|Type of person|| Family
|Principal occupation|| Farmers
Richard and Margaret Logan married in Adelaide in 1837 and had five children. In the late 1840s, they were farming near Yankalilla and, at Willunga, on the corner of Branson and Pethick Roads.
Richard Logan was a vigorous member of the nascent Willunga community, featuring at public meetings and periodic committees called to consider questions of government, religion, education and local concern. Notably, he was District Road Commissioner and later Chairman of the Willunga Council. In leadership, his ‘conciliatory manners and unwearied diligence [were] thoroughly appreciated.’ 1 In 1852, it was noted that ‘Richard Logan had a good knowledge of cattle, having been 20 years in the colony, and formerly engaged by the Company as a stock keeper.’ 2 His competence must have been valued during his long association with the Willunga Agricultural Society.
During the establishment of Willunga’s St Joseph’s Catholic church, Logan was a generous benefactor who was always at the disposal of the priest and church community. Typically for early settlers, he, Houghy and Finke built the housekeeper’s cottage themselves. 3 In 1851, when the roof of the church was blown off in a wild storm, a wheat crop grown on the Logans’ land by the church community helped pay for the roof’s replacement and the priest’s stipend.
During the debates of the 1860s about secular education, Logan spoke passionately in favour of Catholic education at meetings in Willunga. Indeed, the Logans had sent at least two of their sons to the only Catholic school at the time in South Australia, St Aloysius College at Sevenhill. 4 The Logans were also consistent donors to charitable causes. Interestingly, they donated to the SA British Destitution Relief Fund and supported the passage of new immigrants to Australia.
Sadly, during the 1860s, the Logans’ family life became a tragic story of loss. Their four sons died between 1860 and 1868 at 19, 20 and 21 years old, all of lung diseases. In October 1867, the family had had a brief respite when the boys’ sister, Mary Ann, married Timothy Lonnergan. However, she too died young, aged 30, on 20th August 1868.
In 1868, at the time of their last child's death, St Joseph’s church was a basic rectangular structure. The Logans added the chancel, vestry and a window in memory of the boys. Although there are now two Logan memorial windows in the church porch, this original window has been lost.
Margaret died in 1877 and, when Richard died in 1883, he left their property for the support of the priest, the Willunga Catholic parish and Catholic education, a bountiful bequest that has aided St Joseph’s Parish for over 100 years.
In 1892, the parish priest, Fr O’Donnell, and the church community organised the erection of a ‘fitting headstone’ over their graves in response to the family’s generosity. Their monument is still a feature of St Joseph’s cemetery today.
- 1 South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839 - 1900) Thursday 18 June 1863 p3
- 2 Adelaide Observer (SA 1843 - 1904) Saturday 13 June 1857 p3
- 3 http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/condon/CatholicLetters/18700124A.htm
- 4 Adelaide Observer (SA 1843 - 1904) Saturday 26 December 1857 p3
- Willunga National Trust - papers and documents available at the Willunga Courthouse
- St Joseph’s Catholic Church archives