Thursday, March 23, 2017

Williams of Little Para and Little Para Freestone Quarry


Williams of Little Para

Thomas James Williams was born at Totenham, England on 22 May  and arrived on the ship Augustus Captain Hart on October 16, 1845.  He built the Old Spot Hotel in 1849 and lived there until a few weeks before his death in June 1899. 
He married Tabitha Bailey and had eleven children, many of them dying young and are buried in the Little Para Wesleyan cemetery.

Richard Thomas            1853 – 1855
Helen Mary (Nellie)       1856 – 1946
Albert                          1854 - 1864        buried Little Para Wesleyan
Richard William            1860 – 1860       7 months buried Little Para Wesleyan
Thomas George            1860 – 1860       2 months            buried Little Para Wesleyan
William James              1861 – 1944
Frank Bailey                 1863 – 1912
Robert Knowles            1865 - 1865        3 years buried Little Para Wesleyan
Ernest Alfred                1869 – 1945
Henry                           1873 – 1873       3 weeks buried Little Para Wesleyan
Amy Blanche Adeline    1874 – 1933
He was an active supporter of the Munno Para East Cricket Club and had a large orangery with over 550 trees which he proudly showed off to visitors.  

The Little Para freestone quarries which had lain dormant for many years was re-opened by Thomas Williams, in 1893.  Mr. David Morney Sayers, of Comstock Chambers, was appointed manager. 
In 1893 Thomas organised a party to visit the place. Among the party were several architects and contractors, who were well able to pass an opinion upon the quality and nature of the stone. They were unanimous in expressing unqualified  satisfaction at what they saw.

There were four quarries, No. 1 quarry, contained dark freestone; No. 2, chocolate freestone; No. 3, white freestone; and No. 4, natural white faces. Orders were being received by Mr. Sayers daily both for white and dark stone for buildings.  The stone was used in the SA Insurance Office and additions to the Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide.   The brown quarry was opened in the 1860 and stone used in the building of the Little Para bridge.  
The quarry stone was made into coinings for graveyard railings and also for basements of tombstones.   The white stone quarry located further up the gully and was of a very high quality.
Thomas’ son Frank Bailey took over as quarryman carrying on the business.

Thomas is believed to be buried at the buried North Road cemetery. 
 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Whitford family of Little Para


Two members of the Whitford family lie buried in the Little Para Weslyan cemetery at Hillbank.
Henry Whitford died 6th August 1889 at his residence on the Little Para aged 84 years.  He was born 23 August 1805 in Cornwall.  He married Ann Curra on 1 January 1829.  Ann was aged 75 when she passed away in 1879.
On Henry's arrival and the family probably made their way to Burra. Henry started work as a teamster transporting ore from Burra Mines in the Mid-North to Port Adelaide. Henry's daughter, Maria married a miner, James Pearce at Kooringa in 1850. By 1864 Maria and James had moved to Kadina.
Henry was one of the original trustees of Little Para chapel. According to the chapel's Cemetery Lease Book, his sons John and William were curators of the Little Para cemetery
At 75 years of age, Henry's wife, Ann died on 5th January, 1879 and was buried at the western side of the chapel, near her son. William's headstone read: In Affectanate (sic) Remembrance of William Whitford Who Departed this Life February 17 1875 aged 42 years. The Lord Gave and the Lord Taketh Away Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

Incredibly, aged 74, Henry married secondly, 26 year old Elizabeth (nee Black) in 1879. Henry adopted four year old Margaret Fountain, Elizabeth's daughter by John James Fountain. Henry's son, Henry Lilley Whitford was born to the couple in 1880, then Eliza Ann Whitford in 1886, in Henry's 81st year. His new lease on life must have proved too much for him and he died in 1889 and was also buried at the Little Para Cemetery.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Little Para Wesleyan Cemetery

On Williams Road, Hillbank, lies the remains of the Little Para Wesleyan Cemetery and chapel.

The small cemetery situated on section 3092 originally belonged to the Wesleyan Methodists from the Gawler circuit.  The chapel was built in 1857 on land originally owned by Thomas Williams.  The church was demolished in 1902.  The chapel served the needs of the small settlement on the Little Para around the Old Spot hotel.  Unfortunately we have no photograph or drawing of the chapel.

Amongst the burials are members of the Goodman, Watts, Chapman, Billing, Henderson, Matthew and Williams families. The first burial recorded was that of Lydia Tippett aged 4 months on the 2 October 1860.    We have a record of 37 individuals buried on site, the last burial occurred in 1899. Remains of the Williams family underground burial vault can still be seen.

The land that once held the chapel is now part of a housing estate and the cemetery has been incorporated into a park.  No legible headstones remain.

The Burial register is held at the Uniting Church Archives.

Entrance to cemetery
 
William's family vault