Explore your connections with a great man ......
 Sir Samuel WAY - his ancestors and descendants

  Sit back and enjoy this slide show.


Sir Samuel was a key figure in most aspects of community life in the development of South Australia from the 1880s to WWI. This website includes a great deal of information about his public life but, rather than his civic history, our main purpose is to gather and share his family history which encompasses the stories of his ancestors and descendants.

He had a long term, but secret relationship with Susannah GOODING who was the grand-daughter of first fleet convicts. They had five children. Late in life, Samuel married Catherine 'Kitty' GORDON but they did not have any children.

Ancestors: Samuel's kin through his parents and siblings include the WAY, WILLIS and SLATER families.

DESCENDANTS: There are very few direct descendants. Of Samuel's and Susannah's five children, only one, Edward WHITE, had any off-spring. On the other hand, there are many indirect descendants, through his step-children. Susannah had two children through previous relationships - their descendants include the WARREN families. Kitty had four children with her first husband, Dr Billy BLUE, but only one, Shylie, had any children. Her descendants include the RYMILL and DOWNER families who were prominent families in Adelaide.

Read the stories of Samuel, Susannah and Kitty - and their children - in 'A Tale of Two Women'. This is in the 'Stories' directory on the left of this home page.

Feature Articles

ACCESS: This website is open to the public, at no cost. You do not need to log-in to see most of what is on the database. Only the administrator, Don Gordon, can log-in to make any changes.
PRIVACY: Details of living people are hidden - just their initials are visible. Contact us if you want your full name (or any other details) to be seen on your family tree. You are in control of how much, or how little, you want the public to see.
WHERE AM I?: You can find your place in this family tree by: (1) Search for a grandparent or someone who has died (use maiden names) - this will take you to that person's profile, (2) Click 'Descendants' on the row of tabs underneath the name, (3) You will recognize the initials of your close relatives.
ADDITIONS & CORRECTIONS: Share your information through 'Contact us'. Accuracy with names and dates are important, but also you might like to share family stories, photos or documents for a birth, marriage or death.
OTHER FEATURES: Look in DETAILS FOR USING WEBSITE on the left of this home page for other details about how this website is operating - quality, copyright, profiles, stories, taking your own copies, related websites .... etc.

feature 2 SAMUEL WAY
Samuel James Way migrated from England to South Australia in 1853 as a 17 year old. This was just 16 years after the commencement of the colony. Within two decades he had become the pre-eminent citizen. He was the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judge for forty years and Lieutenant-Governor for a total of seven years. He was a Queens Councillor, member of parliament, vice-chancellor and chancellor of the university and president of the children’s hospital, public library, museum and art gallery. He was a leader in the Methodist church and the Freemasons. He was a Privy Counsellor. He was knighted and was conferred five honorary doctorates. Many places are named after him. Without doubt, for half a century, he was at the pinnacle of most aspects of civic life - law, academia, vice-regal, politics, health, religion and culture. He was the public face of justice, reason, virtue and refinement. Right up to the time of his death as an 80 year old, he was still active in all these high offices.

Susannah Mary Gooding was Samuel’s mistress for two decades. She had a disreputable background. Her grandparents and mother had been convicts and her father was gaoled for accidently killing her mother in a domestic incident. Susannah was a servant living in Tasmania when she met Samuel. They never married, nor ever lived together, and their relationship was not publicly acknowledged. However they had five children and Samuel continued to visit the family often and supported them with housing and education expenses (Geelong Grammar), and helped Susannah set up a millinery business. After Susannah’s death, he maintained some contact with the surviving children. Three of the children died early but two of their sons, Alfred White and Edward White, became prominent in Melbourne as respected physicians, and were noted for their war service and philanthropy. Like his father, Alfred, was knighted, as Sir Rowden White.

feature 4 KITTY GORDON
Catherine ‘Kitty’ Gillon Gordon came from Scotland with her parents in 1855 as an infant. Before migrating her father had been a railway worker and he became a moderately successful farmer in the Strathalbyn district. Kitty was adopted by her aunty, Catherine Gollan. At 18 years of age she married a local doctor, Billy Blue, who became the mayor of Strathalbyn. After 24 years of marriage, Billy died and Kitty soon married Samuel – this was a decade after Susannah had died. As Lady Way, Kitty became prominent in Adelaide society and was appreciated by the general public for her many services to the community. She was with Sir Samuel for 16 years until her death. Crowds lined the streets for what was virtually a state funeral. Her direct descendants are from just one of her four children (Samuel and Sussanah also have direct descendants from just one of their five children).

Contact Us

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