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Cunningham/Reed cottage 17 St Marys Street

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Fast Facts
Address: 17 St Marys Street
Town or Locality: Willunga
Year constructed: c. 1869
Used for: Quarryman's cottage
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This cob cottage may have been built as early as the 1850s but no records can be found to establish this. Michael Cunningham, farmer of Willunga, purchased two allotments (146 and 149) fronting onto St Marys Street, Willunga on 31 December 1868. He held the land for over twenty years (1868-1890) and he may have built the existing cottage at 17 St Marys Street (allotment 146) around 1869 or before. It is not clear who lived in the cottage between 1869 and 1890 but Michael Cunningham paid rates on the property in 1869 so he may have lived there for a time after it was first built. Cunningham may then have rented the cottage to different families including the Reed family, perhaps from 1879 to 1881.

From 1890 three generations of the Reed slate quarrymen and their families lived in the cottage for at least 87 years between 1890 and 1977 – William Reed junior (1890-1901), William’s widow Eliza (1901-1906), his son Frederick (1906-1922), Frederick’s widow Catherine (1922-1926) and his grandsons Len and Cliff (1934-1977).

Michael Cunningham sold the land to William Reed (1823-1901), farmer of Willunga, on 13 March 1890. William Reed and his wife Eliza lived in the cottage for more than a decade (1890-1901) until his death on 7 October 1901. After the death of William Reed, the executors of his will – his second son John Thomas Reed, farmer of Johnburgh, and his uncle John Allen, farmer of Willunga – held the property in trust to allow William’s widow Eliza to continue living there until her death on 8 April 1906.

On 5 May 1906 the property was transferred to William’s fourth son Frederick Murray Reed (1863-1922) who lived in the cottage from 1906 until 1922 with his wife and four surviving children. After Frederick Reed’s death on 16 July 1922, it was transferred to his son, William Leonard (“Len”) Reed (1899-1981), labourer of Willunga.

The property was transferred in 1926 to Catherine Cornelius, (Frederick Reed’s widow who had remarried to Phillip Cornelius) for the term of her life. Catherine Cornelius (formerly Reed) may not have lived in the cottage and simply derived an income from the property. She died on 4 September 1934 and, on her death, it transferred to Frederick’s two youngest sons William Leonard Reed and Murray Clifford (“Cliff”) Reed (1904-1984). It is not clear which of the two (Len or Cliff) may have lived in the cottage between 1934 and 1944.

On 17 May 1944 William Leonard Reed transferred his share of the property to Murray Clifford Reed, who changed his name to Murray Clifton Reed on 1 July 1944. Murray Clifton (known as Cliff) and Dorothy Reed lived in the cottage for more than 30 years (1944-1977). After the death of Cliff's wife, Dorothy, in July 1977 the property was transferred, on 6 December 1977, to Evelyn Arthur Shervington, manager, of Willunga, and his wife, Verity Elizabeth Shervington.

Sources

  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • SAILIS CT124/36



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