Buckland House, 21 St Lukes St, Willunga.

The land had originally been owned by James Binney who then sold it to Thomas Ferry, labourer, of Willunga for 12 pounds on 12 Sept 1844. Binney had built a cottage on the land before 1844 and then James Bailey Bassett and his wife Ann extended the cottage and called it Buckland House soon after they arrived in Willunga in 1847.

Buckland House was the Bassett family home for over forty years but is most well known as the building in which the first private school in Willunga was opened in 1847. Buckland House Academy taught day pupils and later provided boarding accommodation for children from surrounding districts and even from Adelaide. Although Ann Bassett died in 1851, the school prospered under the guidance of James and his second wife Mary – in 1857 it was recorded that 42 boys were being taught by James and 34 girls by Mary. From 1862

Mary Bassett ran Buckland House in conjunction with the new Bassett Boys Schoolroom next door. It continued as a private school following James Bassett’s death in 1875, with Mary providing private education here until she died in 1889, aged 69 years.

The building then became a private residence. Harry and Bertha Prior owned the house from at least 1915 when Harry was appointed the first Guard on the Willunga to Adelaide Railway. In the late 1920s Bertha Prior was Keeper of the Council Pound next door (at the rear of the old Bassett Boys Schoolroom). Buckland House then became the Ellbourn family home for 60 years until Joyce Ellbourn’s death in 2013.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5286)


Leaflet Celebrating 150 years Bassett Boys School, Deborah Morgan 2012

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