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Robert Chittleborough
Judith Spalding
Benjamin Chittleborough
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James Chittleborough


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Maria Coates

James Chittleborough

  • Marriage: Maria Coates

James Chittleborough came from Norfolk where according to several abstracts of wills a number of the Chittleboroughs were referred to as "farmers" or "yeomen". The Public Records Office, London holds ships Muster Books, Naval Medal Rolls and Register of Payments of Pensions from which record of James' naval service can be traced. On 23rd May, 1800, James whose birthplace was Norwich or near Yarmouth in the county of Norfolk, at the age of 20, joined HMS Monmouth as an ordinary seaman.

On 1st May, 1803 he was rated A.B. (Able Seaman) and on 1st November, 1803 joined HMS Phoebe and served as Ship's Corporal at the Battle of Trafalgar under the command of Lieutenant John Hindmarsh.

On 16th May, 1806 he was discharged to HMS Ocean for passage to HMS Endymon and on 14th June that year was rated Quartermaster. On 26th July, 1806 he was made Captain of the Foretop and four years later on 10th October, 1810 was discharged to the Trilby, a transport. The Trilby was not a ship of the Royal Navy.

At the baptism of his son, William, James was described as a Mariner of Bridport Row, Parish of Portsea in the county of Southampton.

The next listing of his naval service is on 1st April, 1830, when at the age of 44 he joined his last ship, HM Yacht Royal George and served as Captain's Coxswain. On the 29th September that year he was discharged (invalided). James was granted a pension of 30.8.0 per annum on 15th October, 1830 having completed 22 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 6 days' service.

James in his early forties married Maria Coates and they made their home for some time in Portsmouth.

After 22 years service in the navy James retired with a navy pension and some few years later decided to begin life afresh in a new country, Australia. James and Maria with their family of five: Maria aged 14, Elizabeth aged 12, William 10, Sarah 6 and James, 4, as free settlers, decided to make the journey in "HMS Buffalo" under the command of the now Captain John Hindmarsh, who had been appointed as the first Governor of South Australia. Mrs Elizabeth Longbold (nee Chittleborough) was also on board.

The Buffalo arrived at Holdfast Bay on the morning of the 28th December, 1836. After the proclamation that day, passengers made their way to the River Torrens and constructed their houses from reeds cut from the banks of the Torrens. The place became known as "Buffalo Row".

In March 1837 the survey of the town was completed and James bought two allotments each containing one acre. Allotment 746 in Palmer Place and allotment 718 was in Kermode Street, both in North Adelaide. Between 1837 and 1838 nearly all the residents of "The Row" moved to more suitable and substantial dwellings. Maria opened a shop in "The Row" and sold groceries and drapery. A little later the reed huts and the shop were burnt to the ground which left the entire family homeless and destitute until neighbours came to the rescue.

On one occasion whilst the children were learning to swim in a pool a lad called Fordham got out of his depth in a deep part of the pool. He came up two or three times and some of the boys tried to save him. William Chittleborough, who was a good swimmer, dived in and lifted him up to the surface by the hair of his head. The boy later recovered.

The children learned the language of the local aborigines, took part in their games and even watched several tribal battles.

James became owner of one of the first hotels in the colony and named it "The Buffalo Head". The family lived here until the death of James' wife Maria in 1840. Maria is buried in West Terrace cemetery. Her grave is unmarked, however, her name is on the headstone on the Chittleborough grave in O'Halloran Hill cemetery.

A ship with Timor ponies had arrived and nearly every family had a pony and cart. William won the "Town Plate" two years in succession.

James purchased an 80 acre section at Hurtle Vale called Reynella and built a brick house on the site. Son William later took up an 80 acre section at Reynella at the top of the hill north of Reynella township. The South Road Freeway cuts through the section. William's original home adjoins the eastern edge of the joinery factory now actively operational.

"The Walkerville Story" by John Lewis notes that the first Governor, Captain Hindmarsh had priority of choice in selection land and his first preference was Section 353 followed by Section 476, both of which sections abutted the River Torrens. When he became aware that he was being replaced, he made plans to sell his assets and when his office was terminated, he left Adelaide and his wife managed his interests.

An advertisement in the "Register" of 28 Jul 1838 reads: "A meeting of shareholders who have purchased Section 476 from the late Governor Hindmarsh will take place on Monday 6 August at Mr Chittleborough's to make the second payment conformable to the rules of purchase" - James Sparshott, Secretary of Committee.

On 6 October it was announced that a meeting of the above shareholders would take place on Monday 9 October at Mr Black's to draw lots. There is no evidence to show that either Sparshott or Chittleborough ever owned property at Walkerville and I have been unable to find any documentation relating to the "syndicate".

The blocks were 100 acres in 1838.

From "Hotels & Publicans in South Australia", by J L (Bob) Hoad, James Chittleborough (senior) was the publican at the Buffalo's Head from 25th September, 1837 to 31st March, 1841. He had commenced licensed trading from a tent in Buffalo Row, until a building was erected in 1838. The hotel was rebuilt in 1878, on the same site - 58 Hindley St, Adelaide (Town Acre 49).

Jas. Chittleborough was the Secretary of the Licensed Victuallers' Association in 1836.

Headstone at O'Halloran Hill Cemetery:

For further information:

and follow, Primitive Adelaide: recollections and impressions link on that page.

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