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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Atkinson, Joseph

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1824
Place of birth Wadingham, Lincolnshire, England
Date of arrival 1839
Principal occupation Carrier, farmer and horse-breeder
Date of death 1878
Place of decease Willunga, South Australia.

Joseph Atkinson was born on 7 July 1824 at Waddingham, Lincolnshire, England. He was the youngest surviving son of Robert Atkinson (1774-1832) and Susanna(h) Fish (1788-1832) of Hayes Farm, Snitterby. He was only 8 when both his parents died in 1832. Religion – Church of England.

The four Atkinson brothers (William, Robert, Thomas and Joseph) and their sisters Bridget and Susanna, some with their families, travelled to South Australia on board Singapore from London. They arrived at Holdfast Bay on 12 November 1839, Joseph was then aged 15 years.

Joseph married Elizabeth Gidley Clift (daughter of John Clift of McLaren Vale) at St. Stephen’s Church in Willunga on 25 April 1850. They had 12 children (4 sons and 8 daughters):

  • Susannah Ann (1851-1932) married Thomas Marshall,
  • William (1853-1924) married Ellen Jane Lunn on 24/06/1879) publican,
  • Ellen (1855-1895) married James Arthur Colville,
  • Catherine (1857 - ) married Stephen Walters,
  • Thomas (1860-1861)
  • Ann (1859 - ?) married William McMurray,
  • Harriet Louisa (1863-1958) married Richard Bigg,
  • Mary Elizabeth (1866-1889) married Bernard McCarron,
  • John (b. )
  • Alice Jane (1870-1938) married John Benjamin Noble,
  • Robert Joseph (1873-1875)
  • Elsie Beatrice (1876–1891)

The Atkinson brothers built the first hotel (“Lincolnshire House” later Old Bush Inn) on lots 6 and 7 in the township of Willunga in Dec 1839. Joseph and his brother Thomas jointly purchased eighty acres (Lot 235) for 80 pounds and one shilling in the Government Land Sale in 1847. Joseph went on to be a farmer and horse breeder. He owned section 236 in the Hundred of Willunga. He may have become insolvent (Insolvency PRO number 1131).

In 1848 and 1849 he competed in the three yoke Bullock Ploughing event at the Willunga Annual Ploughing Match. In 1859 Joseph was involved in a court case as a result of one of his horses, a gelding worth 50 pounds, being stabbed to death with a pitchfork.

Joseph, aged 54 years, died on 25 September 1878 and he is buried in St. Stephen’s Anglican cemetery at Willunga


  • South Australian Deaths Index of Registrations 1842-1915 p.41
  • South Australian Register 6 Jan 1847:2
  • South Australian Register 11 May 1859:3
  • Insolvency PRO number 1131.
Joseph Atkinson's headstone, St Stephen's cemetery, Willunga
Joseph Atkinson's headstone, St Stephen's cemetery, Willunga

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