William Allen Crouch

CROUCH William Allen
born:  21 December 1821, St Pancras, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
died:  6 October 1899, Lowan, Kalangadoo, South Australia, Australia

Parents:  Edmund Allen Crouch and Matilda Jane Green
Siblings: Edmund Robert, Matilda Jane, George Godwin, Sophia Augusta, Alfred Thomas, Charles Frederick, Melville, Octavius, Emma

Spouse: Jane Fitzgerald

Children:  Edmond, William Bryan, Matilda Geraldine, George Eugene, Grace Gertrude, Arthur Desmond, Maud Blanche, Florence Edith.

One of the earliest residents in the South-East, William Allen Crouch, was born in Middlesex, England in 1821 and had trained as an architect for three years. Together with his brother Charles, they sailed on the Templar departing England in July 1845 arriving in Adelaide in November. After a short stay in the Angaston area William joined his brothers George and Charles in Portland. William initially purchased land in the Heywood district but with sheep not being profitable joined Charles who was running a general store in Rivoli Bay.  With land becoming available in Mount Gambier, Charles transferred their business there with their first store being located where Jens Hotel stands today.  One of the first things William supposedly did was to carve out steps down to the water in the Cave Gardens. In addition to being storekeepers the brothers took over the postal service. After a brief stint at gold prospecting at Ballarat William returned and in 1851 Charles transferred the business to William and returned to Portland. William expanded the business activities to include acting as agent for the National Bank, an auctioneer, and commission agent in partnership with Mr. P D Prankerd.

In 1853 he would marry Jane Fitzgerald in Portland. In 1856 William and Jane started planning a larger store and residence and with his architectural background William designed the first two story building south of the Murray River. It was located on Commercial Street East and the 20-room residence and store would later become the Convent of Mercy. William was the founder of Allendale having taken up the original land grants with Peter Prankerd. They subdivided the land as a township using Williams’ second name with the streets being named after his children at the time and he would also open a small general store. On his retirement in 1870 William and June moved to their property Lowan at Kalangadoo. Apart from his business William was a member of the local Board of Main Roads, Member of the Penola Council, and a Magistrate. He was characterized by a genial and kindly disposition, willing to help, a keen sense of humour, and had the history of the South-East at his fingertips. Crouch Street and the William A Crouch reserved are named after him as well as plaques being located at Allendale, Pioneer Park, and the gates at St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church.

Sources: Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861-1954), Saturday 7 October 1899 page 3
Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861-1954), Thursday 20 August 1936, page 1
Photographs: SLSA – B3067 – William Allen Crouch.
SLSA – B3022 – William Allen Crouch

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