Cottage, 60 High Street, Willunga

This cottage was built in 1868 by Peter McCaffrey, an Irish slate quarryman. After he died in 1884, his widow lived here until her death in 1901. Peter was a slate quarryman who was born in Ireland in about 1830. He arrived in Adelaide on the Omega in 1856 and married Elizabeth Winters. The couple, with their 8 children, lived at 60 High Street from 1869. Peter died in 1884 and is buried in St Joseph’s cemetery.

Patrick Thomas (Tom) Dunn was born in 1908 and lived here from 1948 with his wife, Eileen, and daughter Judith. He bought the house from his mother-in-law (Bertha Louise Small) and it has remained in the Dunn family since then. Tom had attended Willunga Public school and, from 1915 worked as a wood cutter and carter, using a trolley with 6 horses. When working at the top of Willunga Hill, the carters drove two 6 ton loads of wood a day to trucks, and later, trains, in Willunga. At times, they carted from the Meadows mill, bringing one load a day to Willunga for use in the Broken Hill mines. During the Depression of the 1930s, Tom turned to cutting wood for Goldfinch’s, who would cart the wood directly to Adelaide with a motor lorry. After Tom’s death, his daughter Judith continued to live in the cottage.

Since renovations in 1952, only five original pug walls remain from the McCaffrey cottage. The pear and almond trees from Peter McCaffrey’s garden remain near the cottage. The cottage was sold in 2024, ending over 76 years of ownership by the Dunn family.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5487)

References:

Ruth Baxendale and Faye Lush Willunga Walks 2010 (1989).
Tom Dunn Recollections Willunga District Library Service Local History Collection Interview March 1988. Willunga National Trust – papers and documents available at the Willunga Courthouse

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