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National Trust of South Australia


Richards, John (senior)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1826
Place of birth Cornwall, England
Date of arrival 1854
Principal occupation Carpenter & builder
Date of death 1898
Place of decease Willunga

John Richards (senior) was born in Cornwall, England in about 1826.

He married Mary Mullis (1823-1889) in about 1848. She was born on 12 January 1823 in Altarnun, on Bodmin Moor, the daughter of Robert Mullis (1783-1848) and Margery Cook (1792-1868) of Altarnun, Cornwall. John and Mary Richards had six children:

  • William (1849-1933) was born in Camelford, Cornwall, England. He married Fanny Chenoweth (1842-1924) at the residence of Francis Cornelius in Matta Flat, near Kadina, on 2 May 1873. They had five children. William was a carpenter and builder in Kadina and, from 1875, in Willunga. He died at Willunga and was buried in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.
  • John (1854-1888) Birth place unknown. He was unmarried. John was a bootmaker and slate carver. He died in Willunga, aged 34 years, and was buried in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.
  • George (1856-1921?) was born in Willunga. He may have lived in Southwark in 1906 where he attended his sister’s wedding. He may have died, aged 64 years, at Thebarton West in 1921.
  • Robert Mullis (1858-1884) was born in Willunga. He died, aged 26, in Willunga and is buried in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.
  • Henry (“Harry”) (1861-1911) was born in Willunga and married Margaret Ann McBurney (1862-1942) on 13 October 1886 at the residence of the late Joseph McBurney in Aldinga. They had eight children. Harry was a stonemason and builder at Willunga. He died in Willunga and is buried in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery.
  • Elizabeth (1869-1940) was born in Willunga and married Richard Marshall (1839-1923) at the residence of George Richards at Southwark, SA, on 3 July 1906. They had one daughter who died at Henley Beach, SA.

John Richards senior (28), his wife Mary (31) and their two sons, William (5) and infant John junior arrived in Adelaide on October 24, 1854 aboard the ship Emigrant. He was described as a carpenter and, later, as a builder. After the family settled in Willunga in about 1856, John and his growing family lived in a handsome, two-storey house and workshop located at 15 Aldinga Road, in section 257. John had significant land interests throughout South Australia. In the Willunga District, he held sections 247, 257 and 268.

John (senior) and later, from about 1875, his son, William, became respected builders in Willunga, erecting many of the public buildings, including the Church of England Parish Hall, the Methodist Hall and the Willunga Public School. John was involved with the Loyal Willunga Lodge, Independent Order of Fellows (IOOF) Manchester Unity, becoming a trustee for the Oddfellows Hall from 1873 until his death.

His son, John Richards (junior), died in 1886 and left the Richards general store at 22 High Street to his mother, Mary. She owned and operated the store for three years until her death aged 66 years, on 12 August 1889.

John Richards senior, aged 72 years, died on 21 February 1898 at Willunga. Both John and Mary are buried in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
  • SAILIS CT 108/86 CT 167/58 & CT 108/60
  • Evening Journal 16 Oct 1886:4
  • The Express and Telegraph 16 Aug 1888:2
  • South Australian Register 23 Feb 1898:4
  • South Australian Register 25 Feb 1898:6
  • The Register 11 July 1906:4
(Former) Shop, 15 Aldinga Road
(Former) Shop, 15 Aldinga Road

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