Willunga House, 1 St. Peters Terrace, Willunga

Willunga House at 1 St Peters Terrace, Willunga was home to the Malpas family for more than a century (1849-1957).

In 1849, Henry Malpas purchased Allotments 1, 2 and 3 in section 248 (80 acres) on what would become St Peters Terrace in Willunga from Thomas Smith Kell who had purchased it in the early 1840s from English land speculator Abraham Borrodaile. Malpas built a single-storey shop and residence at what is now 1 St Peters Terrace, which is believed to be the single-storey section on the right-hand side of the current Willunga House building. In October 1849, Henry Malpas was appointed post-master taking over the postal duties from the Willunga mounted police and he served as post-master for nearly ten years (1849-1858). The Willunga Post Office operated as part of Malpas’ general store until 1858 when the mail license was transferred to the new (third) Post Office and Telegraph Station at 62 High Street, opposite the Willunga Courthouse, and Henry Rothwell Pounsett became the post-master.

In the spacious garden Henry built an immense aviary with numerous parrots and canaries. In 1865 the South Australian Weekly Chronicle reported that “Mrs. (Mary Anne) Malpas, at Willunga … was erecting a very imposing house and store at the (old) post-office”. This is believed to be the imposing two-storey residence on the left-hand side of the current Willunga House building. Malpas’ general store traded successfully for many years, surviving a massive fire in 1870 that destroyed the stables, storehouse, harness, carts, stores and haystack, but the residence and store survived. Henry had retired in 1869 but it was still called the Malpas store as late as 1890. The gracious house and large park-like garden were home to two more generations of his descendants. After Henry’s death in 1910, the house and land was owned by his youngest son James Stanley Malpas (1873-1937) until his death and then by James’ nephew Percy Godfrey Malpas (1894-1957) (Percy was the son of Godfrey Malpas and grandson of Henry Malpas) until his death in 1957.

In 1959 Lancelot Western sold the western part of the garden to the Willunga District Council who built their offices there in 1962. In the 1960s, the original slate roof was removed and restoration work undertaken. It was subsequently well-known as the Willunga House Bed and Breakfast and is now a private residence.

This building is on the State Heritage Register (SA Heritage Places database #5277).


Ratepayer List Willunga and Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
SAILIS (online) https://sailis.lssa.com.au/ CT 43/27, CT 2008/185, CT 2013/35, CT 2669/172 and CT 2792/44
1849 ‘STOREKEEPERS’ LICENCES‘, Adelaide Observer 17 March, p. 2. (Supplement to the Adelaide Observer), viewed 06 Jan 2024,
1849 ‘POST-OFFICE APPOINTMENTS‘, South Australian Register 10 November, p. 4. , viewed 06 Jan 2024,
1854 ‘Advertising‘, South Australian Register 19 May, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jan 2024,
1865 ‘THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT‘, South Australian Weekly Chronicle 7 January, p. 1. (Supplement to the South Australian Weekly Chronicle), viewed 05 Jan 2024,
1870 ‘WILLUNGA‘, The Irish Harp and Farmers’ Herald 1 January, p. 6. , viewed 05 Jan 2024,
1890 ‘Advertising‘, Evening Journal 8 October, p. 1. (SECOND EDITION), viewed 05 Jan 2024,
1949 ‘WILLUNGA NEWS‘, Southern Argus 5 May, p. 6. , viewed 05 Jan 2024,

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