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National Trust of South Australia


Thomas, William Tyrick

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1826
Place of birth Redruth, Cornwall, England
Date of arrival 1851
Principal occupation Farmer
Date of death 1855
Place of decease Willunga

William Tyrick Thomas was born in 1826 in Redruth, Cornwall. He was the son of James Thomas (1793-1864) and Mary Tyracke (1794-1884).

William, aged 23 years, married Mary Ann Holman (1829-1904) in January 1849 in Redruth, Cornwall. They had three children:

  • Elizabeth Pearce (1849-1912) was born in Devon. She married William Waye (1847-1878) on 15 July 1868 at the residence of her mother, Mary Watters, in Willunga. They had five children. Elizabeth died at McLaren Vale.
  • William Wilfred (1852-1900) was born in Adelaide. He married Mary (Catherine) Kolges (1864-1957) on 20 January 1882 at Hillston, NSW. They had four children. William died at Granville, NSW.
  • Mary (1853-1932) was born in Adelaide. She married Martin Owen Vallentine (1838-1907) on 6 November 1871 at the residence of William Waye, Willunga. They had four children. Mary died at Adelaide.

William (24), Mary (22) and their infant daughter, Elizabeth (2), emigrated to South Australia aboard Marion. Near the end of the voyage, on 2 August 1851, the ship ran ashore on the Troubridge shoals and the passengers had to be rescued.

On arrival, William was described as a miner but, by 1853, he had received a land grant and was farming on section 260, located to the west of the Willunga township. Unfortunately he employed a farm hand, called William Smith, who slept in their kitchen. Smith stabbed 29 year old William Thomas to death in a drunken rage on 24 January 1855. Smith was captured, tried and convicted of manslaughter. He was sentenced to penal servitude for the rest of his natural life but, with credits, he served only ten years.

A short time after William’s death, 26 year old Mary remarried, to her cousin, 31 year old William Watters junior (1824-1879), on 12 July 1855 at the Pirie Street Chapel, Adelaide.


  • 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
  • South Australian Register 27 Jan 1855:3
  • South Australian Register 21 March 1855:3
  • Adelaide Observer 24 Nov 1855:8
  • Adelaide Times 5 March 1856:3

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