenty-fourth year. During the time he spent with this latter firm he undertook an extensive tour round the world, partly for pleasure, but mainly for the purpose of seeking experience. After leaving New Zealand on this trip he proceeded in company with a party of friends to the South Seas and together they visited many unfrequented places before returning to London. Leaving England in 1886 to settle in Australia, Mr. Jull decided to remain in Perth, and the first position held by him in this State was on the staff of the Daily News, a post he relinquished to become a draughtsman in the Public Works Department. The opportunities which the land boom in Victoria seemed to offer induced Mr. Jull, in company with many others, to try his fortunes in that State. Proceeding there at the end of 1887, he spent about three years, which from a financial point of view were far from successful, and returned in Perth in 1891. Upon the establishment of Responsible Government in that year he accepted the post of Chief Clerk to the Department of Railways and Works, and continued to hold that office until the one department was divided into two, and he became Under Secretary for Works. During his occupancy of these offices he was intimately connected with the working of the railways, the construction of the Fremantle Harbour, and of the Goldfields Water Scheme, and had charge of the arrangements at the opening ceremony of the harbour works, when Lady Robinson, wife of the then Governor, tipped the first load of stones into the sea. When the roads administration was transferred from the Lands Department to the Public Works Department, Mr. Jull was entrusted with the drafting of a new Roads Boards Act, a measure which resulted in greatly popularising and extending local government. During his term of office the first Public Works Act embodying the conditions under which works undertaken by the State should be constructed became law. The great expansion in every department of State work owing to the gold discoveries occurred during the time Mr. Jull controlled the administrative side of the Works Department.

In 1905, upon the passing of the Public Service Act, Mr. Jull was appointed to the important position of Public Service Commissioner, which he continued to hold up to the time of his death. His principal work was the classification of the whole of the service, thus bringing it into line with the services of the eastern States. Not the least part of his duties was the framing of a complete set of civil service regulations. For many years he took an active interest in church matters and for some time past was a member of the Diocesan Council of the Anglican Church. He was also interested in the Y.M.C.A. movement, since its reintroduction into the State. A keen horticulturist, he cultivated a vineyard and orchard at Armadale, and introduced to his State several fine varieties of wine grapes. Not being able to find the necessary time to devote to it, he, some years ago, disposed of the property to the late Sir Arthur Stepney, Bart. In the old days, he was a most active member of the Upper Swan Horticultural Society, and read several papers before that old pioneer society. In sporting affairs Mr. Jull took a prominent place, being a foundation member of the Western Australian Cricket Association and a strong supporter of all forms of boating and sailing. He was married in 1889 to Miss Roberta Stewart, MB., the first lady doctor in Western Australia, who survives him.

As a mark of respect to the late Mr. Jull, who was one of the directors of the Perth Y.M.C.A. flags were flying half-mast yesterday at the Perth headquarters in Murray-street, and at the YM.C.A. hut at Karrakatta. The late Mr. Jull, besides occupying a position on the board of the association, was also chairman of the building committee, and rendered invaluable help and guidance to the association. In connection with the remodelling of Cremorne, Mr. Jull took a prominent part, and it was the intention of the association to open the building last Monday. Owing to the grave state of Mr. Jull's health, however, and in the hope that he would recover, the ceremony was deferred.

On the meeting of the Legislative Assembly yesterday, the Premier moved: "That the House at its rising adjourn until 5 p.m on Thursday, March 15." Hon. Members would, he said, have had an intimation that, since they previously met, one of the State's most valued servants in the person of the Public Service Commissioner, had passed away. The State had lost in Mr. Jull a citizen who had always been upright and conscientious in the discharge of his duties, and had always taken an active part in anything that was for the benefit or advancement of the people. He moved the motion in order that members might have the opportunity of paying a last tribute to the memory of the deceased gentleman. Members could proceed to Karrakatta by the train leaving Perth at 2.30 pm., and return by the train leaving Karrakatta at 3.55 p.m., in time to meet at 5 p.m.

The Leader of the Opposition, in seconding the motion, expressed on behalf of members of the Opposition, and particularly ex-Ministers, appreciation of the action of the Premier in giving members an opportunity of paying their last respects to one who had devoted practically the whole of his life to the service of the State.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Jull, Martin Edward (1862–1917)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 January, 1862
Horsham, Sussex, England


14 March, 1917 (aged 55)
Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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