House and Oak Tree, 22 St Georges Street, Willunga

Lot 148 (22 St Georges Street) was first owned by Cornishman Richard Polkinghorne. With his wife and four children, he had arrived in South Australia on 21 May 1849 on the ship Pakenham. They settled in Willunga soon after.

The building is a large brick and stone 8-roomed house and some sections of the house were built in the early 1850s. This was probably after Polkinghorne arrived back in SA in 1852 with £700 after ten weeks in the Victorian goldfields.

The English oak tree at the front of the block was planted by Richard Polkinghorne in the mid 1850s. In June 2015 it was added to NTSA’s Significant Tree Register as having Local Significance.

Richard Polkinghorne ran pigs on the surrounding land and had a butcher’s shop on the side of the house, together with a slaughterhouse nearby. He exhibited the most successful collection of pigs at Willunga Agricultural Show in 1866.

The house was bought by John Robert Percy Male in 1891. He was a quarryman and his wife Elizabeth was the district nurse and midwife and many of the town’s babies were born here. George Sara built an addition to the eastern end of the home and he lived here under Elizabeth’s care until his death in 1914, aged 100 years.

Rose Foreman bought the property in 1937 and she transferred it to her daughter Alma Foreman in 1949. Alma (known as Ruth) lived here with her three children (Brian, Dorothy and David Barry) until she died in 1975. They milked a few dairy cows, raised calves and sold butter and eggs. Alma was also a dressmaker.

Note: on the opposite side of the street a wooden slab shed, at one time used as a milking shed and a fine example of early construction.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5507)

References:

R Baxendale & F Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust Willunga 2010 (1989).
David Barry Foreman Some early Willunga history and a history trace on our childhood home and property February 2006.

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