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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 Dec 1802 in Sussex, England. He married Sophia Caroline Dadswell (19/01/1814-09/05/1885) at St. Deny’s Parish Church in Rotherfield, East Sussex on 14 May 1830. John died, aged 57 years, on 2 Feb 1860 in Willunga, South Australia. John with his wife Sophia (Caroline), 2 sons - John and George and 2 daughters - Mary Ann and Sophia arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 17 December 1839 aboard Cleveland from London (departed 7 August 1839).

They eventually had ten children (5 sons and 5 daughters): Mary Ann (b. 16 Sept 1831 in Sussex. d. 27 Apl 1919 in Adelaide) (m. Moses Chambers on 21 Oct 1853 at Willunga – they had 10 children) George (b. 18 Jan 1833 in Sussex. d. 23 June 1903 at Wauraltee, SA) he was a farmer at Willunga. (m. Sarah Jane Sanders on 15 May 1857 at Noarlunga, SA – they had 11 children) Sophia (b. 9 Feb 1835 in Sussex. d. 2 May 1923 at Hammond, SA) (m. William Crisp on 8 Apl 1858 in Willunga – they had 9 children) John (b. 7 Sept 1836 in Withyham, Sussex. d. 16 May 1909) he was a blacksmith at Sellick’s Hill. (m. Emma Leak on 23 Dec 1859 in Normanville, SA – they had 9 children) Henry (Harry) (b. 9 Feb 1841 – d. 20 Sept 1911) he was a farmer at Willunga (m. Mary Riseborough at Aldinga on 17 May 1866 – they had 7 children) William (b. 17 Apl 1842 – d. 20 March 1920) he was a shoemaker at Willunga (m. Lucy Bott on 8 Sept 1864 – they had 9 children) Rebecca (b. 20 June 1843 at Meadows, SA. d. 11 June 1925) (m. Charles Lawrance on 31 Oct 1866 at Willunga – they had 6 children) Thomas (b. 16 Oct 1844 at Meadows, SA. d. 5 Oct 1911 at Balaklava, SA) (m. Edith Lock on 3 Oct 1867 at Willaston – they had 14 children) Eliza (b. 18 May 1849. d.3 Aug 1931 at Wilmington, SA) (m. Thomas Walter Metcalf on 3 Aug 1892 in Aldinga, SA) Hester (b. 22 Feb 1855. d. 3 Dec 1923 at Wilmington, SA) (m. Matthew Theodore Nattrass at Amyton on 3 Aug 1894 and had 1 son)

After arrival John Illman worked at a dairy in Walkerville for Sir John Morphett and in 1840 he moved to Happy Valley making butter and cheese. He later took up a farm from Mr. Hall at Bull’s Creek and by 1850 John and (Sophia) Caroline Illman lived at Hope Farm (section 243) north of the Aldinga Road near Willunga. John Illman leased section 243 (80 acres owned by Samuel White who had purchased it for 121 pounds in 1846) of the Hundred of Willunga 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 and his wife Caroline (aged 73 years) are both buried in the Willunga Uniting (Wesleyan Methodist) Church cemetery (graves 34 and 35) 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 but by the 1870s son Thomas (wheelwright) had moved to Gawler and then Yorke Peninsular and by the late 1880s George had also moved to Yorke Peninsular.


  • 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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