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the thatch the only ceiling, broad square windows
letting in the sunshine to waken sleepers, and a very
shaky deal structure called a pulpit.

" There were two square pews with doors, which were
thought much of by the two families who sat in them ;
two benches with arms and backs occupied by families
next in honour, while ordinary folk sat on slabs of wood
propped up on bricks. At one time a sofa-bedstead,
and at another a chest of drawers with a saddle on the
top, were kept in the church.

" But if the place was primitive, the people were also.
The drone of the singing, the waving of the peppermint-
gum branches to keep away the flies, the minister's
little boy on the pulpit-step catching flies by the dozen
by that slow movement of the hand peculiar to the
young colonial, the old-fashioned toilets, and the dogs !
Very cheerful chat used to go on outside the door before
and after service, and sometimes dinner was taken there,
so as to be ready for school in the afternoon. The
children were marvels of unknowing freshness. A
teacher showing a picture to a little boy in the Sunday
school, of a man cutting down a tree, the child examined
it with the keenest interest, and then said, ' I reckon
he'll have it down by next Sunday.'" *

* Quoted in "Jubilee Record of Congregationalism," by Rev.
F. W. Cox.

1845.] THE REV. C. B. HOWARD. 197

The affairs of the Church of England had not, prior
to this year (1845), been in so flourishing a condition as
might have been expected. The Rev. C. B. Howard
had laboured alone till 1840, when the Rev. James
Farrell arrived to share in the work, which had largely
increased. In addition to the Church of the Holy
Trinity, there was by that time St. John's, in the
eastern part of the city, and shortly afterwards places
of worship were erected at the Port and on the Sturt,
and these two clergymen performed the services at
the two city churches regularly, and at the other two

In 1840 the South Australian Church Building
Society was formed for the purpose of aiding in the
erection of churches and Sunday schools. Mr. Howard
worked very arduously and earnestly in this cause, and
his death in July, 1843, at the early age of thirty-six,
was attributed in large measure to anxiety with regard
to the responsibility he had undertaken as a trustee in
this matter. On the 23rd of July he was buried.
The Government offices were closed ; the Governor and
most of the officials, the soldiery, police, ministers of
all denominations, citizens, and Sunday-school children,
formed part of the imposing funeral cortege, and it is
scarcely an exaggeration to say that his loss was
mourned by every man, woman, and child in the place.
After the death of Mr. Howard, the Rev. J. Farrell
was the only clergyman in the colony, and remained
so for two or three years. By his energy in raising
funds, Trinity Church, which had become heavily en-
cumbered by debt, was saved from being disposed of
as a granary or store, or from falling into the hands of
the Roman Catholics both dangers being imminent.

The year 1845 was one of marked tranquillity,
although not without alarms of various kinds. On two
occasions the colonists were greatly agitated on the
question of convictism. Early in the year, it was
announced that the home Government intended to send
out a shipment of the Parkhurst prison boys. This
was regarded as a gross infraction of the principles


upon which the colony was founded, and at once a large
meeting was called, which pledged itself to resist by all
lawful means the introduction of such characters into
the province. A memorial to Lord Stanley was drawn
up, and in the end the memorialists carried the day.

Later in the year (September), there was another
scare, and this time the threatened danger was the
proposed introduction of conditionally pardoned men
from Van Diemen's Land.

The following notice had been published in the
Tasmanian newspapers : " Notice is hereby given to all
holders of conditional pardons who may be desirous of
having such pardons extended to the limits of the
Australian colonies and New Zealand, that upon making
their application for the said extension of indulgence
to this office, they will be laid before the Lieutenant-
General in order that those approved of by his Excellency
may be immediately granted."

The ordeal of trial by public meeting was again
resorted to, and a vigorous protest was made with good
effect ; the conditionally pardoned men never came to
the colony.

Another source of anxiety was the extraordinary
prevalence of bush-fires. They generally occurred on
the Mount Lofty ranges, and in the height of summer
presented a scene of great grandeur. They had a
singular effect on the atmosphere, sometimes reproducing
an Etna or a Vesuvius, at others extending for a con-
siderable distance along the sides or tops of the hills,
causing a lurid glare, and sending up dense volumes of
smoke. In proportion as population increased, great
damage was done to property, and active steps were
taken to prevent these fires ; but their origin was always
involved in doubt, many ascribing them to ignition
by friction of the long dry grass, to the firing of the
country by the natives in order the more readily to
obtain wild animals, to the carelessness of travellers
who did not properly stamp out their camp-fires, or to
smokers scattering the live ashes of their pipes on the
dry grass or other inflammable substances.


The greatest event of the year had to do, not with
fears and alarms, but with a discovery which was to
prove a source of incalculable wealth and prosperity to
the colony.

