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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Self's Cottage 5 St Peters Terrace

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Fast Facts
Address: 5 St Peters Tce
Town or Locality: Willunga
Year constructed: c. 1840
Used for: Family home
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"{{{Site type}}}" is not in the list of possible values (Land section, Landmark, Natural feature) for this property.

This early red brick cottage is set directly against the footpath and shares an aged pepper tree with its neighbour. Both are built of Atkinson's locally made bricks and date from the 1840s. Together they maintain the early streetscape character of the terrace.

Charles Self, a bricklayer, plasterer and stone-mason was an early occupant of this cottage. With his wife Mary and young son Charles he migrated to South Australia from Suffolk in 1838. In later years, life was difficult - he died in 1876 after admission to the Adelaide Destitute Asylum and was buried as a pauper in West Tce Cemetery.

His son Charles Jnr was a stone-mason in Willunga. He and his wife Jane had 8 children including Fred (Charles Frederick) born in 1864. Self’s Cottage was home to Fred, his two brothers and their younger sister Alice, until the 1940s. It was then home to Michael and Eileen Rhatigan for a number of years.

Fred Self was a much-loved and well-known identity in Willunga. He was verger, grave-digger and bell-ringer for St Stephens Church of England and also the 'boots' at the Alma Hotel.

In 1935 it was reported that Fred had tolled the Church bell for 55 years, had never been on a train and had not been to Adelaide since 1887. Had there not been a Russian scare he might never have visited the city. As it was he remained in the Army camp for only a short while before returning home.

The only time Fred missed tolling the bell was when peace was declared at the end of the First World War when somebody reached the church before him, much to his annoyance. It was reported that as grave-digger he had seen 374 persons go to their rest in the cemetery.

The habit of staying in one place apparently ran in the family as Fred’s sister Alice visited Adelaide for the first time in 1935, at the age of 60. Fred died in 1939, aged 74 years. For many years his photograph was prominently displayed in the Alma Hotel.


  • Ruth Baxendale & Faye Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust 2010
  • The News Monday 17 June 1935 page 4.
Fred Self, Willunga, ca 1930.
Fred Self, Willunga, ca 1930.
Self's Cottage, 5 St Peters Terrace
Self's Cottage, 5 St Peters Terrace
Fred Self, c 1930.
Fred Self, c 1930.

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