Atkinson, William

Date of Birth/Death:


William Atkinson – farmer, pastoralist, publican, builder and building materials supplier.

William Atkinson was born on 14 March 1814, the oldest surviving son of Robert Atkinson (1774-1832) and Susanna(h) Fish (1788-1832) of Hayes Farm, Smitherby, Lincolnshire. He took over the family farm, aged 18 years, when his parents died in 1832. Religion – Church of England.

William, aged 21 years, married Mary Wray (1817-1891), aged 18 years, on 21 September 1835 at St Mary Church in Waddingham in Lincolnshire, England. They had four children including two daughters: Catherine (b.1836) and Ann (b.1840).

The four Atkinson brothers (William, Robert, Thomas and Joseph), their sisters Bridget and Susanna and their cousin Richard Hill, some with their families, travelled to South Australia on board Singapore from London. They arrived at Holdfast Bay on 12 November 1839, William was then aged 25 years. About six weeks after arrival William Atkinson of Hindley Street purchased section 276 in the Hundred of Willunga on 31 Dec 1839 by means of Land Order 1034 (purchased in England and dated 28 June 1839).

The Atkinson brothers built the first hotel (Lincolnshire House later The Bush Inn) on lots 6 and 7 in the township of Willunga by Dec 1839. In June 1840 William Atkinson was advertising bricks for sale at Willunga and by October 1840 he was advertising to sell bricks, slates and sawn timber.

William, aged just 26 years, died in November 1840. He was one of the first adult British settlers to die in the Willunga district but to date no record of the circumstances of his death has been found.

William’s widow Mrs Mary Atkinson and her two daughters – Catherine (1836-1900) and Ann (1840-1873) sailed from Port Adelaide on 7 May 1842 to return to London on board the barque Caleb Angas, Captain Poole.


England, Select Births and Christenings 1538-1975.
South Australian Deaths Index of Registrations 1842-1915.
Willunga National Trust Blue Folder – Family Histories Vol. 40-1 A,B
Statton, J. 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. William Atkinson – Vol I. p.43.
Linn, R. Cradle of Adversity. pp: 38.
1840 ‘Advertising‘, South Australian Register 27 June, p. 4. , viewed 24 Dec 2023,
1840 ‘Advertising‘, South Australian Register 31 October, p. 4. , viewed 24 Dec 2023,

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