Castle, James

Date of Birth/Death:


James Castle –  Hotelier and businessman

James Castle was born at Sutton, St Edmunds, England. He arrived in SA on the ship Forfarshire in February 1848. James married Mary Allen on 25 April 1850 in Adelaide. He started his business life modestly as a shoemaker in Willunga. Around 1852 he built and opened the single-storey Castle’s General Store, 3 High Street, Cypress General Store at 3 High Street in Willunga. After 14 years he expanded his interests by taking over the first Old Bush Inn in Willunga where he was the licensee from 10 December 1866 to 8 June 1868.

In another expansion, James Castle built and opened the Willunga Hotel at 5 High Street next door to his store. He was the first licensee from 24 November 1868 to 12 June 1871. After 18 years in Willunga as storekeeper, auctioneer and hotelier, James Castle decided to move to the city. He advertised the Cypress Store for lease in 1870 and it was subsequently sold to the Goode Brothers, William and Henry Abel who added the top storey.

The Goode Bros General Store traded for about 80 years until the business was sold in 1950. The Store is now the dining room of the Willunga Hotel. After moving from Willunga, James Castle became the licensee of the White Hart Hotel in Hindley Street in Adelaide from 12 June 1871 to 11 December 1871. He then moved to the Lady Ferguson Hotel in Currie Street, Adelaide from 9 September 1872 to 11 March 1873. He ran a business at Maylands from 1887 until his death in 1910.

James Castle was survived by five sons (John Castle of Parkside, W J Castle of Adelaide, Thomas Castle of Victoria, Edward Castle of Western Australia, and C E Castle of Prospect).


Further research provided by Paul Castle (10 December 2012):


James Castle, born in 1827 and christened at Sutton St Edmund, Lincolnshire, England on May 7, 1827, the 6th of 10 children of John Castle (farmer of 11 acres) and his wife Mary Moore. Arrived in South Australia (Port Adelaide) on 1 August 1848 on board the three masted ship Forfarshire, from London and Plymouth after 97 days at sea. Possibly arrived in Willunga some time during 1849. The Southern Vales area attracted a number of migrants from Lincolnshire. (Willunga is 60 kilometres South of Adelaide) Married Mary Allen on 25 April 1850 in Adelaide (She was possibly a daughter of prominent Willunga citizen John Allen). Their marriage certificate describes James as a Shoemaker.

Some time around 1850 commenced business in Willunga as a storekeeper (Cypress General Store) at 3 High Street. Some elderly residents of Willunga apparently refer to the store as ‘the cobbler’s shop’. Fathered six sons: John Henry born at Willunga on 12 January 1851, William James born at Willunga on 28 January 1857, Edward born at Willunga on 16 May 1860, Thomas born at Willunga on 30 April 1863, George born at Encounter Bay on 7 February 1865, Charles Ernest born at Willunga on 21 June 1870. December 23, 1857, purchased allotment 45 in St Peters Terrace, Willunga for £75 sterling from Sir Henry Webb, Baronet (Reform Club, Pall Mall, London) & Edmund William Jerningham (Pall Mall). February 7 1885 – James 5th Son, George was born at Encounter Bay near Victor Harbor. (We do not know why it happened at this location) March 31, 1866, advertised in the Southern Argus ‘To Let’ the Cypress Store.

Took up licence of the Old Bush Inn on 10 January 1867 (as tenant). 1868, relinquished the Cypress Store, advertisement in local newspaper. The store was subsequently sold to the Goode brothers, William and Henry around 1870. April 18, 1868, Notice in S. A. Chronicle regarding giving up licence of the Old Bush Inn to build “a large hotel, which.will be a great ornament to Willunga”. 7 April 1869, Licence of Old Bush Inn transferred to Paul Hoppo. 4 January 1870, purchased allotment 55 in St Andrews Terrace, Willunga for £55 sterling. April 2 1870 Publican’s Licence for Willunga Hotel renewed. 29 April 1870, purchased allotment number 56 (with house?) from Henry Francis Gepp (unable to pay creditors) for £142 sterling. 11 June 1871, Licence of Willunga Hotel Transferred to William Toleman. (On 9 April 1874, James’ eldest son John Henry Castle married Eliza Toleman in the Willunga Hotel. She was a daughter of the above William Toleman). 12 June 1871, took up licence of the White Hart Hotel in Hindley Street, Adelaide (south side, east corner of Peel Street). He held this licence until 11 December 1871. 9 September 1872 – moved from the White Hart Hotel and took up the licence of the Lady Fergusson Hotel in Currie Street, Adelaide (South side, West corner of North Street). 11 March 1873, Relinquished the licence of the Lady Fergusson Hotel.

