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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Colville, John

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1813
Place of birth Campbelltown, Argyll, Scotland
Date of arrival 1839
Principal occupation Sheep farmer and businessman
Date of death 1859
Place of decease Willunga, South Australia.

John Colville was born on 13 Dec 1813 at Campbelltown, Argyll, Scotland. His parents were John Colville (1775-1832) and Martha McMurchy (1778-1856). He married Harriet Margaret nee Arthur (1817-1893) in 1839 at Campbelltown. They lived at Ballygroggan, Scotland before emigrating to South Australia. Religion – Presbyterian, Church of England.

John Coville arrived, aged 25 years, on board Ariadne from Greenock, Scotland on 13 Aug 1839 with wife Margaret, aged 22 years. Application 4355. Embarkation 2502. Together with his brother Matthew Colville, aged 23 years. Other settlers who became resident on the Aldinga Plains to arrive aboard Ariadne included Duncan Stewart and Mrs Isabella McMillan with her three children. Residence - Adelaide, Unley and Willunga. John and Matthew Colville are listed on Section 278 on the Arrowsmith Survey of District C undertaken by John McLaren in 1840. They were resident in District C for the 1841 Census and they had an occupation licence in 1842. They were listed as the owners of section 276 to the south-west of the township of Willunga and they imported 1,500 sheep from Scotland to their property on Colville Road that they called Moy Hall. John Colville was appointed as a Director of the newly formed South Australian Agricultural and Horticultural Society in May 1844 and he was reappointed in June 1845. He was also active in the Willunga Ploughing matches. In 1846 John and Matthew Colville applied for an occupation licence for the Rivoli Bay district. John Colville may have also been a qualified attorney and he certainly maintained an active involvement in business in the city of Adelaide through the 1840s including acting as a special juror in 1849.

In 1850 and 1853 John and Matthew Colville paid rates on sections 275 (80 acres) and 276 (76 acres, house). Then in the years between 1855 and 1858, they paid rates on sections 275 (80 acres), 276 (76 acres, house), 302 (80 acres) and 755 (120 acres). This parcel of 356 acres of land lies on the Aldinga Plains to the south and west of Willunga South. John and Harriet Colville had five children (4 sons and 1 daughter):

John (1840-1855) b. at Adelaide, d. at Willunga, aged 15 years, buried at St. Stephen’s, Willunga

James Arthur (1842-1904) m. Ellen Atkinson (daughter of Joseph Atkinson) on 05 June 1877

Martha Jane (1844- ) b. at Willunga

David (1850-1884) b. at Willunga, unmarried, buried at St. Stephen’s, Willunga

John William (1856- ) b. at Willunga, m. Blanche Rose Landseer on 19 April 1883 at Christ Church, Strathalbyn.

John Colville, aged 45 years, died on 13/04/1859 at Willunga and he is buried at St. Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga. John’s oldest surviving son, James Arthur Colville, appears to have inherited sections 275 and 276, at least. Harriet Colville died on 30 Nov 1893 and she is buried at St. Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • SA Census 1841
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
  • Family Histories. C. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder 40-4
  • Ratepayer List. Willunga and Aldinga Councils 1850-1888. Volume 1. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch)
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 1. South Australian 23 April 1840: 3
  • South Australian Register 17 July 1841: 4
  • Southern Australian 15 July 1842:2
  • Southern Australian 30 Dec 1842:1
  • South Australian Register 25 May 1844:3
  • South Australian Register 10 Aug 1844:3
  • South Australian 17 June 1845:2
  • Adelaide Observer 30 May 1846:3
  • Adelaide Observer 15 July 1848:1
John Colville's tombstone, St Stephen's cemetery, Willunga
John Colville's tombstone, St Stephen's cemetery, Willunga

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