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A Turkish-Australian Love Story: Married a Turk

One of the earliest naturalisation records of a Turkish citizen in Australia belongs to the former diplomat Huseyin Sefik Bey Muftizade, dated 10 June 1949. Here's his story.

Born on 4 March 1887, Huseyin Sefik Bey worked as a diplomat for the Ottoman Empire and then for the Republic of Turkey until his retirement in 1926. He served in Rome, Vienna, London, Paris, Berlin, Berne, and Switzerland.

During his tenure in London between 1911 and 1913, he married the daughter of a Victorian senate member, Florence Irving Winter. She immediately lost her Australian citizenship.

Their marriage did actually make the news in Australia with Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate publishing the news on its 2 October 1913 issue.

The couple then arrived in Australia on board Stranthnaver from London and disembarked at the port of Fremantle on 8 August 1939, with their son Mehmet Cakir.

It is likely that Huseyin Sefik Bey Muftizade was the son of the Mustafa Resid Pasa, who was one of the final foreign ministers of the Ottoman Empire.

Unfortunately, his wife, Florence Irving Winter died on 9 December 1939 and buried in the family vault in Brighton Cemetery.

Mrs. Irving was a socialite of Victoria. Even during her short visits back to home, she was featured about her life in overseas on the Argus. In one of the stories, she talked about Turkish eating culture and even gave a recipe for Turkish rice, pilav.

Their son, Mehmet Resid Bey Muftyzade married Judy Chirnside, who took the name Judith R.R. Bey-Muftyzade.

They had a son, Zia; and grandchildren Canan, Shefik, Leyla and Reshid; great-grandchildren Ziya, Angus and Zoe.

Know as Reshid Bey, Mehmet Resid Bey Muftyzade become a famous painter in Australia. Some of his works, including the one below portraying Sir Lawrence Hartnett, have been acquired by National Portrait Gallery.

The family story was put together by the great grand daughter and featured by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria late last year.

Huseyin Sefik Bey Muftizade received his Australian citizenship in 1949, after renouncing his Turkish citizenship.

Read the story featured on Channel Nine through the link below.

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