Willaston Nomenclature

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How Willaston Was Named

Willaston - In 1848 and 1849, William Paxton and Samuel Stocks (junior) obtained the land grant of part section 1 of the ‘Gawler Special Survey’, being ‘part of a public highway found unsuitable for such purposes.’ Following Stocks’ death in 1850, Mr Paxton laid out the village of Willaston ‘adjacent the recently erected substantial government bridge crossing the North Para...’ In 1850, it was reported that ‘the Adelaide hounds met at Wollaston [sic], the property of W. Paxton...’ It has been said that it was named after William Paxton’s hometown in Cheshire, but this contention appears to be false because he was born in Whitby, Yorkshire. However, there is a ‘Willaston’ in Cheshire and, probably had some association for the Stocks family, who were merchants in Manchester prior to coming to South Australia - Samuel Stocks (junior) was born in Stockport, Cheshire, circa 1813.

In 1086 the name was recorded as wilavestune - ‘Wiglaf’s farm’.

The Willaston School opened in 1863 and closed in 1879. In 1862, it was said that ‘a drinking fountain erected jointly by the Council and public subscription was opened on 3 November 1862 in the presence of the Mayor of Gawler, Mr James Mold, by Mr Scown, ... ‘Some water was drawn from the fountain and drunk by those present...’ (See Brompton, Stockport & Whitby)

A photograph of a suspension bridge is in the Chronicle, 1 February 1908, page 28.

For more information on Place names in South Australia, please visit the State Library of South Australia’s collection by <clicking here>

This information was found in Fred Brook’s personal collection of Willaston Memorabilia. Gawler History Team Inc. does not claim copyright on this information but merely displays it for historical and educational purposes.

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