You Can Research Your Home

If you live in an older home in South Australia you may be able to find out about it by following the tips from the State Library and State Records of South Australia, you don’t need to be a historian to find things out.

You will be surprised by what you can find out about the home you live in.

The State Library has a downloadable guide for Researching your locality in the collections of the State Library of South Australia which covers

Almanacs and directories
• Architecture in South Australia
• Mapping sources for South Australian history
• South Australian newspapers

as well as Tracing the History of a House

State Records has House or Property History which takes you through how to use their Archives Search, the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS), Location SA, Maps of the Surveyor General’s Office, 1808-1946, land tax assessment returns and more.

Find Records For Government Childrens’ Homes in South Australia

Find Records For Government Childrens’ Homes in South Australia

I recently found a listing of state government childrens’ homes in South Australia. Here are all the named homes. Searching Google for any of these names will help you find pictures and info about them. Below the list are links to help with finding records.

Bedford Park Boys Training Centre
Boys Reformatory Hulk, Fitzjames
Boys Reformatory, Magill
Brookway Park
Campbell House Farm School, Meningie
Central Depot
Destitute Asylum

Photograph Campbell House Farm School
Campbell House Farm School

Edwardstown Industrial School
Girls Reformatory, Edwardstown
Girls Reformatory, Magill
Glandore Industrial School/Children’s Home
Grace Darling Hotel
Ilfracombe, Boys Reformatory
Lochiel Park Boys Training Centre
Magill Industrial School
McNally Training Centre
Redruth Girls Reformatory
Seaforth Home
South Australian Youth Remand and Assessment Centre
South Australian Youth Training Centre
Struan Farm School, Naracoorte
Vaughan House
Windana Remand Home

Allambi Girls Hostel


Allambi Girls Hostel
Davenport House
Kumanka Boys Hostel
Luprina Hostel
Nindee Hostel
Stuart House Boys Hostel
Woorabinda Hostel (and Campsite)
Cottage Homes
Clark Cottage, Clarence Park
Colton Cottage, Thorngate
Dartmouth Family Home, Port Augusta
Family Home, Mount Gambier
Fullarton Cottage, Myrtle Bank
Glandore Family Home
Hay Cottage, Lockleys
Kandarik Cottage
Klemzig Family Home
Largs Bay Cottage Home
Malvern Cottage
Merrilama Cottage, Glenelg
Morada Cottage
Port Lincoln Family Home
Port Pirie Cottage/Family Home
Pybus Family Home, Port Augusta
Reception Cottage, Glandore/Somerton Park
Slade Cottage, Glandore/Somerton Park
Spence Cottage, Kensington Gardens
Stirling Cottage, St Peters
Tintoo Cottage
Unit Living, Marion

This document Government Institutions South Australia gives a description, the history and where to find records for each institution listed above. If you had an ancestor who spent time in one of these homes you may be able to find them in the records.

There is more information here at Care Leavers Australasia Network https://clan.org.au/

Find and Connect A resource for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and anyone interested in the history of child welfare in Australia.

Rescued From Drowning

30 January 1924 Brighton Beach, Adelaide, South Australia, Meta and Edel Buring were swimming when they got into difficulties. Meta Caroline and Edelgarde Adele Buring are my first cousins 3x removed.

1924 ‘RESCUED LADIES’ GRATITUDE.’, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), 22 March, p. 8. , viewed 16 Aug 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64202773

1930 ‘BRAVE RESCUE REMEMBERED BY THOSE SAVED’, The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 – 1931), 22 January, p. 5. , viewed 16 Aug 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54167266

For The Sake Of An Agonised Father

The story of Isaac Mepstead comes from a tree I’m researching for a customer.

Isaac lived in Hythe, Kent, England and was a fish hawker.  At the age of 19 he stole some lead and iron and was convicted and sentenced on 13 Apr 1846 at the St Augustine’s Quarter Sessions.  There isn’t any more description of what he stole except on one record it says he stole a fixture.

