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Charles Gibson Millar (1839–1900)

Charles Millar, 1893

Charles Millar, 1893

Vanity Fair

The news by cable this week of the death at Las Palmas, Canary Islands, of Mr. C. G. [Charles Gibson] Millar will be received by all old yachtsmen with feelings of painful regret. For more than 20 years Mr. Millar had been identified with yachting in its widest sense, both here and abroad, and for the greater part of that time his name has been closely associated with the pastime in these waters. In fact, it was largely due to his influence that the Royal Yacht Club attained the position in now enjoys. He occupied the position of commodore more than once, and even after failing health compelled him to live elsewhere continued to display great interest in its welfare. During his time he owned many yachts, both sailing and steam. His first boat was the cutter Naiad, 12 tons, which he bought in 1876 from Mr. Macgregor. Then he sent to Sydney and purchased the cutter Secret, 26 tons, and the older generation of yachtsmen will remember the excitement over the matches between her and Mr. White's schooner May Queen in the early eighties, when the two owners chartered the bay steamer Golden Crown to follow the races for the accommodation of their friends. After that, in 1887, he purchased the schooner Red Gauntlet, 135 tons, formerly the property of Mrs. Langtry. The Red Gauntlet was afterwards wrecked in Torres Straits. His next boat was the beautiful steam yacht Saide, 383 tons, which he purchased from the Duke of Norfolk, and which arrived here in 1889. In this vessel he made several cruises round Australia, and one to Japan. It was while he was owner of the Saide that he had the distinguished honour conferred on him of being elected without ballot to that exclusive body, the Royal Yacht Squadron. His proposer was the Prince of Wales, and his seconder Lord Brassey. Every year since he gave a trophy valued at £50, called the Australian Cup, which is sailed for at the Cowes regatta, and he himself was generally known at home as "the Australian yachtsman."

For some time past Mr. Millar had not enjoyed the best of health, and his visits to this colony had been at long intervals. After he sold the Saide he could not remain long without a yacht, and purchased the schooner Verena, 316 tons, a fine old vessel, built on American lines, which he used more as a house-boat. But the inactive life did not suit him, and a few months afterwards he sold the Verena, and purchased the famous ocean-going auxiliary, barque-rigged yacht White Heather, 635 tons, a very fine vessel, which had paid a visit to Australia some years previously when owned by Mr. Cecil Leigh.

Shortly after he obtained possession of the White Heather he wrote to the hon. secretary of the Royals acquainting him of his intention of leaving England for a winter cruise in warmer latitudes. He was then in very bad health, and his words were sadly prophetic. "I expect it will end in my being dumped out somewhere in the North Atlantic one fine morning with half-a dozen fire-bars at my toes." And his words very nearly came true. His interest in his old club was as strong then as ever, for his letter concludes:- "I enclose photos. of Verena and White Heather, and when the time comes, and I pass in my checks, I have arranged that all my yachting pictures are to be handed over to the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria."

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • profile, West Australian, 29 November 1894, p 5
  • will, Age (Melbourne), 10 April 1900, p 5

Citation details

'Millar, Charles Gibson (1839–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Charles Millar, 1893

Charles Millar, 1893

Vanity Fair

Life Summary [details]


5 October, 1839
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland


18 February, 1900 (aged 60)
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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