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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Beattie, David Gregory

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1836
Date of arrival 1849
Principal occupation Butcher
Date of death 1903
Place of decease Willunga

David George Beattie was born 7 April 1836 to David Beattie and Thirza Beattie (née Tooke, formerly Easton). When his father died, his mother married Richard Middlebrook, and the Middlebrook family, including Richard’s step-children, immigrated to South Australia in 1849 on the barque Macedon.

David performed agricultural labour, and almost immediately fell foul of Charles Hewitt, a prominent landowner. In 1850 Charles Hewitt refused to pay David his wages for minding Hewitt’s sheep and doing other farm work. David (aged 14) took Hewitt to court to recover the amount of 4 pounds for 23 weeks work. Hewitt claimed that he had contracted with Richard Middlebrook that he, Middlebrook, would mind the sheep, not David, Middlebrook’s step-son. The Court found in David’s favour and Hewitt had to pay over the disputed money.

David Beattie became a butcher in Willunga. His butcher shop was in the Willunga High Street at 17 High Street from 1860 – 1903. In 1872, many Adelaide newspapers featured David Beattie’s Christmas show of meat:

               On Tuesday evening the shop of our 'worthy butcher,' Mr. David Beattie, 
               was visited by numbers admiring his splendid show of meat for Christmas, 
               some of which, perhaps, has never been equalled in the colony. One sheep
               weighing 159.5 lbs. when cut down; the two legs weighed 41 lbs., and tile
               two shoulders 37 lbs. ; on the ribs it measured 4 inches. The sheep weighed
               alive 247 lbs. It was a six-toothed ewe, half Leicester, bred on the farm of 
              Captain Atkinson, J.P., of Ashley, Willunga. It was a 
             'pet sheep,' and the devoted companion of a 'prize bull' on the farm.
                                                                           SA Advertiser, 27 December 1872, p. 3

In 1879, David married Johanna Goss, daughter of Thomas Goss (Register, 24 May 1879, p. 4) who was very successful at the Victorian goldfields. At some time in his life, David visited the Gympie Goldfields, but his degree of success is unknown. David Beattie was an active participant in Willunga life. He was a steward at Aldinga races and often acted as judge at the Willunga Show.

David Beattie is buried in St Stephen’s Cemetery in Willunga with his wife Johanna (Hannah). His obituary noted that:

                      Mr. D. G. Beattie, an old and much respected resident of Willunga, 
                      died on July 1, after a short illness, at the age of 67 years. He was
                      a native of Lincolnshire, and came to this state when a boy. He 
                      carried on a butchering business at Willunga for over 40 years with
                      an intermission of about three years, when he went to the Gympie 
                      Gold Fields. At the Adelaide live stock market his cheery face and 
                      robust form will be missed, as he attended sales every fortnight or
                      so, and was one of the oldest buyers there.
                                                     Adelaide Observer, 11 July 1903, p. 32

When David died, Harry Richards was the executor of his estate.


  • Trove (nla)
  • CH records
David Beattie, outside the old Bush Inn, Willunga, c 1890.
David Beattie, outside the old Bush Inn, Willunga, c 1890.

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