David Mills (1823-1898)

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David Mills
Daid mills
Sex: Male
Birth: circa 1823 Wiltshire, England
Baptism: 25/6/1823 Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire
Death: 15/4/1898 Crystal Brook, South Australia, Australia
Father: John Mills
Mother: Mary Ingram
Spouse/Partner: Emma Hill
Marriage: 1842 Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire
2nd Spouse: Annie Williamson Everall (formerly McFarlane, nee Graham)
2nd Marriage: 9/1/1890 North Adelaide, South Australia

Below is an extract from “The House that Were Built”, by E. Were:-

“David Mills was born at Dilton Marsh, near Westbury Leigh, on 25th June 1823, his birth being registered at the local Baptist Church. In due course David married Emma the daughter of Thomas and Rachel Hill. Their first son George was born on 2nd December 1843. They had a second son Walter who died in early childhood in England.”

Journey on the SibellaEdit

“The Mills family were agricultural workers and David and Ebeneezer with their wives and children decided to emigrate to South Australia, hoping to find better opportunities in the new land. They boarded the barque Sibella at Plymouth and sailed on 6th April 1848. The 618-ton Sibella was under the command of Captain Coleman.”

During the journey on the Sibella, a ship steward by the name of Francis Trealor kept a diary, outlining events aboard ship. He stated that many of those on board were seeking religious freedom as Bible Christians, and that was the reason why they were travelling to Australia. He singled out Robert & Hannah Marshman as a couple who were emigrating for this reason, so it is possible that the Mills family were too. As many of the people aboard had not been to sea before, there was a great deal of seasickness early in the voyage. In late April/ early May there was an outbreak of measles amongst the children which took the life of Ann Mills, the daughter of David’s brother Ebenezeer. The ship steward recorded her death and burial at sea. When other ships going to England passed relatively close by the Sibella, people would very quickly write letters so they could be passed to the ship and sent back to relatives they had left behind. There was squally weather as they went around the Cape of Good Hope and a baby was born on board, who was named ‘Louisa Sibella’ after the ship. There was more squally weather as the ship crossed the Indian Ocean, and they would play games on deck when the weather was calm. Their first view of South Australia was on July 14th when they sited Kangaroo Island. They pulled into Port Adelaide on July 16th but had to remain on board due to squally weather and to wait for the shipping and colonial inspectors. The immigrants were inspected on deck on July 18th, and finally on July 19th, they were able to board row boats and go ashore.

An abbreviated transcript of the diary of Francis Treloar about the journey on the Sibella can be located on the internet at

South AustraliaEdit

Below is a further extract from “The House that Were Built”, by E. Were:-

“The Mills families settled in Jerningham Street, Lower North Adelaide. By 1851 David Mills had moved his family to Tea Tree Gully and in 1852 purchased from real estate investor John Hector a property of 80 acres for the sum of £160 ($320) being Section 5487. (This is now the suburb of Ridgehaven.) The 1865 and 1867 South Australian Almanac and Directory lists David as a farmer on section 5487, Tea Tree Gully.

Tea Tree GullyEdit

David signed a petition along with many other people living in the local Highercombe district area in 1858. The council district comprised the area of the present City of Tea Tree Gully Council, the townships of Houghton and Paracombe and the area known as Highercombe. The District Council of Highercombe was one of the first council districts to be proclaimed in South Australia after the Act to appoint District Councils was proclaimed in November 1852.

The petition was expressing dissatisfaction at a lack of consultation regarding the potential division of the District into smaller parts. Protestations had been made by the residents of the villages of Houghton and Hope Valley who were concerned that their rates were not being used to improve the line of road (now Lower North East Road) which provided the townships of Houghton and Hope Valley with a direct route to Adelaide.

The question of identifying the main line of road for the District Council area of Highercombe, along which all traffic would pass, was debated heatedly during the 1840's and 1850's. The residents of the village of Steventon (now Tea Tree Gully) were equally adamant that the northeastern line of road (now the North East Road) adjacent to which their farms and businesses had been sited should be recognised as the main trade route. David, who was residing at Steventon at the time, signed the petition, along with his father John and brother Job, and the petition was published in The South Australian Government Gazette on July 15, 1858.

Further debate about the issue occured, and a further petition was published in the South Australian Government Gazette on August 19, 1858. This petition went into specifics about what sections of the district should be separated and where, with a request that the northern portion of the district be called the 'District of Tea Tree Gully." David signed the petition again, along with his father and brother, and a man called John Rowe, who lived in the Golden Grove area of the district. David Mills' 2x great-granddaughter (Mahala Mills) would go on to marry John Rowe's great grandson (Herbert Turner).

David and family were at Tea Tree Gully in August 1863 when his daughter Rosa died at aged 11 months of cephalitis. The place of death was recorded as Steventon.

Crystal BrookEdit

David Mills farmed his land and raised his family in Tea Tree Gully until 1874, when he sold out and took up larger holdings at Crystal Brook. Most of his family moved with him to this northern location. Herbert Turner (mentioned above) was born in Crystal Book in 1885, and his father may have been aquainted with David.

The South Australian Almanac for 1881 lists David as a farmer at Crystal Brook. He is also recorded as a farer at Crystal Brook in the Commerical and Trades Directory for 1882-1883.

Emma Mills died at Crystal Brook on 4th September 1887, aged 62 years. David Mills remarried, his second wife being widow Ann Williamson Everall. Annie (as she was known) died on 29th November 1897 at age of 69. Less than five months later, David passed away (15th April 1898) in his 75th year. All three are buried at Crystal Brook Cemetery.”

David mills memorial card

David Mills' memorial card

David mills grave stone

David Mills' grave stone


Name Birth Death
Children of David and Emma Mills

George 2/12/1843
Westbury, Wiltshire
Norwood, South Australia

Walter 22/6/1846
Westbury, Wiltshire

Mira Julia 1/6/1849
Walkerville, South Australia
Not recorded, South Australia

Julia 23/6/1851
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia

Frederick 14/9/1853
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Elbow Hill, South Australia

Walter 9/2/1856
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Kooringa, South Australia

Annie 8/11/1858
Steventon, South Australia
Steventon, South Australia

Anne 22/9/1860
Steventon, South Australia
Algate, South Australia

Rose 3/9/1862
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Steventon, South Australia

Howard 27/9/1864
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia

Rowland 12/9/1868
Steventon, South Australia
Hundred of Yongala, South Australia

Rosa 15/8/1870
Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
Petersburg, South Australia


  • The House that Were Built, by E Were
  • Birth, Death & Marriage records
  • Baptism Records
  • Land Title Records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Diary of Francis Trealor
  • Jane Harding (photographs)
  • The South Australian Government Gazette, 11/2/1858, 15/7/1858, 19/8/1858
  • The South Australian Almanac and Directory, 1865, 1867, 1881
  • Commercial and Trades Directory 1882-83
  • Short History of Tea Tree Gully, City of Tea Tree Gully website

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