South Australia - Family History and Genealogy

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South Australia - History

Family History and Genealogy
South Australia Overview

South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.

The state's origins are unique in Australia as a freely-settled, planned British province, rather than as a convict settlement. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the state was proclaimed at The Old Gum Tree by Governor John Hindmarsh.

The first city/town to be established was Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, established in 1836. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by the New Zealand Company. The aim was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance
European settlement in South Australia

In 1833 the South Australian Association was established and began to lobby the government for the establishment of a colony in South Australia, with Crown appointed governance. This succeeded in the passing on August 15 of the South Australia Act, 1834, which gave provision for the settlement, for the sale of lands, for funding of the venture, in addition to detailing the governance by commissioners.

on May 5, 1835 eleven commissioners were appointed to control sales of land and the administration of revenue. Colonel Robert Torrens was appointed as chairman and Rowland Hill was appointed secretary. On January 21, 1836 Captain John Hindmarsh was appointed the first Governor of South Australia.

Sales of land had proved difficult, and it was remained to the South Australian Company which was formed on 15 October 1835, to purchase the remaining portion of the thirty five thousand pounds worth of land that was required for settlement to proceed.

First Settlers in South Australia

Four ships chartered by the South Australia Company set sail for South Australia in early 1836. On February 22, days after the Letters Patent had been adopted, the ship John Pirie set sail with 24 passengers on board. The ship Duke of York under the command of Captain Robert Clark Morgan (1798-1864) set sail with 42 passengers on February 24.

On March 30 the ship Lady Mary Pelham departed London with 29 passengers. The fourth ship was the Emma which left London with 22 passengers on April 21. All four ships of the South Australia Company arrived at Nepean Bay on Kangaroo Island. The Duke of York on 27 July, Lady Mary Pelham on 30 July, John Pirie on 16 August and the Emma on 5 October.

A settlement was started at Kingscote, but this soon was abandoned for a settlement on the mainland.
John Hindmarsh - First Governor

Rear Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh (1785 to 1860) was a naval officer and the first Governor of South Australia, from 28 December 1836 to 16 July 1838

Hindmarsh arrived in South Australia in 28 December 1836, with a fleet of ships carrying the first British settlers for the colony. The ships in the fleet included the Cygnet (carrying Colonel William Light's surveyors), Africaine, Tam O'Shanter, Rapid, and HMS Buffalo (carrying Hindmarsh). Initially they landed on Kangaroo Island, and sent out the team of surveyors led by Light to find a suitable place for the capital city of the new colony. Hindmarsh wanted it at Port Lincoln , instead of at the present site which had been selected by Light. Light eventually chose the site of Adelaide, and the fleet moved up the Gulf of Saint Vincent to Holdfast Bay, now known as Glenelg, South Australia. The proclamation creating the colony was read on 28 December 1836 under the Old Gum Tree.

There was some question as to the respective powers of the governor and the resident commissioner, James Hurtle Fisher, and the two came into open conflict. Feeling ran high and when Hindmarsh went so far as to suspend Robert Gouger and other public officers, the commissioners brought the matter before the secretary of state for the colonies. Hindmarsh was then recalled to London in 1838. In 1840 he was made as Lieutenant-Governor of Heligoland. Hindmarsh was knighted by Queen Victoria on 7 August 1851, attained the rank of rear-admiral in 1856 and retired in 1856 to the seaside town of Hove, England

Places named after John Hindmarsh

  • The Adelaide suburb of Hindmarsh was originally laid out as a speculative subdivision, the Village of Hindmarsh, on land owned by him. It was for many years the centre of a Local Government Area called the Town of Hindmarsh, which has now been amalgamated into the City of Charles Sturt.
    * The Division of Hindmarsh federal electorate takes in the area near the proclamation site.
    * Hindmarsh Island is near the town of Goolwa, close to the Murray Mouth.
    * The Hindmarsh River flows into Encounter Bay south of Adelaide.
    * Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide is an open space public park within the City of Adelaide.
    * Hindmarsh Drive runs through the districts of Weston Creek and South Canberra in Canberra, Australia