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Dowty family

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Fast Facts
Type of person Family
Date of birth 1821
Place of birth Alderbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of arrival 1849
Principal occupation Storekeeper
Date of death 1875
Place of decease Willunga

Henry Dowty (1821-1875) was born in Alderbury, Wiltshire, England, the son of William Dowty and Charity Musselwhite. Henry sailed from Plymouth on 11 May 1849 on the ship Eliza and arrived in South Australia on 23 August 1849. The passenger list records him as aged 27, single and an Agricultural labourer from Wiltshire.

Henry, aged 34 years, was married to Hannah Maria Window, aged 32 years, (1823-1906) on 30 May 1855 at Brompton in South Australia. She was the daughter of Daniel Window (1795-1838) and Elizabeth Gazzard (1799-1869) and she was born in a village near Stroud in Gloucestershire, England on 3 Sept 1823. After the death of her father in 1838, she arrived in Sydney on board Orestes on 28 Nov 1839, aged 16 years, with her mother, older brother (Samuel) and younger sister (Martha) She moved with her mother and brother from Sydney to Adelaide in January 1849.

Henry and Hannah had four daughters who were all born in Willunga:

Elizabeth (1857-1941) never married

Mary Ann (1858-1945) m Thomas Pointon on 19 June 1884 in Willunga

Alice (1860-1953) never married

Charity (1862-1864) died in infancy

Henry had purchased an allotment on Church St. (now Aldinga Road) Willunga in 1852 which was the eastern half of Acre 15 in Section 257. A pug and stone cottage was erected for Henry Dowty in 1853 by local builder George Sara. It was originally a four-room cottage with a slate roof, and it was to be the Dowty family home for over 90 years.

Henry and his new wife Hannah, moved into the cottage which they called “Alderbury” after his home town in England. In the 1860s they opened Dowty’s Store in the eastern end of their cottage. After Henry died in 1875, Hannah continued to run the small store for more than thirty years and when she died in 1906, it was continued by her unmarried daughters Elizabeth and Alice. The store closed in 1941 after Elizabeth died.

Alice and Elizabeth were well-known identities in Willunga. Children loved shopping for sweet treats in the shop, where a highlight of the visit was the sisters’ pet cockatoo who lived for 58 years. Both sisters were experts in the art of crochet and they also grew flowers, both of which they displayed at the Willunga Show. They were long-serving Sunday School teachers as well as enthusiastic helpers at Wesleyan Methodist Church functions, strawberry fetes and the like. One of the Dowty sisters was active, including as vice-president, in the short-lived Y.W.L. Society – a Christian society for young women in the mid 1890s. The Dowty family were devout Wesleyan Methodists and active workers for the church in Willunga. Henry, Hannah and their daughters Alice and Charity are all buried in the Wesleyan Methodist (Uniting) Church cemetery in Willunga.

Sources

  • Adelaide Chronicle 1 Nov 1862:5
  • The Express and Telegraph 9 Oct 1906:1
  • The Express and Telegraph 19 Oct 1906:1
  • Australian Christian Commonwealth 30 Nov 1906:11
  • The Advertiser 18 Nov 1938:31
  • News 17 June 1941:2
  • The Advertiser 25 June 1941:8
  • Southern Argus 23 July 1953:4
Dowty's shop Willunga, c 1896.
Dowty's shop Willunga, c 1896.
Dowty sisters, Willunga, ca 1900.
Dowty sisters, Willunga, ca 1900.


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