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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Welchford family

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Fast Facts
Type of person Family
Date of birth c. 1911
Place of birth Dorset?
Date of arrival 1855
Principal occupation Quarryman
Date of death 1894
Place of decease Willunga

John and Fanny Welchford arrived from Dorset in August 1855 on the “South Sea”. John was a 44-year-old quarryman. His wife Fanny was 41 years old. Travelling with them were their 5 children: Jane (20), Emily Cathleen (17), Anne/Anna (15), George (12), Eliza (7) and Thomas (4).

The family travelled by bullock dray to Willunga where they rented a cottage from Henry Malpas, at 3 St Peters Terrace. This was to be the family home for several generations, possibly until around 1920.

While he was working for Richard Hill in 1856, John Welchford lost part of a finger when a horse shied as he was connecting a chain attaching it to a bullock-dray. Dr Jay removed the remaining part of the finger whilst Welchford was under the influence of chloroform.

The older girls married and settled in their own homes in the area. Sisters Jane and Emily celebrated a double wedding in January 1857 at St Stephen’s Church of England in Willunga:

Jane Welchford married local wheelwright James Waye. They had three sons Edwin, Alfred and Hurtle. Jane died at Willunga in 1894 aged 68 and is buried with her husband in St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery Willunga.

Emily Welchford married Henry Francis Gepp, blacksmith of 22 High Street Willunga. They had seven children. After Henry’s death in July 1871, Emily re married in 1886, to John Thomas. He died in 1917 and Emily died in 1920, aged 84. At that time, she had one surviving son, F W Gepp of the Soldiers’ Land Settlement Department, 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren

Meanwhile, in September 1857, their sister Anne Welchford, aged 20, married Joseph Allen, aged 50. They lived at Aldinga. They had two children Fanny and Tom, born in January 1859 and April 1860 respectively. They separated. Then, in 1873, by license at Port Wakefield, Anna/Hannah Allen (nee Welshford) married Thomas Polkinghorne. They had two children.

Neither of John and Fanny Welchford’s two sons married. Youngest son Thomas died at Willunga in September 1870, aged just 20. He played cricket for the Willunga Cricket Club in the year before he died. Eldest son George Welchford did not marry and died in May 1911 at Glynde, aged 66.

John and Fanny’s youngest daughter Eliza was described in 1860 as being of “rather weak intellect”. In September she had a child named William who died aged only 11 weeks. Her brother-in-law Joseph Allen was found to be responsible and was required by the Court to pay damages of £100 pounds to Eliza's father John Welfchord. Eliza died at Parkside in 1899, aged 51, and was buried in St Stephen’s Cemetery in Willunga where her infant son had been buried in 1860.

Fanny Welchford died in Willunga on 9 March 1865, aged only 52 years. Her headstone in St Stephen's Anglican Cemetery in Willunga reads ‘Afflictions sore long time I bore, physicians were in vain, till God was pleased death should seize, to ease me of my pain’.

John Welchford died in August 1894 aged 83 and is buried with his wife Fanny in the Willunga cemetery, alongside their son Thomas and daughter Eliza. Nearby are the graves of their daughter Jane Waye and her husband James.


  • Chronicle Saturday 27 March 1920 p 31
  • South Australian Register Tuesday 11 June 1861 p 3
  • The South Australian Advertiser Wednesday 13 November 1861 p 3
  • SA Births Marriages Deaths SAGHS
  • Folder 40-20-1 Willunga National Trust.
Welchford, Waye headstones, St Stephen's Cemetery, Willunga
Welchford, Waye headstones, St Stephen's Cemetery, Willunga
St Peters Terrace, Willunga
St Peters Terrace, Willunga
Jane Waye, nee Welchford, headstone. St Stephen's cemetery Willunga
Jane Waye, nee Welchford, headstone. St Stephen's cemetery Willunga

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