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Curson House

Page history last edited by helen.halm@... 10 years, 3 months ago




Conditions for reproduction of photo see Curson's Residence 




Curson House is situated at No 246 Liverpool Rd, Goolwa, and is on Section 9, Town-on-the-Goolwa. Apparently once known as ‘Remembrance House’ it now known locally as Curson House.


The land was first purchased by John Lilliard of England, who along with many others purchased acres as an investment and never set foot in Australia. When he died his Australian interests were sold, and Section 9 was purchased in 1864 by Mr Turner Irons, farmer of Currency Creek. He didn’t hold the land for long before he sold to George Curson.


George had arrived in Goolwa c1863 and lived at the ‘Australasian Hotel with the Willcock family while his own family were still living in Adelaide. Jane Curson moved to Goolwa the next year and lived with the Willcock’s. Unfortunately she died not long after, on 5th February 1866.


 George worked with the Winsby brothers and Samuel Shetliff assisting with their shipbuilding activities in Goolwa. Sometime in the next year, George Curson and James Hooker  acquired the Winsby’s shipbuilding facilities and named their enterprise ‘Goolwa Iron Works & Patent Slip’. One of their first boats was the ‘Ariel’ which suffered a fire in 1870 at Overland Corner. The paddlesteamer they were most remembered for was the ‘Jolly Miller’ built for Wm Basham, miller, of Pt Elliot. This was the first iron steamer built wholly on site in SA. Others previously had been imported in sections and assembled here. The Jolly Miller came to an end when it sank near the Pyap Pump Station.


Getting back to Curson House, it was built by George in 1871 to house his second wife, Mrs Sarah Squire nee Ballard and family.  His friend, Oliver Willcock, architect and building contractor was the builder. Considering he had built the hotel ‘Australasian’ he was well qualified. The house of 4 main rooms, was built in the Colonial cottage style, with hip style slate roof, no eaves and brick quoins. No verandah, with thick internal walls it had a simple Georgian symmetrical appearance with 12 pane vertical sliding windows.


From 1886-1890 George and Susan leased their home and retired to the steamer ‘Cato’ traveling the full length of the Murray. They then sold the boat and moved to Morgan for only two years before settling in Gawler.


In 1911 Albert Birchall (previously an officer in Kings Own Royal Lancashire Regiment) purchased Curson House. Albert, wife Nora and family lived there for many years. His daughter, Edna Muriel Birchall, born in Goolwa – attended the Goolwa Primary School, Strathalbyn High School then Teacher’s College before teaching in country schools for  47years (a lot of it on the Fleurieu) before her retirement in 1965. After her retirement she and her sister sailed for England and found their father’s relatives in the Lakes District, England. Miss Birchall died  31st

 July 1984 aged 84.


In 1991 a modern kitchen/family room, laundry, bathroom and glass garden room were added at the rear of the house. It was put up for sale that year for ₤120,000.


The cement block fence has been replaced with, one, more in keeping with this heritage listed building, now used as holiday accommodation. The peppertree alongside the house is old but of unknown age.




WA Pretty Collection

A Land Abounding – Rob Linn

Family Histories, Shetliffe, Curson & Willcock



Dawn Juers, Alexandrina Local & Family History Room Volunteer.

Talk – 7th August 2009


Back toMostly Goolwa

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