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WILLIAM STEPHEN KIMPTON, FLOUR MILLER & BAKER, MELBOURNE

The mint window envelope printed to private order for W.S. Kimpton & Sons, flour miller, Melbourne has the printed pink 1½ d KGV Head stamp, overprinted ‘TWO PENCE’. The vendor states that the mint cover is unlisted in unused condition by Menuz and it was listed at AUD 850.00 (Figure 1).

William Stephen Kimpton, flour miller, baker and lay churchman, was born on 4 October 1832 at Litlington, Cambridgeshire, England, third son of Thomas Kimpton, farmer and grain merchant, and his wife Lucy Eleanor, née Sterne. He was apprenticed to a baker but loss of the family farm and rumours of riches in Victoria persuaded him and his brother, Edward to migrate; they arrived at Melbourne in the Melpomene in November 1853, when William was 21. William worked on the wharf and then as a baker, gaining control of the business in return for wages owed him. He established a bakery in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, prospered and in 1875 widened his activities by founding the Union Flour Mills. This step brought insolvency in 1877 but he recovered with Mortimer Rush as his partner, and then with Robert Chamberlain; by the mid-1880s Kimpton was on his own. After the Fitzroy plant was burnt down a new mill, equipped with the latest Hungarian roller-mill machinery, was built at Kensington in 1888. The fiscal policy of the New South Wales Government ended Kimpton's weekly shipment there of one thousand bags of flour, so in that colony in 1892 he started a mill managed by his son. In 1902 fire again destroyed the Melbourne mill but after reconstruction and incorporation with James Gillespie & Co. Kimpton owned the largest mill in Australia. He shipped flour to Queensland, Fiji and England besides having important trade connections with South Africa and the East.

Kimpton was an excellent judge of draught horses and personally selected those he wanted for the business. He remained active in the firm though his sons took over increasing responsibility. His major interest outside the business was the Anglican Church and for twenty-six years he was a member of the Church Association and churchwarden of St Mark's, Fitzroy. On moving to Essendon he became churchwarden of St Thomas's for 45 years, and to which he gave a pipe organ. He was also a councillor of the Old Colonists' Association. Kimpton had married Margaret Mason of Newcastle upon Tyne; after she died he married her sister, Isabella, in 1859. He died at his home, Milverton, Moonee Ponds, on 18 November 1926, and he was in his 95th year. Predeceased by his wife and one son, he was survived by four daughters and his son Albert Edward who, with his grandsons Victor and Charles Leslie, continued as directors of the firm.

The obituary of Mr. W.S. Kimpton, founder of flour mills, was found in The Argus (Melbourne) 19 November 1926, as well as a picture of him (Figure 2).

The majority of the text was taken from the paper in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

 
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