Devoted town couple die in Australia crash

David and May McMullan. INPT14-010
David and May McMullan. INPT14-010

A Portadown couple who emigrated to Australia 56 years ago have died in a car accident in their adoptive country.

May (nee Hunniford) and David McMullan, both in their early 80s, were involved in the one-vehicle crash last Tuesday at Summer Island Point, New South Wales.

Mr McMullan died at the scene and his wife passed away a few hours later.

The couple had only been living in the area for a year, having moved there to be closer to their daughter Caroline and their grandchildren.

They have a large, extended family living in Portadown and May was last back home to visit relatives eight years ago.

May was the eldest of five children of Joe and Caroline Hunniford and grew up in Edward Street. After leaving school, she worked in the Optical Factory in Lurgan alongside her sister Myrtle.

David, originally from West Street, was the oldest of seven children, and lost his mum Christina at the age of just 40 and his father David at 48.

He worked as a bus conductor at the former Ulster Transport Authority (UTA).

The couple were married on November 10, 1956 in Portadown Baptist Church, with May’s cousin, TV personality Gloria Hunniford, singing at their wedding.

They decided to move to Australia in 1960 when their son David was two, taking advantage of the £10 emigration scheme to travel by boat to their new life.

Initially, the couple lived with May’s aunt Mary near Sydney before settling just outside the city in Castle Hill, where their daughter Caroline was born. They lived there up until their recent move. May’s brother Paul Hunniford said, “They had a very good life in Australia. May worked in catering in homes for the elderly and David worked in a company called James Hardies, where he qualified as a laboratory supervisor. He was there for 35 years.

“They loved the climate and enjoyed holidays and were greatly involved in the Baptist Church. They were always together.

“May, in particular, enjoyed coming home and both she and David were always encouraging the extended family to visit them, which many of us did, and we were made so welcome.”

He added, “There was a big age gap between May and myself as she was the eldest and I was the youngest but I always remember when I was five or six waiting in Edward Street on a Friday night for Myrtle and May to come home from work because they brought me sweets.”

The couple’s funeral service took place yesterday (Thursday) in Summer Island.

They are survived by son David, daughter Caroline, daughter-in-law Karen, son-in-law Clark and six grandchildren, as well as by May’s sisters Myrtle, Evelyn and Lorna and brother Paul (all living in Portadown) as well as David’s sisters Olive and Florence and brother Reginald (Portadown and Markethill). David was predeceased by siblings Leslie, Desmond and Astrid.