Thomas Williams (South Australian politician)

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Thomas Williams of Rushden Hall & Wanfield Lodge (c. 1794 – 2 December 1881) was a politician in the colony of South Australia, serving as a non-official acting member of the Legislative Council of South Australia from June 1843 to September 1843.

Rushden Hall is a historic Grade II* listed country house located in the town of Rushden in Northamptonshire which was built for the Pemberton family in the 14th century.

This is a list of members of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1843 to 1851. Beginning with the Royal Instructions gazetted 15 June 1843, there were four official and four non-official members of the Legislative Council consisting of: the Governor, Colonial Secretary, Advocate-General, and Registrar-General with four non-official members being nominated by the Crown. The Council was the only chamber of government until the House of Assembly was created in 1857.



Williams was a son of Robert Williams of Wanfield Lodge (died 1803) and Jane Cunningham, whom he married in 1794. The Williams were an old family of Herringston, Dorset, with interests in the banking business.

Williams was at one time High Sheriff of Northamptonshire and a partner in the banking firm of Williams Deacon and Co. [1] He was a major investor with the South Australian Company and closely associated with Lord John Russell, Gibbon Wakefield, and George Fife Angas. [2]

Northamptonshire County of England

Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".

The South Australian Company was formed in London on 9 October 1835 by George Fife Angas and other wealthy British merchants to develop a new settlement in South Australia; its purpose was to build a new colony by meeting an essential financial obligation of the South Australia Act of 1834. The South Australian Company ended business in its own right on 17 March 1949 when it was liquidated by Elders Trustee & Executor Company Ltd, which had been managing its Australian affairs since the death of the last Colonial Manager, Arthur Muller in 1936.

George Fife Angas Australian politician

George Fife Angas was an English businessman and banker who, from England, played a significant part in the formation and establishment of the Province of South Australia. He established the South Australian Company and was its founding chairman of the board of directors. In later life he migrated to the colony and served as a member of the first South Australian Legislative Council. His financial contribution of some £40,000 was instrumental to the creation of South Australia.

Williams, his wife Catherine, née Codd, and much of their family emigrated on the Platina, arriving in South Australia in February 1839, and for a time they lived in "The Barn", in Wakefield Street, a rambling thatched wooden structure built in 1837, perhaps Adelaide's first permanent residence, whose previous tenants included H. B. T. Strangways, Lady Hindmarsh, then Hindmarsh's sons-in-law Milner Stephen and Alfred Miller Mundy. The place was destroyed by fire in May 1857. [3]

Wakefield Street, Adelaide road in Adelaide, South Australia

Wakefield Street is a main thoroughfare in the centre of the South Australian capital, Adelaide.

John Hindmarsh British naval officer

Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh KH RN was a naval officer and the first Governor of South Australia, from 28 December 1836 to 16 July 1838.

Williams, with Governor Gawler and J. B. Hack had a "Special Survey" of Little Para farm land taken out in the Para Wirra area, and by him named "The Hermitage", his portion being 2,000 acres (810 ha). He fenced the property, and built a homestead where he lived, and as early as 1840 was growing wheat. He established a garden and vineyard, asserted to have been SA's first. [2] To pay for this and for his children's education, he liquidated almost every one of his shares in the South Australian Company, coupled with an overdraft on his account with the Bank of South Australia of some £2,900.

Little Para River river in South Australia, Australia

The Little Para River is a seasonal creek running across the Adelaide Plains in the Australian state of South Australia, whose catchment fills reservoirs that supply some of the water needs of Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Bank of South Australia Australian bank

BankSA formally known as The Bank of South Australia, is the largest financial institution in South Australia and the state's largest home lender.

He was in June 1843 appointed by Governor Gawler to one of the four newly created "non-official" (i.e. without portfolio) seats on the second Legislative Council. Unfortunately for him, the value of his land had not increased as expected, and he had difficulties meeting the interest on his loan. He mortgaged the choicest 1,700 acres with his daughter Elizabeth, without mentioning the fact to the bank, which held the deeds as security on the overdraft. [4] He resigned as an undischarged bankrupt, and Jacob Hagen was appointed in his place. He was jailed for six months for his fraudulent actions. [5] His creditors were paid 2 shillings in the pound (10%), while his daughter, who in 1844 became Mrs. Peachey, retained possession of "The Hermitage".

Jacob Hagen was a businessman involved in many business ventures in the colony of South Australia. He served in the Legislative Council from September 1843 to February 1851.

He had three children following his release (in 1844, 1846 and 1848), then returned to England, living at Wanfield Lodge near Windsor, Berkshire. [6]


Thomas Williams married Mary Frances Benthon in 1817 and Catherine Codd in 1833. Their children on the Platina were:

  • Florence Harriette Cunningham Williams (16 December 1863 – 1918) married John Hoar (1864–1954) on 18 August 1887
  • Marie Frances Sophia Williams (29 January 1865 – 1949) married Samuel Allan Townshend (1897–1925) on 6 October 1896
  • Cunningham Herbert Plantagenet Williams (16 February 1866 – ) married Gertrude Kate Letchford (1876– ) on 17 March 1898
  • Edith Maude Augusta Williams (1868– ) married A. P. Selby Davidson ( – ) on 8 September 1903
  • Ethel Constance Louise Cunningham Williams (30 December 1868 – ) married Dr. Robert Henry Pulleine ( – ) on 2 March 1899

born in SA:

arrived on Lady MacNaughton September 1851

  • Mary Amphillis "Minnie" Hinde ( – 23 September 1889)
  • Ellen Frances Hinde (1851 – 27 May 1941)
  • William John Hinde SM (1856 – 25 November 1937) married Annette Harcourt "Annie" Halbert (1855 – 9 November 1924) in 1881, daughter of George Edward Halbert
  • Alice Berthon Hinde (1860 – 5 August 1904)
  • Herbert Edward Hinde (1862 – 28 June 1944) married Ethelwyn Hamilton "Ethel Adelaide" Ayliffe (6 August 1868 – 10 December 1944) on 13 December 1902. She was a granddaughter of Thomas Hamilton Ayliffe
  • Frederick Hinde (1864 – 9 October 1887)
  • Mabel Charlotte Hinde (1868– )

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  1. He was closely related to the principals Robert Williams, Robert Williams II and Charles Montague Williams.
  2. 1 2 "The Late Mr. Thomas Williams". South Australian Register . XLVII, (10, 976). South Australia. 18 January 1882. p. 4. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  3. "Fire in Wakefield Street". Adelaide Observer . XV, (814). South Australia. 9 May 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "Insolvent Court". South Australian Register . South Australia. 4 October 1843. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "The Emma's Mail from Sydney". South Australian Register . South Australia. 22 November 1843. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Family Notices". South Australian Register . XXII, (3610). South Australia. 3 May 1858. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  7. Peter Peachey, proprietor of the Wheal Watkins Mine, arrived on Siam in December 1840, married 1844, lived Glen Osmond, they had four children in four successive years; he died in 1939. Peachey Belt (now Munno Para) was named for him. Rodney Cockburn asserts he was a surveyor and later overseer at Parnaroo station.
  8. "Advertising". South Australian Register . XLI, (9351). South Australia. 2 November 1876. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Miscellaneous". The South Australian Advertiser . South Australia. 5 October 1878. p. 15. Retrieved 17 November 2016 via National Library of Australia.