Dowty’s Cottage, 41 Aldinga Road, Willunga.

Also known as Alderbury Cottage.

A pug and stone cottage was erected for Henry Dowty in 1853 by local builder George Sara. It was originally a four room cottage with a slate roof, and it was the Dowty family home for over 90 years.

Henry Dowty was a farm labourer who migrated to SA in 1849 and married Hannah Window in 1855. They called their cottage Alderbury after his home town in England. In the 1860s they opened Dowty’s General Store in the eastern end of their cottage. Henry Dowty was a Trustee of the Willunga Wesleyan Methodist Chapel where he and his family were active workers throughout their lives.

After Henry died in 1875, Hannah continued running the general store. When she died in 1906, it was continued by her daughters Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Alice. The store closed in 1941 after Elizabeth died.

Alice and Elizabeth were well-known identities in Willunga. Children loved shopping for sweet treats in the shop, where a highlight of the visit was the sisters’ pet cockatoo who lived for 58 years. Both sisters were experts in the art of crochet. They were long-serving Sunday School teachers as well as enthusiastic helpers at Church functions, strawberry fetes and the like.

The cottage was sold in 1944 to May and Clarence James De Caux. May was the custodian of the district’s history and worked tirelessly to maintain a large collection of photos and family information for the Willunga National Trust. In 1952 the cottage was sold to Mrs. Sinclair.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5470)

References:

R Baxendale & F Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust Willunga 2010 (1989),
F Lush The Dowty Family and Willunga Methodist Church in D Surnames folder Willunga Courthouse.

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