Local historian Mark Staniforth is a font of fascinating wisdom regarding the early history of Aldinga.
Mark has generously agreed to provide a regular article on some of our earliest residents, to tell the stories of the people who settled Aldinga close to 200 years ago.
Gabriel Cox (1815-1892) was born on 5 Nov 1815 and grew up in Tidcombe, Wiltshire, England. He was a labourer and the son of a labourer. Gabriel married Louisa Hackel (1816-1909) on 12 April 1838 at Tidcombe. Gabriel was illiterate and had to make his mark on their marriage certificate but Louisa was able to sign it. Three months after Louisa and Gabriel were married, they boarded the ship Lloyds and set off for South Australia arriving in Port Adelaide in Nov 1838. They were resident in North Adelaide until 1844 and then at Aldinga for nearly fifty years until his death in 1892. Gabriel and Louisa Cox had just one daughter Treaza (Teresa) (1840-1935) who married Francis (Frank) Culley in 1857.
Their property, Hackel Farm, was named after Louisa’s family and was located on Old Coach Road in section 400, on the northern outskirts of what would later become the Aldinga township. Hackel Farm is probably the oldest building in Aldinga as it was built in the mid 1840s and is typical of the farmhouses built during the early years of European settlement of the district. Hackel Farm is now on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list.
Over the years Gabriel and Louisa became wealthy and went on to have some of the most extensive landholdings in the district, owning or leasing at least 10 sections of land (800 acres). Louisa opened the first store in the district. Besides being a farmer, Gabriel became an enthusiastic horse-breeder, winning prizes at the Willunga Agricultural Show, and he advertised his stallions for stud. They were both active members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Aldinga and donated the land where the Aldinga Methodist (now Uniting) Church and Cemetery was established in the 1860s.
Gabriel Cox, aged 76 years, died on 7 Jan 1892 and left an estate worth more than £10,000. Louisa, aged 93 years, died on 11 May 1909 at Aldinga. They are both buried in the Aldinga Uniting (Methodist) Church Cemetery.
Main Image –Louisa Cox, widow of Gabriel Cox, outside the Bank of Adelaide in Aldinga (c 1890). (courtesy of the City of Onkaparinga Library
About the Author
Mark Staniforth has been involved in history, archaeology and heritage as a professional and volunteer for more than forty years. He has a Masters degree in History from Sydney University and a PhD in Archaeology from Flinders University. Mark is currently an active member of the National Trust of SA (Willunga Branch) where he is co-ordinator of the Willunga District Heritage Walks program and GRASP (Government Reserve Archaeological Survey Project).