[Editor: An article about the beginnings of the colony of South Australia. Published in The Sydney Monitor (Sydney, NSW), 2 November 1836.]
We have much satisfaction in announcing that the “first fleet” of the expedition for settling another free Colony on the great Continent of New Holland, has arrived safely at its destination. It is highly gratifying to the friends of humanity to perceive that the very idea of white slavery, let its advantages be ever so great to the slave holders, is considered so revolting as that it has been made an express condition with the British Government, that the possibility of its introduction should be carefully provided against in the Act of Parliament. The new Colony, established under such favourable auspices, is called “South Australia,” and is situated between the territory of the Swan River and that of New South Wales. It includes the whole of the country between the 132nd and the 142nd meridians of East longitude, and the 24th and 38th parallels of south latitude, the latter been defined by the trend of the coast. Thus it will be seen, that it possesses the varieties of climate from that of Spain and Italy, to the Tropic, and, of course, every production which can be cultivated within those limits will be available to the new Colonist. It comprehends the whole coast from Fowler’s Bay, Port Lincoln, Spencer’s Gulph, the Gulph of St. Vincent’s and Encounter Bay — above all, that magnificent Mediterranean, Lake Alexandrina, the extent and boundaries of which are not yet ascertained, but which, communicating with the sea by Encounter Bay, communicates with New South Wales, by the great rivers, Nury, Darling, and others, which flow (having been traced by Captain Sturt, of the 39th Regiment, to the Embouchure, in Lake Alexandrina) upwards of 1,500 miles! This noble Colony possesses also the northern portion of Kangaroo Island, which is separated from its continental territory, by Investigator’s Straits. It is unnecessary to say one word as to the infinite natural advantages the Colony of South Australia thus possesses.
The “first fleet” sailed from Portsmouth on the 20th of April; it consisted of His Majesty’s surveying ships, Rapid and Cygnet, and the South Australian Colonial ships, Duke of York, Lady Mary Pelham, and John Pirie, the latter commanded by Captain Martin, a gentleman well known and highly respected here, who has been warmly greeted on his return to this port by his numerous friends. The three Colonial ships arrived nearly together about the 16th of August, at the rendezvous, at Nepean Bay, in Kangaroo Island. A small settlement was formed, which was called “King’s Cote.” On the 20th, His Majesty’s ship Rapid arrived with the Surveyor General, Colonel Light, and two of his Assistants. Colonel Light, who has old intimate friends, served with high distinction in the Quarter master General’s Department, of the second division of the Peninsula Army. He was one of those officers especially appointed by Lord Hill to be “in advance,” and was constantly within the shortest possible distance of the enemy’s posts so that Lord Hill depended upon them for information of every, even the slightest movement. His abilities, as a military Surveyor and Draftsman, are of very high order, and we rejoice to find that he has received a lucrative and honourable appointment in the new Colony. His Majesty’s ship Buffalo, with His Excellency Governor Hindmarsh, Captain R. N. and the whole of the functionaries, civil and military on board, including a detachment of one Captain, two Subalterns, and sixty Privates of the Royal Marines, was to sail, at the latest in the first week in June, and is therefore of course long ‘ere now at her destination. It is remarkable, that Captain Martin and the other Commanders, although their passage was of four months, and their vessel crowded with stock, particularly pure Saxon sheep of the best description which could be obtained landed the whole in perfect safety. The attention which these excellent officers must have shown to their duties, needs no comment.
After a short stay at Nepean Bay, the expedition proceeded to the Gulph of St. Vincent’s in search of a position where to establish the first Settlement. Colonel Light with one of his Assistants, surveyed the coast in a whale boat from Cape Jervis upwards — so also Captain Martin and the commanders of the other ships. The gulph boundary was found to be composed of continued bays, forming excellent harbours and anchorage, abounding in fine rivers, and with a country of the best description, suited for every purpose of colonization. Nothing was finally decided upon as to the permanent seat of the Colony, as the arrival of Captain Hindmarsh was awaited for that purpose; but after much careful examination, Colonel Light fixed upon a spot for the formation of the first Settlement. It is as small bay, forming an arch of a circle of about three miles circumference, with a fine river emptying itself in the centre. The Colonel described it as “the most delightful spot he ever saw!” The whole of the new Colonists and their families, with the live stock, frames of houses, agricultural materials — in a word, the whole contents of the little fleet were landed, and the work of colonization was set about with the utmost zeal and alacrity, the most perfect harmony prevailing amongst all. So soon as the ships were cleared, the Duke of York, Lady Mary Pelman, and John Pirie were dispatched to this port for supplies, being furnished abundantly with pecuniary resources to purchase whatever may be considered necessary. Mr. Orr, is appointed agent here for the Colony. Every exertion is making to return with the least possible delay, and a regular intercourse will be kept up between the two Colonies by means of the Colonial ships.
This is so hasty a notice of the establishment of another admirable “off-set” of the beloved “Father Land,” that it is of necessity a mere outline. We shall not fail to make public the proceedings at this interesting Colony as they from time to time reach us, and we have the satisfaction of having an established correspondent, upon whom we can rely for the best and fullest information. It is a fact not unworthy of notice that the Chief Colonization Commissioner, the opulent Mr. Montefiore is the first Gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, who has ever been honoured with a Royal Commission, directly addressed to him. Few men in the City of London are more highly, or more deservedly respected.
We close this notice with the announcement of the first South Australian marriage which took place at “Kingscote,” on the 24th September, by the union of Samuel Stephens, Esq., Chief Agent of the Colonization Company, to Miss Charlotte Hudson Beare, daughter of Thomas Beare, Esq., of Winchester.
— Tasmanian, October, 14th.
The Sydney Monitor (Sydney, NSW), 2 November 1836, p. 2
Also published in:
The Sydney Herald (Sydney, NSW), 3 November 1836, p. 2
[Editor: Corrected “April?” to “April;” (confirmed with the same article as published in The Sydney Herald).]