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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


McCullagh, Samuel

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1828
Place of birth Chatham, Kent, England
Date of arrival c. 1855
Principal occupation Agricultural Labourer (also called a farm servant)
Date of death 1906
Place of decease Willunga

Samuel McCullagh (1828-24/09/1906) was born at Chatham, Kent, England. He married Matilda Ann Quinn (1832-31/07/1895). Samuel (27), Matilda (23) and their infant son Joseph (1) arrived from Liverpool on board the Admiral Boxer with 385, mainly Irish, government emigrants on Tuesday 21 Aug 1855. Admiral Boxer (Captain J. Jones) was a 940ton ship built in Quebec in 1853.

Samuel McCullagh (also spelled McCulloch or McCullach) was an agricultural labourer (also called a farm servant) who lived at Willunga for more than 50 years from before August 1856 (the birth of his first daughter Elizabeth) until his death in September 1906.

Samuel and Matilda McCullagh had 10 children (4 sons and 6 daughters): Joseph (1854- ); Elizabeth (20/08/1856- ) born at Willunga; James (20/05/1859-06/08/1943) born at Willunga. m. Marie Schulz aged 28 on 6 Feb 1891 at Registry Office Adelaide; Samuel (31/10/1861- ) born at Willunga; John Stephen (23/12/1863- ) born at Willunga m. Hannah Jackson aged 24 on 10 April 1882 at Port Wakefield; Mary Anne (16/05/1865- ) born at Willunga; Matilda Jane (bapt.18/071868- ) born at Willunga; Ellen Teresa (Nellie?) (19/02/1870- ) born at Willunga, m. widower Andrew Cumming aged 39 (1849- ) on 2 Aug 1888 at the Baptist Church, Adelaide; Clara Matilda (12/09/1872- ) born at Willunga; Amelia Agnes (Millie) (05/06/1874-19/11/1895) born at Willunga, died aged 21 years.

Samuel and Matilda were Catholics. Nine of their 10 children were born at Willunga and were baptized in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Willunga (Elizabeth 1856, James 1859, Samuel 1861, John Stephen 1863, Mary Anne 1865, Matilda Jane 1868, Ellen Teresa 1870, Clara Matilda 1872 and Amelia Agnes 1874).

McCulloch (no first name) was listed as a ratepayer in the township of Willunga for the years 1857, 1858, 1869 and 1870. Samuel’s son Joseph McCulloch was listed as a ratepayer for a house and garden in the township of Willunga for the years 1871 to 1875 (despite only being aged between 17 and 21 years). Then Samuel McCulloch was listed as a ratepayer for a house and garden in the township of Willunga in 1876 and 1883. In December 1893 McCullagh purchased allotments 68 and 71 (now 5 and 7 St. Jude’s Street) in sections 258 and 268 of the township of Willunga from William Matthew Oliver and he still owned this land at his death in 1906.Then in 1894 McCullagh made an application under the Real Property Act for Lot 13 of sections 258 and 268 of the township of Willunga.

In 1864 Matilda McCulloch (complainant) had James Frome (defendant) charged with Assault and Breach of the Peace. The case was held at the Willunga Courthouse on 21 July and the judgment was costs of 1 pound awarded to the complainant and Frome was bound over the keep the peace for 12 months. In 1868 Samuel McCullagh was charged and convicted with failing to pay 4s.district rates in 1867-8 for a cottage.

In 1869 Samuel’s son James (aged 10) was charged with deserting the Brighton Reformatory School and sentenced to be returned to the school. Then in 1872 James was charged with absconding from the Ilfracombe Industrial School (reformatory school) and was sentenced to be whipped. In 1874 Samuel McCullagh testified at the Inquest held by Dr. Jay J.P. into the 1874 Willunga bushfires. Samuel’s house was twice robbed – of 6 shillings in silver in 1875 and of 5 pounds 17 shillings in 1894.

Matilda may have left her husband, and the family home, perhaps before 1885 when a “Matilda McCullagh, married woman” gave evidence at an inquest into the death of Mrs. Eliza Darling who died from an “overdose of brandy” at Rose Park on 14 Jan 1885. Certainly by 1895 Matilda McCullagh, was no longer living in Willunga as she died, aged 63 years, at Roper Street in Adelaide on 31 July 1895. In 1905 Samuel McCullagh placed an advertisement in the Express and Telegraph newspaper stating that all poultry trespassing on allotments 68 and 71 in Willunga would be destroyed. Samuel McCulloch, aged 78 years, died in Willunga on 24 Sept 1906 and he is buried in Row 6 at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Willunga.


  • Adelaide Observer 25 Aug 1855:6
  • Adelaide Observer 6 June 1868:5
  • South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail 24 Aug 1872:14
  • South Australian Police Gazette 29 Sept 1875:154
  • South Australian Police Gazette 12 Sept 1894:146
  • South Australian Register 22 Aug 1855:2
  • South Australian Register 10 Jan 1874: 6
  • South Australian Weekly Chronicle 24 Jan 1885:8
  • The Advertiser 26 Sept 1906:4
  • The Express and Telegraph 1 Aug 1895:2
  • The Express and Telegraph 12 Sept 1905:2
  • The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser 12 Feb 1894:3
  • Family Histories. M. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder 40-12
  • Land Titles Office Certificate of Title Volume 270 Folio 21
  • Mary Maud Aldam’s sketchbook held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch)
  • Ratepayer List. Willunga and Aldinga Councils 1850-1888. Volume 2. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch)
  • Register of the Births and Baptisms of the Catholics of South Australia
  • SA Maritime Museum. Passengers in History Database. McCullagh
  • South Australia Births Index of registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australia Deaths Index of registrations 1842-1915
  • South Australia Marriages Index of registrations 1842-1916
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 3
  • Willunga Criminal Record Book. Photocopy of original manuscript volume held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch).
McCullagh grave, St Joseph's cemetery, Willunga
McCullagh grave, St Joseph's cemetery, Willunga

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