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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Richards, William Frederick (Corporal)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1825
Place of birth Cornwall
Date of arrival 1840
Principal occupation Constable
Date of death 1893
Place of decease Gawler

William Frederick Richards was a police constable who was stationed at Willunga from around 1854 to 1856. He was the second son of William and Esther Richards. The family lived in Penzance in Cornwall until they decided to emigrate to South Australia. Unfortunately, the ship in which they travelled was Java, and William (father) is known for the journal he wrote detailing the privations and deaths that happened on the 1840 voyage. William Frederick was around 16 years of age at the time.

In South Australia, William Frederick became a tailor trading out of Angaston. He then joined the Mounted Police and served in Gawler. He also served on the Gold Escort to Victoria. He was then transferred to Willunga where he was promoted to Corporal on February 1, 1854. William was made the bailiff of the Willunga Court in Februrary 1856. After serving for over 2 years there with Mounted Constable John Shaw and possibly Mounted Constable Ralph Coote, he was posted once against to Gawler. He later left the police force and became a baker. William married Sarah Jane Keates at the Chapel, Bentham St, Adelaide on 8 August 1858. William Frederick and Sarah had 9 children: Laura Jane (b. 1859), Caroline Sara (b. 1861), William Frederick (b. 1863), Ada Workman (b. 1865), Louisa Esther (b. 1868), Frederick Francis Watts (b. 1870), Elizabeth Emily (b. 1872), Ernest Alfred (b. 1874) and Elisia Oliver (b. 1877).

William was also an excellent violinist and organised concerts, including the “Admella Shipwreck and Relief Fund benefit concert” in 1859 in Gawler. He was the the first violinist in a performance of Handel’s Messiah, which was the first presentation of that piece in Australia. William died on 24 September 1893.


  • State Library of South Australia search Richards Family
  • Accounts of Willunga Court from 1/1/1854 to 31/12/1856.

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