He was in Pentonville and then Millbank prisons before coming to Australia.  His sentence was 1 week and 7 years. His father, Thomas, wrote a letter and petitioned for Isaac’s full pardon or that he at least be able to remain in England but he didn’t fully succeed. 

Thomas wrote, “May I beg the favor most earnestly of your looking into the merits of the petition forwarded you and for the sake of an agonized father attend to the prayer thereof and prevent the youth leaving the country.”

Thomas Mepsted’s letter to Sir George Grey on 11 Aug 1847

Another impassioned plea from Thomas, “to her Most Gracious Majesty the mitigation of the sentence of the said Isaac Mepsted as it may be pleased to be ordered, but particularly requesting in an humble and supplicatory manner that the said Isaac Mepsted may receive some amelioration of his sentence that will temper justice with mercy or that at all events he may be ordered to remain in this country.”
Was this an act or was he genuinely in fear for his son’s life?


Isaac and others aboard the Marion were pardoned as long as they remained in Australia for the term of their sentences.  Many, including Isaac, never returned to England.  The Marion arrived in Port Phillip Bay on 25 Jan 1848.

Isaac went on to marry and have a large family, living and working in both states of Victoria and South Australia.

Eleanor Isabella Welsh

Eleanor was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1857. Her father James Welsh was a Master Mariner and her mother was Ellen Mary Chamberlain. They had five children together.

The family moved back to Adelaide, South Australia, from whence they came, in about 1860. Her father, James died in November of that year.

When Eleanor’s mother Ellen, married John Patton he had six children from his first marriage and then had another six children with Ellen. Thankfully all seventeen children didn’t live together at the same time.

In 1874 Eleanor married George Chapman at the St Saviour Church at Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia.

George and Ella’s (as he called her) life is recorded in George’s diaries which are in the process of being transcribed.

Eleanor is my 2x great grandmother.

A Quaker Wedding In 1841

William Harding Birchall sits on a distant branch of my family tree.  We aren’t blood relatives however when one of his descendants contacted me with a question my interest was piqued.   The Birchalls were Quakers and these are the first Quaker records I have come across in my research.

This marriage record is very hard to read so I downloaded it and opened it in the graphics editor I use called GIMP.

Thanks to Tim Banks, a direct descendant, for the certificate. He owns the original which is a large document he has framed and hung above his computer.

Using the automatic white balance feature and adjusting the brightness and contrast made the image readable when enlarged.

This is the transcription:

William Harding Birchall of Leeds in the county of York, Stuff Merchant, son of Edwin Birchall of the same place and occupation, and Elizabeth his wife, and Lucy Hutchinson of Bishop Auckland in the county Palatine of Durham, daughter of the late John Hutchinson of Helmsley in the county of York aforesaid and Hannah his wife, having declared their intention of taking each other in marriage before the Monthly Meeting of Friends, commonly called Quakers, of Darlington in the county of Palatine of Durham aforesaid, the proceedings of the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson, after due inquiry and deliberate consideration thereof, were allowed by the said Meeting, they appearing clear of all others and having consent of surviving Parents.

Now these are to certify that for the accomplishing of their said marriage, this twentieth day of the tenth month in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty one they, the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson appeared at a public assembly of the aforesaid people in their meeting house at Bishop Auckland; and he, the said William Harding Birchall taking the said Lucy Hutchinson by the hand, declared as followeth: “Friends, I take this my friend Lucy Hutchinson to be my wife, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and faithful husband, until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.” And the said Lucy Hutchinson did then and there in the said assembly, declare as followeth: “Friends, I take this my friend William Harding Birchall to be my husband, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto him a loving and faithful wife, until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.”

And the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson, as a further confirmation thereof, and in testimony thereunto, did then and there to these present set their hands.

We being present at the above said marriage have also inscribed our names as witnesses thereunto the day and year above written.

It appears that everyone present at the wedding signed the certificate, at the bottom on the right hand side there is a separate column where relatives have signed.

I love their simple vows, short and sweet.  Do you have Quakers in your family?  Is this a typical marriage certificate and ceremony?