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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Kell, Thomas Smith

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1802
Place of birth Sussex, England
Date of arrival 1838
Principal occupation Farmer, flax grower.
Date of departure c. 1870
Date of death 1877
Place of decease Unley Park, South Australia

Thomas Smith Kell was born c.1802 in Sussex, England (parents Christopher and Mary Kell). Thomas Smith Kell married Dorothy nee Poole (1802-20/09/1887) before 1827. They lived at Cooksbridge Farm near Lewes in Sussex, England before emigrating to South Australia.

Thomas Smith Kell, aged 36 years, arrived on board Rajasthan on 16 Nov 1838 with his wife Dorothy, aged 35 years, and seven children (3 sons and 4 daughters – Emma-10, Mary-10, Frances Ann-8, Christopher Smith-6, Frederick Polhill-3, Katherine-18 months and Lewes-6 months). Application -2600. Embarkation-1459

They had 7 children comprising of 3 sons and 4 daughters: Emma (1827-1880) m. Frederick Wicksteed (1813-1877) in 1847; Mary (1827-1882) m. Andrew McIntyre in 1857 at Willunga; Frances Ann (1829-1897) died aged 67 years unmarried; Christopher Smith (1832-1838) died as a child unmarried; Frederick Polhill (1834-1854) died aged 19 years unmarried; Katherine (1836-1904) died aged 68 years unmarried; Lewes (Louis) (1837-1911) m. Elizabeth Louden at North Adelaide in 1867 (1845-1925).

Residence –Willunga, McLaren Vale, Kensington, Unley Park. Religion C/E.

Thomas Smith Kell was declared insolvent in 1843 with debts of nearly 600 pounds and in 1846 his accounts were still being audited as a result of his insolvency. In 1847 he was listed as having omitted to pay his last year's assessment for cattle pastured on Crown Lands. Despite these financial difficulties, Thomas Smith Kell was on the jury list by 1849 as being duly qualified to act as a Special Juror and he served as a Special Juror in a Supreme Court trial in 1855. In 1853 he was elected as one of five district councillors for the District Council of Willunga. In 1861 he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace.

Thomas Smith Kell lived in the Willunga area for more than three decades from about 1839 until about 1870. In 1839 Kell purchased 160 acres of land at Willunga (sections 248 and ?) from Abraham Borrodaile Esq. of London (a member of the Committee of the South Australian Association) for 290 pounds. Kell called the land Waverley Park and built one of the first substantial buildings in the area. He sold a part of section 248 in 1858. He was a pioneer of the Flax industry and in 1869 he initiated the Willunga Flax Company.

Thomas Smith Kell died on 19 Nov 1877 and was buried in the Mitcham Cemetery.


  • Adelaide Observer 23 July 1853:8
  • Adelaide Times 10 Dec 1849:3
  • South Australian Register 22 Nov 1843:3
  • South Australian Register 9 May 1846:3
  • The South Australian Advertiser 10 Dec 1858:4
  • Family Histories. S. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder 40-10
  • Pioneers and Settlers bound for South Australia. Passenger Lists 1838. Fleurieu Peninsula Family History Group
  • Santich B McLaren Vale:44
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 4
  • Thomas J. (ed) 1990. South Australians 1836-1885 Book Two M-Z.

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