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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Watters, William (junior)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1822
Place of birth Crowan, Cornwall, England.
Date of arrival 1847
Principal occupation Farmer and goldminer
Date of departure 1857
Date of death 1879
Place of decease Castlemaine, Vic.

William Watters junior was born on 11 August 1822 at Crowan, Cornwall, England. He was the son of William Watters senior (1800-1872) and Lenora Holman (1800-1875) and twin brother of Samuel Watters (1822-1890). Spelling variants of the surname included Waters and Walters. He was Wesleyan Methodist. Bachelor, William Watters junior (23,) arrived with his father, William Watters senior (48), and mother, Lenora (née Holman) (47), and 3 of his younger siblings - John 17, Joanna 14 and Mary Jane 10 - on 14 April 1848 on board the 540-ton barque Bolton.

William, aged 31 years, married his widowed cousin, Mary Thomas (née Holman) (1829-1904), aged 26 years, at the Pirie Street Chapel, Adelaide on 12 July 1855. She was also born at Crowan, Cornwall and had three children from her marriage to William Tyrick Thomas (1826-1855):

  • 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 and they had five children. She 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, and they had four children. He 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, and they had four children. She died at Adelaide.

Mary became pregnant shortly after being married to William Watters junior and gave birth to twin girls, Johanna and Sally, in early 1856. Unfortunately, both her daughters died within 3 months of their birth. Mary and William Watters had one more child, William, who also did not survive his first year:

  • Johanna (1856-1856) was born and died at Willunga, aged 6 weeks.
  • Sally (1856-1956) was born and died at Willunga, aged 6 weeks.
  • William (1857-1858) was born and died at Willunga, aged 10 months.

William junior was a farmer at Willunga. He and his father, William senior paid £178 for section 743 near Willunga in May 1855. William Watters junior went to the Goldfields in Victoria in February 1857 and never returned. He was believed to be dead by 1863 but he actually died on 13 November 1879 in hospital at Castlemaine and was buried in the Inglewood Cemetery, Victoria.

Having been deserted by William, Mary took up the publican’s license at the Cornwall Inn from 1875 to 1879. Her request to renew the license in 1879 was then rejected on the grounds of lack of accommodation. She paid rates on 2 acres and a public house in section 245 in 1876 and 1877 and a house and garden in the township of Willunga in 1877. Mary Watters lived until June 7, 1904, when she died at her daughter, Elizabeth’s, home in McLaren Vale. Mary Watters (née Holman, formerly Thomas) was buried in the Wesleyan Methodist (Uniting) Church Cemetery in Willunga.


  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • Watters Family History 1691-2007 manuscript held by Willunga National Trust

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