Were You Born In A Tent?

Richard, Sarah, Hannah, William and Atalina Ballard could all answer yes to their parents, when they left doors open when they were older, because they were born in a tent.

Their parents John Thomas and Mary Ann Ballard moved to Goolwa, South Australia in about 1853 with Mary Ann’s two children from her first marriage Priscilla and Henry.  Richard was born in December 1853 and is said to have been the first white child born in what was then called Hutchinson’s Township (Goolwa).  The family camped on what is now the corner of Hays St and Newacott Place but was then known as Ballard’s of Hutchinson’s Paddock.  All the children from Richard through to Atalina were born in that tent dwelling.

 Richard and his wife Anna Bertha Elizabeth Ballard (nee Julge)

John Thomas Ballard  was officially registered as the property’s owner on 20 July 1866 and was granted permission to build later that year.  I’m sure Mary Ann was eternally grateful when the house was completed and she was able to give birth to her son John Thomas Jnr indoors in 1869.

Richard and John Thomas Ballard Jnr

This is what the house looks like today
On 19 June 1897 Lot 15 Hays St was sold to Mr and Mrs Eliezer Hainsworth Dodd Snr. Here is a very distant connection between my parents nearly 60 years before they met. The Ballards are on my Dad’s side of the family and the Dodds are on my Mum’s side. The Ballards and Dodds would’ve known each other too because the Dodds lived in Goolwa for a long time.
Here are the previous posts I’ve written about Eliezer Hainsworth Dodd;
The bulk of my research for this blog post was done at the Alexandrina Library History Room.


  1. Kylie Willison

    Thanks, it was great to research. When I went to Goolwa library there was a couple just leaving and they asked me who I was researching. They were amazed when I told them as they had bought the Ballard's house in the 1990s and completely restored it. They helped me a lot and told me where the house is.
    Kylie šŸ™‚

  2. Denise Rayner

    Hello Kylie, my name is Denise Rayner [ nee Allen], my mother was Hazel Allen nee Ballard. My Grandparents were Emil Frank and Maud Ballard, I am new at this but very interested in following my family,s history. Both my parents have have passed away also my Brother Les, sisters Meryl and Vivienne, I only have my brother Hugh left. It would be nice to chat or email each other some time. You may have information for me and I may have some for you as well. Hope to hear from you Kylie. regards Denise.

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