Atkinson, Joseph

Date of Birth/Death:


Joseph Atkinson – Carrier, farmer and horse-breeder

Joseph Atkinson was born on 7 July 1824 at Waddingham, Lincolnshire, England. He was the youngest surviving son of Robert Atkinson (1774-1832) and Susanna(h) Fish (1788-1832) of Hayes Farm, Smitherby. He was only 8 when both his parents died in 1832. The family were members of the Church of England.

The four Atkinson brothers (William, Robert, Thomas, and Joseph) and their sisters Bridget (formerly Hall, m. Thomas Martin), and Susanna (m. James Holman), some with their families, travelled to South Australia on board Singapore from London. They arrived at Holdfast Bay on 12 November 1839, Joseph was then aged 15 years.

On 25 April 1850, Joseph married Elizabeth Gidley Clift (daughter of John Clift of McLaren Vale) at St. Stephen’s Church in Willunga . They had 12 children (4 sons and 8 daughters – 3 died as infants):

  • Susannah Ann Atkins (1851-1932), b. at Willunga, m. Thomas Marshall (1849-1909) on 10 April 1875 at the Willunga Wesleyan Chapel, Willunga, 9 children, d. at Adelaide.
  • William (1853-1924), b. at Willunga, m. Elizabeth Jane Lunn Tamblyn on 24 June 1879, 3 children, publican, d. at Glenelg.
  • Ellen (1855-1895), b. at Willunga, m. James Arthur Colville (1842- ), 3 children, d. at Parkside.
  • Catherine (1857-1919) b. at Willunga, m. Stephen Holman Watters(1855-1925) on 27 Aug 1879 at Willunga, 2 children, d. at Narrandera, NSW.
  • Ann (1859-1903) b. at Willunga, m. William McMurray(1858- ), 7 children, d. at Croyden.
  • Thomas (1860-1861) b. & d. at Willunga as an infant.
  • Harriet Louisa (1863-1958) b. at Willunga, m. Richard Bigg (1860-1941) 3 children, d. at Monash, SA.
  • Mary Elizabeth (1866-1889) b. at Willunga, m. Bernard McCarron (1860- ), d. at North Adelaide
  • John (1869-1869) b. & d. at Willunga as an infant.
  • Alice Jane (1870-1938) b. at Willunga, m. John Benjamin Noble(1858-1926) d. at Grange in 1912.
  • Robert Joseph (1873-1875) b. & d. at Willunga as an infant.
  • Elsie Beatrice (1876-1891) b. at Willunga, d. at Port Pirie.

The Atkinson brothers built the first hotel (Lincolnshire House later Old Bush Inn) on lots 6 and 7 in the township of Willunga in December 1839. Joseph and his brother Thomas jointly purchased eighty acres (Lot 235) for 80 pounds and one shilling in the Government Land Sale in 1847. Joseph went on to be a farmer and horse breeder. He owned section 236 in the Hundred of Willunga. He may have become insolvent (Insolvency PRO number 1131). In 1848 and 1849 he competed in the three yoke Bullock Ploughing event at the Willunga Annual Ploughing Match. In 1859 Joseph was involved in a court case as a result of one of his horses, a gelding worth 50 pounds, being stabbed to death with a pitchfork.

Joseph, aged 54 years, died on 25 September 1878 and he is buried in St. Stephen’s Anglican cemetery at Willunga.


South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
South Australian Deaths Index of Registrations 1842-1915
South Australian Marriages Index of Registrations 1842-1916
Willunga National Trust Blue Folder – Family Histories Vol. 40-1 A,B
Statton, J. 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885
Passengers in History – South Australian Maritime Museum
Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
Insolvency PRO number 1131
SAILIS (online)
Ancestry (online)
SA Genealogy database (online)
1846 ‘LAW AND POLICE COURTS‘, Adelaide Observer 4 April, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
1847 ‘LOCAL INTELLIGENCE‘, South Australian Register 6 January, p. 2. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
1848 ‘WILLUNGA PLOUGHING MATCH‘, South Australian Register 15 July, p. 6. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
1859 ‘SUPREME COURT— CRIMINAL SITTINGS‘, The South Australian Advertiser 11 May, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
1878 ‘Family Notices‘, The South Australian Advertiser 26 September, p. 4. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
1878 ‘Advertising‘, South Australian Register 14 November, p. 2. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,

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