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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Polkinghorne, Thomas

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1813
Place of birth Lelant, Cornwall
Date of arrival 1840
Principal occupation Miner, agricultural labourer, farmer, slate quarry operator and slate dealer.
Date of death 1883
Place of decease Moonta, South Australia

Thomas was baptised on 19/03/1813 at Lelant, Cornwall, England. Parents – William Polkinghorne and Elizabeth nee Lobb.

Thomas, aged 27 years, arrived with his wife Grace, aged 22 years, and two children (Elizabeth Jane-3 and John Pearce-1) together with his brother Isaac Polkinghorne, an agricultural labourer aged 30 years, and his wife Alice (nee Faul) arrived on 6 Feb 1840 on board the ship Java from London. Two other early Willunga families arrived on the same ship at the same time – the Bastian family and Thomas Williams with his family.

Only three months after arrival Isaac Polkinghorne was accidently killed while sinking a well on the premises of Mr. Sladden at the Kangaroo Inn on the road to Onkaparinga in May 1840. Another brother Richard Polkinghorne arrived with his family aboard Pakenham in 1849.

Married (1st) on 02/04/1836 at Tywandreath, Cornwall to Grace Pearce (parents – William and Grace) baptized 18/10/1818 in Redruth, Cornwall. She died on 24/11/1855 in Willunga. She was buried in the Willunga Uniting Church (Wesleyan Methodist) graveyeard and had a slate chest tomb. The chest tomb has been largely removed but the ledger stone (top slab) survives and is lying against the outside of the wall of the Church. Children (6 comprising 5 sons and 1 daughter): Elizabeth Jane (1836-1866) m. Thomas Martin; John Pearce (1839-1840) died as an infant; Isaac (c 1842-1912) m. Jane Coad; John (1845-1897) m. Elizabeth Coad; Thomas (1847-1870) d aged 23 years unmarried; William George (1849- ) m. Jane Coad?

Married (2nd) on 16/04/1856 at the Wesleyan Chapel in North Adelaide to Mrs. Eliza Warden (widow) nee Pollard (parents - James Pollard) born c.1824 at Redruth died 13/02/1873 aged 49 years at Willunga buried at Willunga. Previous husband - John Warden. Children (4 comprising 2 sons and 2 daughters): Henry (1858-1934) m. Harriet Shippard; Mary (1859- ) m. Joseph Shippard; Ann (1861-1943) m. Bennett Coad; James (1863- )

Married (3rd) on17/04/1873 at Port Wakefield to Mrs Hannah/Anne Allen nee Welchford (parents- John Welchford) She was born on 30/01/1840 and died 22/08/1889 at Willunga buried at Willunga. Previous husband – Joseph Allen. Children (2 comprising 1 son and 1 daughter): William (1874- ); Elizabeth Jane (1875-1875).

Married (4th) on 06/06/1877 at Kadina to Mrs. Jane Humphreys (widow) nee Martin born c1815 died 02/10/1901 at Kulpara buried at Moonta. Previous husband – Mr. Humphreys. No children.

Religion – Wesleyan Methodist. Residence – Willunga (1840-?) and Moonta. By sometime in late 1840 Thomas Polkinghorne owned half a town allotment (lot 281) facing St. John’s Terrace in Section 700 (Beltunga) – his neighbor in lot 281 was Sampson Dawe. On 28 August 1845 Thomas Polkinghorne and Sampson Dawe took up the lease for Martin’s quarry on 35 acres of section 1008 near Willunga. Later Thomas occupied part (4 acres) of Section 700 and Section 265 (84 acres). Thomas Polkinghorne, aged 80 years, died on 12/03/1883 at Moonta.


  • Family Histories. P. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder 40-15
  • Pioneers and Settlers bound for South Australia. Passenger Lists 1840. Fleurieu Peninsula Family History Group
  • South Australian Register 30 May 1840:5
  • Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Volume 1
  • Thomas J. (ed) 1990. South Australians 1836-1885 Book Two M-Z.

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