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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Illman, John

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1802
Place of birth Sussex, England
Date of arrival 1839
Principal occupation Farmer
Date of death 1860
Place of decease Willunga, South Australia

John Illman (1802-1860) was born on 24 December 1802 in Sussex, England. He married Sophia Caroline Dadswell (1814-1885) at St. Deny’s Parish Church in Rotherfield, East Sussex on 14 May 1830. John, his wife Sophia (Caroline), sons, John and George, and daughters, Mary Ann and Sophia, arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 17 December 1839.They had sailed aboard Cleveland from London, departing on 7 August 1839. They were Wesleyan Methodist.

The Illmans had ten children:

  • Mary Ann was born on 16 September 1831 in Sussex. She married Moses Chambers on 21 October 1853 at Willunga and had 10 children. Mary Ann died on 27 April 1919 in Adelaide.
  • George was born on 18 January 1833 in Sussex. He was a farmer at Willunga and married Sarah Jane Sanders on 15 May 1857 at Noarlunga, SA. They had 11 children. George died on 23 June 1903 at Wauraltee, SA.
  • Sophia was born on 9 February 1835 in Sussex. She married William Crisp on 8 April 1858 in Willunga and they had 9 children. Sophia died on 2 May 1923 at Hammond, SA.
  • John was born on 7 September 1836 in Withyham, Sussex. He was a blacksmith at Sellick’s Hill. John married Emma Leak on 23 December 1859 in Normanville, SA, and they had 9 children. John died on 16 May 1909.
  • Henry (Harry) was born on 9 February 1841. He was a farmer at Willunga. Henry married Mary Riseborough at Aldinga on 17 May 1866 and had 7 children. Henry died on 20 September 1911.
  • William was born on 17 April 1842. He was a shoemaker at Willunga. William married Lucy Bott on 8 September 1864 and they had 9 children. William died on 20 March 1920.
  • Rebecca was born on 20 June 1843 at Meadows, SA. and married Charles Lawrance on 31 October 1866 at Willunga. They had 6 children. Rebecca died on 11 June 1925.
  • Thomas was born on 16 October 1844 at Meadows, SA. He married Edith Lock on 3 October 1867 at Willaston and they had 14 children. Thomas died on 5 October 1911 at Balaklava, SA.
  • Eliza was born on 18 May 1849 and married Thomas Walter Metcalf on 3 August 1892 in Aldinga, SA. She died on 3 August 1931 at Wilmington, SA.
  • Hester was born on 22 February 1855 and married Matthew Theodore Nattrass at Amyton on 3 August 1894. They had 1 son. She died on 3 Decenber 1923 at Wilmington, SA.

After arrival in South Australia, John Illman worked for Sir John Morphett at a dairy in Walkerville. In 1840 he moved to Happy Valley, making butter and cheese. He later took up a farm from Mr Hall at Bull’s Creek.

By 1850, John and (Sophia) Caroline Illman lived at Hope Farm (section 243, Hundred of Willunga) north of the Aldinga Road near Willunga. This land was owned by Samuel White, who had purchased it for £121 in 1846. John leased the section of 80 acres for 21 years from 1st February, 1853, at the yearly rental of £24 7s. 6d.

John Illman was an active member of Willunga Wesleyan Methodist Church and a staunch member of the Church committee. John died, aged 57 years, on 2 February 1860 in Willunga, South Australia. His wife Caroline died, aged 73 years. They are buried in graves 34 and 35 in the Willunga Uniting (Wesleyan Methodist) Church cemetery in St. Jude’s Street, Willunga. They have a single slate headstone carved by George Sara.

Widow Caroline, sons John (junior), George and William were still landholders in the Willunga District after the death of John Illman (senior) in 1860. By the 1870s, son Thomas (wheelwright) had moved to Gawler and then Yorke Peninsula and, by the late 1880s, George had also moved to Yorke Peninsula.

External Links


  • Family Histories. I. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 2
  • Passengers in History database. SA Maritime Museum. Illman. 1839
  • South Australian Births Deaths and Marriages Index of Registrations

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