Willunga Store, 8 Hill Street, Willunga

Also known as Jacobs Store.

Johan Franz Anton “Francis” Laufkotter, his wife Emilia and their family, were the original occupants from 1851. Francis ran a general store here adjoining the Alma Hotel. He received his Certificate of Naturalization from Captain Charles Sturt, Colonial Secretary, in December 1850. Francis was a shoemaker and also made candles from beeswax which burnt very well, but the colour was ‘objectionable’. Business was difficult and stealing was prevalent.

It was reported in the Chronicle in 1867 that, for some time, Mr Laufkotter had missed various articles from his shop, always on Sunday nights. One Sunday night he hid inside the shop. Shortly later the door opened and a well-known woman crept quietly in. He seized her and got a scratched face in return. As he recognised her he let her go and applied the next day for a warrant. His insolvency in 1871 was attributed to ‘depreciation in the value of town lots in Willunga and the business not paying expenses’. Francis and Emelia Laufkotter had seven children, three of whom died by the age of five.

In 1899 Lilini Inkerman Jacobs, who had worked in Goode Bros. General Store at 3 High Street for 24 years, leased the buildings from Thomas Lasscock and opened the Willunga Store, selling a wide range of goods, including groceries, china and glassware, haberdashery, soft furnishings, clothing, stock feed, hardware and wooden fence posts from Dingabledinga. A strong earth tremor in 1904 caused havoc in the store with china, glassware, tins of treacle, bottles, etc, strewn across the floor. The Jacobs family ran the store for 28 years.

At the front of the store, Mr Jacobs installed a weighbridge which was sold to Willunga Council after he died. His wife, Ethel, continued the store – with the addition from 1920 of a Refreshment Room for tourist bus passengers on their half-way stop between Adelaide and Victor Harbor. But in 1927 the renewal of Mrs Jacobs’ lease was refused by Mrs Lasscock in favour of Harriet Webb, owner of the nearby Alma Hotel. Mrs Webb and her family then took over the running of the popular cafe and refreshment rooms. Later owners of the cafe were A. J. Little in the early 1940s, the Elsegoods in the late 1940s and S C Payne in the 1950s, followed by the Bates family and The Redwood Oven pizza restaurant. It is now Moongarden Pizza.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5488)

References:

1851 “Officielle NarchtichtenSuedaustralische Zeitung 14 April 1851: 1. Web. 1 Mar 2024.
1858 ‘LOCAL COURTS‘, South Australian Register 4 January, p. 3. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
1867 ‘WILLUNGA, SEPTEMBER 26‘, South Australian Weekly Chronicle 28 September, p. 7. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
1871 ‘INSOLVENCY COURT‘, South Australian Register 20 September, p. 3. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
1907 ‘Advertising‘, The Advertiser 22 October, p. 12. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
1912 ‘Advertising‘, The Advertiser 1 October, p. 7. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
1962 ‘People And Places‘, The Seasider 25 January, p. 7. , viewed 01 Mar 2024,
R Baxendale and F Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust Willunga 2010 (1989).

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