Colville, John

Date of Birth/Death:


Principal occupation=Sheep farmer and businessman

John Colville was born on 13 December 1813 at Campbelltown, Argyll, Scotland. His parents were John Colville (1775-1832) and Martha McMurchy (1778-1856). He married Harriet Margaret Arthur (1817-1893) in 1839 at Campbelltown. They lived at Ballygroggan, Scotland before emigrating to South Australia. Religion – Presbyterian, Church of England. John Coville arrived, aged 25 years, on board Ariadne from Greenock, Scotland on 13 August 1839 with wife Margaret, aged 22 years. Application 4355. Embarkation 2502. Together with his brother Matthew Colville, aged 23 years. Other settlers who became resident on the Aldinga Plains to arrive aboard Ariadne included Duncan Stewart and Mrs Isabella McMillan with her three children. Residence – Adelaide, Unley and Willunga.

John and Matthew Colville are listed on Section 278 on the Arrowsmith Survey of District C undertaken by John McLaren in 1840. They were resident in District C for the 1841 Census and they had an occupation licence in 1842. They were listed as the owners of section 276 to the south-west of the township of Willunga and they imported 1,500 sheep from Scotland to their property on Colville Road that they called Moy Hall. John Colville was appointed as a director of the newly formed South Australian Agricultural and Horticultural Society in May 1844 and he was reappointed in June 1845. He was also active in the Willunga Ploughing matches. In 1846 John and Matthew Colville applied for an occupation licence for the Rivoli Bay district. John Colville may have also been a qualified attorney and he certainly maintained an active involvement in business in the city of Adelaide through the 1840s including acting as a special juror in 1849. In 1850 and 1853 John and Matthew Colville paid rates on sections 275 (80 acres) and 276 (76 acres, house). Then in the years between 1855 and 1858, they paid rates on sections 275 (80 acres), 276 (76 acres, house), 302 (80 acres) and 755 (120 acres). This parcel of 356 acres of land lies on the Aldinga Plains to the south and west of Willunga South.

John and Margaret Colville had six children (4 sons and 2 daughters):

  • John (1840-1855) born at Carrington Street, Adelaide, died at Willunga, aged 15 years, buried at St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga
  • James Arthur (1842-1904) married Ellen Atkinson (daughter of Joseph Atkinson) on 5 June 1877 at St Stephen’s Parsonage, Willunga
  • Martha Jane (1844-1929 ) born at Willunga, unmarried, died at St Peters
  • Janet (1847-1899) born at Mount Barker, unmarried, died at Parkside
  • David (1850-1884) born at Willunga, unmarried, died at Yorketown, buried at St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga
  • John William (1856- ) born at Willunga, married 1st Florence Ada Landseer 12 April 1883 at Christ Church, Strathalbyn; 2nd Blanche Rose Landseer on 11 May 1893 at Stow Memorial Church, Adelaide – he was a widow at his second marriage to his late wife’s sister

John Colville, aged 45 years, died on 13 April 1859 at Willunga and he is buried at St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga. John’s oldest surviving son, James Arthur Colville, appears to have inherited sections 275 and 276, at least. His youngest son John William Colville was an accountant. Margaret Colville died on 30 November 1893 and she is buried at St Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Willunga. She left her estate to her children.


Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum,

Genealogy SA,

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

Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum,

South Australia Census 1841, Index for GRG 24/13 Census Returns – 1841 Census

FamilySearch – Returns of Census compiled in January 1841 GRG24/13

Family Histories. C. Manuscript folder held by the National Trust (Willunga Branch). Blue folder 40-4,

Statton J. (ed) 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. SAGHS.

“Australia, South Australia, Will and Probate Records”, FamilySearch Entry for John Colville, 17 May 1859.

Extracts from SA General Registry Office (GRO) Information, COLVILLE, John farmer near Willunga, died c1859. His estate to his wife, Margaret nee ARTHUR, ‘having the fullest confidence that she will do her duty to our children’ Enrolment 85/39

1840 ‘Family Notices’, Southern Australian, 23 April, p. 3. ,

1841, South Australian Register, 17 July, p. 4. , [Official Returns of the Country Sections]

1842 ‘RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT.’, Southern Australian, 15 July, p. 2. ,

1842 ‘Advertising’, Southern Australian, 30 December, p. 1. ,

1844 ‘AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.’, South Australian Register, 25 May, p. 3. ,

1844 ‘Family Notices’, South Australian Register, 10 August, p. 3. ,

1845 ‘Advertising’, South Australian, 17 June, p. 2. , [South Australian Agricultural Society]

1846 ‘Tuesday, 26th May.’, Adelaide Observer, 30 May, p. 2. ,

1848 ‘WILLUNGA PLOUGHING MATCH.’, Adelaide Observer, 15 July, p. 1. ,

1855 ‘Family Notices’, Adelaide Observer, 28 April, p. 4. , [Eldest son John]

1884 ‘COUNTRY TELEGRAMS.’, The South Australian Advertiser, 18 August, p. 6. , [David Colville]

“Australia, South Australia, Probate Case Files, 1849-1935”, , FamilySearch(, Margaret Colville, 1894.

FlickrID=34005004226 – John Colville’s tombstone, St Stephen’s cemetery, Willunga

St Stephen’s Church of England, Willunga. Photo from Mark Staniforth.

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