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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Adams, John

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1812
Place of birth Newport, Hampshire, England
Date of arrival 1839
Principal occupation Farmer
Date of departure c. 1880
Date of death 1895
Place of decease Angus Street, Adelaide

John Adams was born in about 1812 in Newport, Hampshire, England. He was the son of John Pett Adams (1775-1869) and Mary Maria Turner (1782-1854). John was described as a “Carpenter/Joiner”. He was Church of England. John Adams, aged about 27 years, arrived in South Australia from London either aboard Resource on 22 January 1839 or Buckinghamshire on 21 March 1839.

John, aged 27 years, married Elizabeth “Betsy” Benger (1818-1908), aged 21 years, on 8 September 1839 at the Holy Trinity Church of England, North Terrace, Adelaide. She had emigrated aboard Asia, which sailed from London to Holdfast Bay between 5 March and 15 July 1839. She was issued with a letter of appreciation for her help on board the voyage. Her occupation was recorded as “Dairymaid” and “Seamstress”.

John and Elizabeth Adams had nine children between 1840 and 1858:

  • Mary Ann (1840-1927) was born in South Australia and married Friedrich William August Kleeman (1827-1897) in August 1869 at the residence of Mr. Carswell, Adelaide. They had 1 daughter. Mary Ann died in South Australia.
  • Alfred (1842-1848) was born and baptised in Adelaide. He died at Adelaide.
  • John Benger (1844-1934) was born at Willunga and married Agnes Craig (1851-1928) at Craigbank, Morphett Vale on 22 September 1874. They had 1 son and 3 daughters. John died at Adelaide and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery.
  • Thomas Edwin (1846-1929) was born at Willunga and married Jane Hornal (1847-1920) on 25 June 1868 at her parents’ residence at McLaren Vale. They had 10 children. Thomas was Stationmaster for the Railways. The family lived in McLaren Vale and moved to Strathalbyn in 1871. He died at Plympton.
  • Caroline (1850-1896) was born in Adelaide and married Daniel Wilkie Melvin (1839-1916) on 17 April 1879 at the residence of Mrs. Carswell, Adelaide. They had 2 children. Caroline died at Adelaide and is buried in the West Terrace Cemetery.
  • William Carswell (1851-1908) was born in Adelaide and married Alice Tremlett (1855-1942) on 12 May 1879 at St Phillip and St James Church, Noarlunga. They had six children. William died at East Malvern, Victoria.
  • Sarah Jane (1853-1943) was born at Noarlunga and married her first husband, John Moss (1858-1914), on 7 August 1871. They had 2 children. Sarah married her second husband, Walter Burgess, on 8 March 1877 at the residence of John Adams, Strathalbyn. They had 2 children. Sarah died in South Australia.
  • Henry (1855- ) was born in Adelaide.
  • Frederick (1858-1925) was born at Noarlunga and married Emily Jewell (1859-1946) on 16 January 1883 at Moonta. They had 6 children. Frederick died at Hyde Park, SA.

John Adams was a farmer. Between 1850 and 1880 he paid rates on, and/or owned, various sections of land in the Willunga District. These included sections 156, 166, 176, 186, 154, 174 and 173, which are located around Johnston and Branson Roads, McLaren Vale. In 1873-74, he had a house in the township of Willunga.

John, aged 78 years, died at his daughter, Sarah Jane's (Mrs. W. Burgess), house in Angas Street, Adelaide on 6 December 1895 and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery. His grave is at Road 1 South, path 24, Site W9. Elizabeth Adams (nee Benger), aged 90 years, died on 2 November 1908 in Fullarton, SA and is buried with her husband.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • Willunga National Trust Blue Folder 41-1-1
  • SA Census 1841
  • Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
  • Australia and New Zealand Find a grave index 1800s – current
  • Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885
  • South Australian Register 23 Aug 1867:4
  • Southern Argus 27 June 1918:2

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