In 1874 & 1875, he was living in Morphett Street, Adelaide. In 1877, he was living in Adelaide – Hurtle Square (West side, corner of Halifax Street), and operating a bottling business in Leigh Street, with a partner named Taylor, advertising as ‘Castle & Taylor, sole bottlers of the celebrated Dragon Ales and Porter’ (stout) which was brewed by Chambers and Blades in their Dragon Brewery in South Terrace East. The business also acted as distributor for the bottled product. In 1878, he was living in Grote Street, Adelaide (South side, between Burlington Place and West Terrace, two doors from the Hon. Sir G. S. Kingston MP, who lived on the corner of Grote Street and West Terrace). At this time James was operating a bottling business in Morphett Street – advertising as ‘Castle & Son, sole bottlers of the celebrated Dragon Ales and Porter’ (today porter is known as stout, hence the drink ‘porter-gaf’). This business also acted as distributor for the bottled product.

On 9th June 1879, his second son William took up the Licence of the Willunga Hotel, so it is likely that James maintained ownership of the hotel, but leased it until a son prepared to take on the hotel was of age, William’s marriage certificate shows him as ‘publican, Willunga’). In 1879 James was still living in Grote Street, Adelaide, and apparently still operating as a bottler, possibly with a partner named Taylor. In 1880 he was living in Gouger Street, Adelaide (South side, between Field Street and Lock Terrace), and apparently still operating as a bottler, possibly with a partner named Taylor. In 1881 he was still living in the same residence in Gouger Street and apparently operating as a bottler. In 1881 his son William gave up the licence of the Willunga Hotel. In 1882 James was apparently still living in Gouger Street and operating as a bottler. On 9 July 1882, his wife Mary died at 53 years of age. In 1884 he was living in Sturt Street, Adelaide, South side, on the corner of Liverpool Street and operating as a storekeeper at that address. In 1885 & 1886 he was operating as an ‘agent’ and living in Carrington Street, Adelaide, South side, between Regent Street and Hutt Street. In 1887 he was operating a ham shop at 226 Rundle Street East (North Side), between Tavistock Street and George Street. In late 1887 he opened a store in Magill Road, Maylands (an Eastern suburb of Adelaide), where he stayed until his death on April 26, 1910.

Further information relating to James’ sons: John Henry Castle, born at Willunga on 21 January 1851, Married Eliza Toleman on 9th April 1874 at the Willunga Hotel. They had four children, all born at Truro in South Australia. They were: William James born 13 May 1875, Ernest Edward, born 9 June 1877, Arthur Edwin, born 24 August 1879, and Ada Blanche born 6 December 1881. William James Castle, born at Willunga on 28 January 1857. William married Catherine King on 26 April 1879. They had two children, Effie May born on 21 May 1880 in Willunga and Ernest born 6 September 1882 in Adelaide. On 9 June 1879, William James took up the licence of the Willunga Hotel and held the licence until 1881. Catherine died on 6 August 1903. William subsequently married Elizabeth Anne (Annie) Way on 15 December 1904. She died on 21 September 1965. They had two children, Stanford Norman born 27 April 1906 and Gertrude Mary born after 1907. Edward Castle, born at Willunga on 16 May 1860. Edward apparently moved to Western Australia as a young man. Thomas Castle – born 30 April 1863. Thomas apparently moved to Victoria as a young man. George Castle, born 7 February 1865. On 28 August 1886, George married Mary Ellen Leech in Adelaide. They had five children, all born in Adelaide or suburbs: Adelaide Florence, born 8 December 1886, Violet Maud born 25 February 1889, Georg Herbert (my grandfather) born 23 December 1891, Alfred Edgar, born 6 April 1893 and Ellen Mary (Nell) born 28 August 1897. George Castle was working at a brewery in Walkerville at the time of his death (he drowned in a vat of porter on 20 January 1903). Charles Ernest – born 21 June 1870. Charles Ernest married Blanch Davis on 17 July 1901. They had three children all born in suburbs of Adelaide: Clifton Charles born 23 April 1902, Alwynne Annie born 15 February 1908 and Donald Ernest born 11 October 1916.



1910 ‘PERSONAL.’, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), 30 April, p. 13. , viewed 04 Feb 2024


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