Towards the middle of June, it was reported that in
the far north a shepherd had accidentally stumbled on
a lump of copper ore, of almost incredible richness and
purity, cropping out of the surface, and that he had
brought specimens into Adelaide. It was further
stated that the deposit of copper was traceable for
fifteen miles, and was visible for a breadth of from
fifteen to twenty feet. There was so much secrecy
kept as to the locality that many pretended to regard
the affair as a hoax ; those in the secret assured them-
selves, however, of the correctness of the shepherd's
report, and an application was forthwith made to the
Governor for a special survey of twenty thousand acres
in one block, in accordance with the Crown lands
regulations. Captain Grey was willing enough to
further the object, but a monetary difficulty arose.
How was the requisite 20,000 to be raised ? The
colony was only beginning to recover from its financial
embarrassments, and hard cash was a very scarce
commodity, the banks collectively having at that time
only about 25,000 in coin and bullion, and neither
bank-notes, promissory notes, nor anything short of
gold, silver, or copper coin was accepted at the Treasury
in payment for land. There was no time to be lost,
for if the news of the discovery reached England, or
even one or more of the other colonies, the prize might
pass out of the hands of South Australians altogether.

As the first applicants were unable to raise the
necessary funds, one or two other parties combined
and made the attempt, but were also unsuccessful.
The first applicants, as might be supposed, entered their
protest against the second party, and as neither could
succeed, war waged between them. Those two
organised parties were known familiarly as the
" Nobs " and the " Snobs," the former being leading
capitalists, and the latter, for the most part, tradesmen.


Mr. William Giles, the manager of the South Australian
Company, might be considered as a third party, he
having offered to advance .10,000, leaving the Nobs, or
capitalists, to make up the remainder. But even this
was not forthcoming, and the tradesmen tried to coalesce
with Mr. Giles. As, however, their offer was not accepted,
they determined to prevent the other side from entering
the field by withdrawing from the bank the amount of
their united funds in specie !

At this stage the Governor, seeing there was so wide
a division in the camp, postponed for a few days the
time for receiving tenders for the coveted block of land,
and this gave the rival parties an opportunity to mature
their plans no easy matter, while excitement re-
mained at white heat and suspense almost unbearable.
Previous to the Governor's determination becoming
known, Mr. Giles and his party had offered 12,000
in sovereigns and the cheque of the bank for the
remaining 8000. Another party followed with a
somewhat similar offer, having raised the sum of
10,000 by the sale of property and the payment of
exorbitant premiums for money, the bank having
refused to discount their bills, or make them any
advance for the projected speculation.

Ultimately Mr. Giles withdrew from the contest,
leaving the two rival parties in possession of the field,
and as neither could separately obtain the prize, they
agreed to become joint purchasers and participators in
the coveted treasure. Their application for the twenty
thousand acres at Burra Creek was lodged with the
Governor on the 18th of August, only two days prior
to the limit of time allowed by the Government for
completing the purchase, and the 20,000 in specie was
duly paid into the Treasury.

Although the two parties agreed to unite for the
purchase of the land, they did not intend to work the
mine in concert, and arrangements were therefore
made for a division of the property into northern and
southern blocks, the possession to be decided by lot.
The northern and richest half fell to the " Snobs," or


tradesmen's party, who were henceforth known as the
South Australian Mining Association, and their mine
as the Burra, while the southern half was called the
Princess Koyal Mine.*

The Burra Mine is situated about a hundred miles
from Adelaide, the road being for the most part over
level or gently undulating ground. The hills in the
mineral district range generally north and south, and
vary from 2000 to 2500 feet above the sea-leve'l.

In the course of two or three years the 5 shares
became worth 220, a fact in the history of mining
at that time probably unparalleled. For the first six
years the produce of the mines amounted to nearly
80,000 tons of copper ore, and the profit obtained on
the working for that period was no less than 438,552,
or nearly half a million. These results were arrived at
under several disadvantages, but chiefly from the absence
of machinery, the amount of unskilled labour, and the
distance the ore had to be conveyed over unmade

When at the end of June, 1845, and shortly after
the discovery of the Burra Mine, Captain Grey called
the Legislative Council together for the despatch of
public business, his opening address was of a highly
gratifying character. He was able to announce that
the finances of the colony were in a very satisfactory
state; the Government was able to make prompt
payment of all obligations it had contracted, and
rapid progress was being made in the general wealth
and prosperity. One of the most important measures
brought forward in the Legislative Council in this
year by the Governor, was a Bill for the repeal of
the pilotage, tonnage, wharfage, and all other port

* " The effect of the combination to purchase the Burra-Burra
mines was," says the biographer of Sir George Grey, "that the
ownership was thus distributed amongst a very large number of
deserving people, who, with their families, enjoyed considerable
benefits from these rich mines for many years. This effort to
spread as widely as possible the advantages arising from the owner-
ship of lands or mines, or, indeed, any of the forces of Nature, was
tj-pical of Captain Grey's lifelong desire."


