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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Hart, Francis

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1835
Place of birth Ketton, Rutland, England
Date of arrival 1863
Principal occupation Baker, butcher and publican of the Temperance Hotel
Date of death 1920
Place of decease Aldinga

Francis Hart was born in 1835 in Ketton, Rutland, England and was the youngest son of William Hart (1788-1854) and Anne (née Skellet) (1797-1871) of Ketton. He worked as a baker before travelling to Australia on Elizabeth Ann Bright, arriving in Melbourne in 1862, aged 27 years. After about 9 months working as a baker in Melbourne, he travelled to South Australia in 1863 to live in Aldinga with his uncle, Mr. Skellet.

Francis, aged 29 years, married Mary Bird (née Elliot) (1827-1891), aged 37 years, in Willunga on 11 February 1864. She was the widow of George Bird (1827-1858) and brought three young sons to the marriage: Alfred, aged 7, Joseph, aged 5, and George junior, aged 3. Francis and Mary Hart then had 4 daughters and 2 sons of their own. Sadly, both sons and one daughter died before they were three.

  • Mary Jane (1865-1931) was born at Aldinga and married Charles Archibald Pitcher (1862-1933) on 3 November 1889 at Aldinga. They had four children. Mary Jane died at Hindmarsh, SA.
  • Susan (1866-1943) was born at Aldinga and died at Hindmarsh, SA. She is buried in Centennial Park Cemetery.
  • Fanny (1867-1949) was born at Aldinga and married Daniel Hedley Pridham (1876-1955) at the Wesleyan Church, Aldinga on 21 August 1907. They lived at Thebarton and Fanny died at Hindmarsh, SA.
  • Emily Louisa (1869-1870) was born and died at Aldinga as an infant.
  • Charles (1872-1874) was born and died at Aldinga as a child. He is buried in St Stephens Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.
  • William (1874-1874) was born and died at Aldinga as an infant. He is buried in St Stephens Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.

Mary Hart, aged 64 years, died of heart disease on 10 April 1891 and, in 1893, Francis remarried to Mrs. Jane Machell (née Sowerby) (1843-1921). Jane Machell was a widow and was the postmistress at the Aldinga Post and Telegraph station from 1888-1893. When he first arrived, Francis was employed as a baker by Allen and Jones for about 10 months and then set up a business for himself as a butcher. In 1882 Francis Hart purchased a block of land (part of section 401) located at what would later become the corner of Flour Mill Road and Adey Road. He may have set up a butcher’s shop there, which he sold to his stepson Alfred Bird in August 1888.

Francis Hart was the best-known proprietor of the Temperance Hotel at 206 Port Road, Aldinga, which was reputed to have been built in 1868. He was first listed as the proprietor in the SA Directory in 1883 and ran the hotel for nearly 40 years until his death in 1920.

Francis Hart was described as one of the most prominent personalities in Aldinga, an “energetic man, who takes a lively interest in political matters", with “the rare faculty of growing apparently younger the older he is”. "No public meeting would be regarded as complete without his presence.”

Francis was a public-spirited man and took a prominent part in the affairs of the district. He was a Councillor for the Aldinga District Council for 13 years, including holding the office of Chairman for 5 years. He was a member of the School Board of Advice and a justice of the peace. He was warden of St Ann’s Church and a colonist of 57 years.

Francis, aged 85 years, died on 27 March 1920 and Jane Hart (née Sowerby), aged 77 years, died on 20 August 1921, both at the Temperance Hotel in Aldinga. Jane is buried in St Ann’s Anglican Church Cemetery, Aldinga.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • Quiz and the Lantern 5 Jan 1894:13
  • Evening Journal 6 Feb 1907:1
  • Observer 10 April 1920:37
Francis Hart
Francis Hart

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