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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Male Family

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Fast Facts
Type of person Family

Place of birth Lanteglos and St. Teath in the slate quarrying area near Camelford in North Cornwall
Principal occupation Slate quarrymen, slate merchants and quarry owners

Place of decease Willunga

The Male family came to the Willunga District from Lanteglos and St. Teath, in the slate quarrying area near Camelford in North Cornwall. Family members all arrived in South Australia in the 1840s and 1850s, including:

  • three brothers - John, Nicholas and Francis Male
  • Francis’ daughter, Jane Ann, and her husband, William Hawken
  • their nephew, William Browne Male, the son of another brother, Moses

Nicholas Male (1816-1867) arrived first in 1848 with his wife Margaret (née Cobbledick) and son Nicholas junior (8) He worked as a quarryman and slate dresser for Thomas Martin. Nicholas had the building at 16 St Georges St (Lot 143) built in the early 1850’s as two separate dwellings for himself and Frederick Martin. They were identical in size and layout, with a living room and lean-to kitchen on the ground floor, and bedrooms located on the upper storey (at road level). In 1855, to take out a 21-year lease on the Bangor Slate Quarry, Nicholas went into partnership as a slate merchant with James Kernick and William Cobbledick. However, ill health forced him to leave the partnership in 1864. He died, at the early age of 50 years, in 1867.

In 1849, Nicholas’ older brother John Male (1809-1872), who had been widowed in 1842 when his wife Philippa died of typhus aged just 31 years, arrived in Willunga with his two daughters, Lavinia May (17) and Mary Ann (13). In August 1850, John had a serious accident, which left him with a deformity to his leg, while working as a quarryman in the Willunga Slate quarries. Four years later in 1854, after another accident, Dr. Jay administered chloroform and managed to bring the limb back into its correct alignment. In the 1850s, John was the joint occupier of the slate quarry on section 1008 (Bastian’s Quarry) with Sampson Bastian junior. John, aged 60 years, married for the second time to Catherine Hewitson, aged 21 years, in 1869. He died three years later in 1872.

The younger brother Francis Male (1820-1895), his wife Harriet (35) and their two sons John (15) and William Bonear (9), arrived in 1856. Francis’ nephew, William Browne Male (son of Moses), aged 23 years, also travelled with them. Francis Male, and later both of his sons, worked as quarrymen in the Willunga slate quarries for about three decades between 1857 and 1887. In 1887, Francis and his wife Harriet moved to Melbourne where their son William Bonear Male and his family, as well as his daughter, Jane Ann Hawken and her family, had moved in the 1870s.

Their nephew William Browne Male was also a slate quarryman who lived in Beltunga (section 700) and he paid rates on two acres of land, a house and garden, from at least 1869 to 1883. He worked in the Willunga slate quarries for more then 40 years as a laborer and quarryman.

Francis Male’s daughter, Jane Ann (1839-1923) had married William Hawken (1835-1905) in St. Teath, Cornwall in 1855 and they also arrived in 1857 with their infant son Albert William, who had been born at sea on the voyage to South Australia. William Hawken worked as a slate quarryman, slate carver and monumental mason while he was resident in Willunga between 1857 and the mid 1870s. His slate carvings are featured in Paddy O’Toole’s book Fragments of Time: the lives and works of the Willunga Slate Carvers,available from the Willunga Branch of the National Trust or the Willunga General Store.

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