Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Thomas Martin (1825–1900)

Mr. Thomas Martin died at St. Mary's lodge, Willunga, on February 1, 1900, after a long illness. The deceased was born at Stithians, Cornwall, England, on May 20, 1825. His late brother, Mr. John Martin, conducted the parish school, and he received his education there. This is the same John Martin who in the early days managed a school so successfully at Whitmore-square and Pulteney-street, Adelaide. At an early age the deceased was employed in copper and tin mining, and before leaving his native land he earned a reputation for being one of the foremost tin dressers in the county. Not being satisfied with the opportunities afforded in his native country for young men, and hearing of the discovery of the Burra Burra mines, he decided to set out for Australia, having for his companion the late Hon. James Martin. They arrived at Port Adelaide in 1847 by the ship La Belle Alliance. Upon landing and hearing of slate being found at Willunga Mr. Martin went there, and soon found scope for his great energy and natural ability, which eventuated in his opening the Willunga slate quarries, which he conducted till his death, at one period doing an extensive business with the whole of the colonies. He was universally respected and took an active interest in every political movement as well as engaging in local public matters. He was appointed to the commission of the peace July 2, 1874. For several years he was chairman of the district council, and took an active interest in the local Agricultural Society. His advice was often sought and cheerfully rendered, and many will miss him on this account. He remained at Willunga the whole of the time, except a short visit to the Victorian goldfields, where he achieved a good measure of success. In 1878 he left on a visit to Europe, and attended the Paris Exhibition in 1879. He was married twice, the first time to Elizabeth Jane Polkinghorne, daughter of Mr. Thomas Polkinghorne (who was also one of the pioneers of the slate industry), and the second time the widow of Inspector Hall, who survives him. By his second wife he had no issue, but by his first he leaves three sons and one daughter. Thomas, the eldest, of late years, has taken a leading part in his father's business; John conducted farming operations at Warracknabeal, in Victoria; and Ernest Edward has been in the Telegraph service for 21 years; Grace Elizabeth, the only daughter, married Alderman John Dunstan, and is at present Mayoress of Broken Hill. At the funeral the chief mourners were his sons and daughter, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, also his son-in-law, Alderman John Dunstan, Mayor of Broken Hill, and step-son, Mr. Spencer A. Hall, manager Bank of Adelaide, Noarlunga. A large number of residents from all parts of the district joined in the procession. The members of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, of which the deceased was an old member, preceded the hearse and conducted a service over the grave. The Rev. A. Grewar, Wesleyan minister, officiated at the grave.

Original publication

Citation details

'Martin, Thomas (1825–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


20 May, 1825
Stithians, Cornwall, England


1 February, 1900 (aged 74)
Willunga, South Australia, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations