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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Hawkins, Ella

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1878
Place of birth Auburn, South Australia
Principal occupation Teacher
Date of death 1952
Place of decease Royal Adelaide Hospital

Ella Hawkins was born in Auburn on 6 January 1878. Her father, Rev Charles Wriothesley-Hawkins, had studied in Canterbury and arrived in Australia in 1870, after missionary work in Borneo and Singapore. He took the incumbency of Auburn and married Georgina Lambert in 1871. They had four daughters, three of whom sadly died by the age of two, leaving Ella their only child.

Ella spent her childhood in Auburn until 1885, when her father became curate at Yankalilla. There she began her formal education at Christchurch Day School. Her obituary also notes that she was educated in England, but it is not clear when this took place. In 1891, the family moved to the Maitland Church and her father became priest in charge of the North Yorke's Peninsula mission. In 1896, they returned temporarily to Yankalilla, and her father died suddenly.

Ella began teaching at St Stephen’s School in Willunga in the same year. It had been established in the Bassett Boys' Schoolroom by the Anglican Church Synod early in 1896. (Ella’s father had been part of this Synod.) The Church Minutes note ‘That a school had been open for 6 months with an average of 27 pupils attending. The Inspector of Diocesan Schools had visited and commented favourably.’

Ella remained teaching for several years, probably until the school closed in 1900 and the children transferred to the Public School, after which it is said that she entered business in Adelaide. However, in December 1914, she was in Willunga involved in work for the War fund for the London Poor and, in January 1919, she contributed a musical item to the Willunga Cheer-Up Society programme.

In her later years, Ella lived at Royston Park and maintained connections with the Fleurieu Peninsula. She is reported as attending the 'Back to Yankalilla' celebrations in 1929 and staying with friends in Victor Harbor in 1938. In her 50s, Ella’s mother’s sister, Miss Lambert, was living with her and Ella was a keen church worker in the parish of St. Aidan's, Payneham. She continued teaching Sunday School up to the time of her last illness. Ella Hawkins died on 15 May 1952 at the age of 74.

Related Articles


  • Willunga National Trust - papers and documents available at the Willunga Courthouse
  • The Advertiser 30 May 1952 p10
  • The Advertiser (Adelaide SA : 1889 - 1931) Tuesday 15 December 1914 p8
  • Chronicle (Adelaide SA : 1895 - 1954) Saturday 25 January 1919 p38
  • The Advertiser (Adelaide SA : 1889 - 1931) Thursday 7 March 1929 p18
Miss Ella M W Hawkins, 1897.
Miss Ella M W Hawkins, 1897.
Pupils from the Church of England Day School, Willunga, ca 1896.
Pupils from the Church of England Day School, Willunga, ca 1896.

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