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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Kain, Thomas

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1832
Place of birth Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland
Date of arrival 1851
Principal occupation Agricultural labourer, quarryman and later a dairyman
Date of death 1903
Place of decease Willunga

Thomas Kain (or Keane) was born in 1832 in Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland. He was the son of John Joseph Keane (1800-1860) and Nora (nee Flynn) (1802-1845). There are at least six different spellings used for his surname – Kain, Keane, Kean, Kane, Kyne and Cain. Of Thomas’ three sons, two used Kain - Michael and John - and one used Kean - Thomas junior. The next generation used Keane. Thomas does not appear to be related to the Kane family who were in Willunga in the 1840s.

Thomas was aged 18 years when arrived in South Australia on 25 May 1851 aboard Catherine from Liverpool. He was Catholic and, aged 26 years, he married Sarah Cecilia Hesham (or Heslam or Haslen) (1831-1911), aged 27 years, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Willunga on 9 November 1858. They had five children:

  • Michael Joseph (1859-1907) was born at Willunga and married Joanna Pauline Braune (1860-1936) at St Patrick’s Church, Adelaide on 21 April 1882. They had 10 children. Michael was a labourer and died at Morphett Vale, SA.
  • John (Jack) (1861-1907) was born at Willunga and married Ellen (Nellie) Wood (1867-1941) on 24 August 1885 at Willunga. They had 5 children. Jack was a labourer and died at Hurtle Vale, SA.
  • Bridget Maria (Minnie) (1864-1930) was born at Willunga. She married Bernal Shaw (1861-1942) on 2 December 1899 at Adelaide, SA, and they had one daughter. Bridget died at Adelaide, SA.
  • Thomas Aloyisius (1866-1916) was born at Willunga. He married Margaret Stuart (1853-1923) on 11 October 1911 at Adelaide, SA, and they had one son. Thomas died at Adelaide, SA.
  • Cecilia (1868-1923) was born at Willunga. She married John Lawrence Murphy (1873-1946) on 6 January 1900 at Adelaide, SA, and they had one daughter. Cecelia died at Thebarton, SA.

Thomas was an agricultural labourer, quarryman and, later, a dairyman at Willunga. Thomas, his wife Sarah and their growing family lived in the cottage on Lot 38 at 8 St. Lukes Street for probably approaching 50 years, from about 1858 or before, until his death in 1903. This cottage now has City of Onkaparinga Heritage Listing #5515. In 1882, Thomas Kain purchased Lots 18 and 19, across the road from his house at 8 St Lukes Street, from John Hill & Co’s coaching business.

Thomas Kain, aged 68 years, died at Willunga on 24 September 1903 and his wife, Cecilia, aged 80 years, died in June 1911. Both are buried in St Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, Willunga.


  • 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
  • Family Histories. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 2
  • South Australian Directory – Willunga 1886 & 1889
Kain gravestone
Kain gravestone

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