Chambers, Moses

Date of Birth/Death:


Principal occupation=Farmer, butcher

Moses Chambers was born in 1828 in Waddington, Lincolnshire and arrived in South Australia in May 1851 on the ship Catherine. In 1853 he married Mary Ann Illman at the home of John Illman and, during the following 21 years, they had a family of 9 children:

  • John, born 14 July 1854, registered Adelaide district; died at Claremont, Western Australia in 1929 (surname registered as Chamber). Unclear if he married.
  • Thomas born 22 December 1856 at McLaren Flat, married Ester Ann Martin at the Wesleyan Church, Jamestown on 12 March 1879
  • Sophia born 3 April 1859 at Willunga, married Frederick George Hunt on 10 July 1879 at the residence of Moses Chambers, Willowie
  • Moses born 30 November 1860 at Willunga, married Elizabeth Nicholls at the bride’s father’s residence (James Nicholls), Booleroo
  • Mary Ann born 23 December 1862 at McLaren Vale, married Henry Rist on 26 November 1890 at the residence of Thomas Chambers, Nailsworth, the bride’s brother
  • Harry Robert born 1 June 1865 at McLaren Vale, married Kate Emily Nicholls 24 November 1892 at the residence of James Nicholls, Booleroo
  • Eliza Jane born 13 June 1867 at McLaren Vale, married William Andrews Bainger on 3 November 1915 at the Methodist Manse, Payneham
  • Alfred born 18 November 1870 at McLaren Vale, married Elizabeth Jane (Jennie) Graham at Hopetoun, Western Australia on 15 January 1905
  • Arthur Sydney born 28 July 1873 at McLaren Vale, married Rose Elizabeth Carwardine at the Baptist Church, Ravensthorpe, Western Australia on 11 June 1905

Moses was noted as a ‘farm labourer’ in 1852 and ratepayer lists indicate that, between 1856 and 1858, he was paying rates on 40 acres of land on the south-west corner of Strout and Rifle Range Roads at Bethany, near Willunga (Section 448). They show that in 1869, he started paying rates on 240 acres of land across Strout Road (Sections 453, 458 and 464). In 1870 he was paying rates for the first time for a house on Section 453. Interestingly the Chambers family history recalls that Moses built a cob house on this block in 1853. Moses, a butcher as well as a farmer, used his land to supply stock to Kither’s Wholesale Butchers in Adelaide.

Moses was a Wesleyan lay preacher, class leader and Sunday School teacher. He was one of the trustees listed on the Wesleyan Methodist Society’s Bethany Church and Cemetery land acquisition. They bought half an acre of Section 457 on 21 July 1852. He delivered an address at the opening of the Primitive Methodist Church on Strout Road in 1861. Moses was also an active member of the Willunga community and served as a member and later Chair of the District Council. With the opening of farm land in the north in 1876 and, possibly, Kithers’ encouragement to increase his stock production, the family left Willunga to take up 640 acres of land near Boolero Whim, where he farmed for 25 years. ”Here there were hard and rough experiences, characteristic of new lands, and Mr. Chambers met a long succession of droughty years.”

At his death in 1892, Moses was remembered as ‘one of the makers of Methodism’ who preached for 40 years. ”He loved the Sunday school, and the children loved him”. A friend, Rev J Blacket, called him ”a happy and hospitable character, one of the ‘striking personalities’ in the Methodist Church…Brother Chambers not only had a radiant spirit, but was a splendid conversationalist. In his presence one could not be dull…The debt that Methodism owes to men of his stamp is incalculable. Can ministers of the Old Body ever forget Moses Chambers as Conference representative. I fancy I see him now, standing up in Pirie street Church grasping the back of one of the pews with his two hands, with one leg partly disabled through an accident. I fancy I hear his loud and emphatic “Mr. President!” as he prepares to deliver his soul on the Work of God in the Methodist Church. There was always a spirit of expectancy in the Methodist Conference when Moses Chambers rose to speak. There were times when the Conference was carried away by merriment caused by his apt but laughter-provoking sentences. Humour with him was a natural gift, and very serviceable, not only at Conference time, but at public meetings. He was a man who had few educational advantages, but possessed considerable natural ability. ‘Readiness’ was a striking feature in his mental makeup. At one Conference a home mission meeting had to be partly extemporised. The late Rev. J. B. Stephenson, at the eleventh hour, asked Brother Chambers to speak. His address was one of the best of the evening”.

Moses Chambers died 6 November 1892 at Kither Park, Willowie. His wife Mary Ann Chambers died 27 April 1919 at Kensington Park at the home of her son-in-law Henry Rist.




Genealogy SA,

‘Bethany Church and Cemetery Land Acquisition’ Willunga Courthouse Collection, Willunga National Trust

Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888, Willunga National Trust Branch

Chambers, Win 1995, Pioneering at Ravensthorpe: the Chambers story 1900 to 1993, W. Chambers, Ravensthorpe, W.A, pp15, 20 & 21

1851 ‘SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.’, Adelaide Times, 27 May, p. 2. ,

1853 ‘Family Notices’, South Australian Register, 26 October, p. 2. ,

1864 ‘DISTRICT COUNCILS.’, Adelaide Observer, 30 April, p. 2.

1868 ‘THE FARMING INTEREST. MEETING AT WILLUNGA.’, The Express and Telegraph, 27 January, p. 3.,

1870 ‘WILLUNGA.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 16 July, p. 8. ,

1875 ‘Advertising’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 24 April, p. 2. , [One Pound Reward. – Lost]

1875 ‘WILLUNGA.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 17 July, p. 18. ,

1876 ‘AGRICULTURAL LAND SELECTIONS.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 8 April, p. 19. ,

1878 ‘THE GOVERNMENT GAZETTE.’, Evening Journal, 2 August, p. 3.,

1888 ‘COUNTRY CORRESPONDENCE.’, South Australian Register, 21 June, p. 7. ,

1889 ‘Correspondence.’, Burra Record, 17 May, p. 2. ,

1891 ‘Family Notices’, Evening Journal, 7 January, p. 2.,

1902 ‘A MAN FOUND DEAD.’, The Register, 12 November, p. 6. , [Booleroo Whim}

1902 ‘Family Notices’, Evening Journal, 12 November, p. 1.,

1902 ‘Church Triumphant.’, Australian Christian Commonwealth, 12 December, p. 5. , [Moses Chambers]

1903 ‘MOSES CHAMBERS.’, Australian Christian Commonwealth, 9 January, p. 13. ,

1903 ‘No title’, The Register, 16 January, p. 8. , [Bagot, Shakes re Farm Sale]

1905 ‘Family Notices’, Evening Journal, 26 July, p. 1. ,

1918 ‘EARLY METHODISM.’, Australian Christian Commonwealth, 6 December, p. 6. ,

1919 ‘Family Notices’, Observer, 3 May, p. 26. ,

1919 ‘AN OLD COLONIST.’, The Express and Telegraph, 7 May, p. 1.,

Papers and documents in Willunga Courthouse Collection held at the Willunga Courthouse


33400245673 = Moses Chambers, Courtesy C Barrett. Willunga National Trust: ref 40-3

34053626602 = Mary Ann Chambers, Courtesy C Barrett. Willunga National Trust: ref 40-3-6b

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