and harbour dues and charges, thus opening Port Ade-
laide and all other ports within the province to ships
of all nations, free of expense in entering, remain-
ing, and departing. To make up for any monetary
deficiency certain judicious customs duties were im-
posed. It was a measure that not only created great
surprise, but gave unqualified satisfaction, and a public
meeting was held to accord the thanks of all classes of
the community to the Governor, and to pledge them-
selves to give him their support. As a matter of fact
he stood in the proud position of being the first in the
Australian colonies to follow the enlightened policy
originally adopted by Sir Stamford Raffles at Singapore.
Besides the increase of trade and traffic that would
ensue, it would also ensure a sufficient supply of
shipping to convey the export produce of the colony
to the British or other markets. During the previous
export season there had been some 6000 tons of colonial
produce for shipment, and there was only the prospect
of sufficient shipping to convey 3000 tons, while the
want of hundreds of tons of shipping was actually

It was a curious fact that whereas during the period
of the financial crisis the colonists could not say any-
thing severe enough with regard to the administration
of the Governor, in 1844-45, when it was found that he
had successfully tided them over their difficulties, they
were equally at a loss to find adequate words of praise.

At the close of the session, the members of the
Council thanked him for his kind bearing to them
individually and collectively, and expressed their
conviction that " the urbanity of his manners to them,
and the courteous attention he had given to their
opinions and suggestions, had conduced to that perfect
freedom of discussion which was necessary to the
efficiency of the Council as a legislative body, and so
essential to its obtaining the confidence of the whole

Alas ! that the recognition of merit came so late in
this case as in so many others. Only two months later,


and the rumour ran through the colony that Captain
Grey had been appointed to the Governorship of New
Zealand, on the ground of his peculiar qualifications
for dealing with the natives, who were in a disturbed
state, and that Major Eobe was to succeed him.

A forensic mania had set in. The English news-
papers brought an account of the addresses in the
Imperial Parliament on the appointment ; how Lord
John Eussell, in an excellent speech, had said that, in
giving Captain Grey the government of South Australia,
he had given him as difficult a problem in colonial
administration as could be committed to any man.
" And I must say," added Lord John, " that, after four
or five years' experience of his administration there, he
has solved that problem with a degree of energy and
success which I could hardly have expected from any
one. He has extricated the colony and gained the good
will both of settlers and aborigines."

Not less flattering was the testimony borne by Sir
Eobert Peel to the character and efficient services of
Captain Grey.

When, therefore, on the 20th of October, he an-
nounced to the Legislative Council that so soon as the
Elphinstone would be ready to proceed to sea he would,
in pursuance of her Majesty's commands, hand over
the administration of the Government to the officer
who had been sent out to relieve him, the voice of
the whole people was heard in lamentation for their
loss and praise for the leader they had so little
appreciated, and all the intervening days of his sojourn
in Adelaide were spent in receiving and replying to

On Sunday, the 26th of October, the Elphinstone
weighed anchor and proceeded on her voyage with
Captain Grey on board, bound for the scene of his
new, but at that time not very promising field of
labour, and bearing with him the respect, good will,
and good wishes of almost every settler in South

He had lived down incessant, flagrant, and altogether


unmerited abuse and opposition, conscious that he was
in the right and that his motives were pure ; he had
proceeded from first to last in a straight line of policy,
with judgment, decision, and firmness, and his reward
was in the fact that he had saved the colony from a
chaotic state, and placed it on a sound and solid basis,
and had proved himself one of the foremost political
and financial reformers of his day.

From the day when Captain Grey received the first
inkling of his appointment to the Governorship of South
Australia, to the day when he quitted it to take office
in New Zealand, he was greatly indebted to the wisdom,
experience, and sagacity of Mr. George Fife Angas,
who probably knew more of the actual condition of the
colony than any other man then living. A series of
valuable letters, many of which are preserved in the
public library at Auckland, New Zealand,* were written
by him, and were extremely helpful to the Governor
throughout his administration.

"The friendship of these two men," says the biographer
of Sir George Grey, " commenced when the young ex-
plorer was in England, in 1840. Anxious to learn the
views of a man so interested and experienced in questions
of colonization, on the Government project of founding
a colony on the north coast of Australia, Grey sought
and obtained an interview with Mr. Angas. The
latter strenuously opposed the plan, foreseeing many
difficulties and disasters. Years afterwards, he raised his
voice in the Legislative Council of South Australia against
the proposed settlement being made, except as a purely
tropical colony, with aid from Calcutta and London.

" Mr. G. F. Angas was one of the most sincere and
untiring friends a young colony ever had. A director
of the Company under whose auspices South Australia
was founded, he lost no opportunity of doing it a service,
sparing neither time, money, nor personal effort in its

* This voluminous correspondence, and certified copies of the
letters in the Auckland library, are in the present possession of the
writer, but instead of quoting it, an extract from the " Life of Sir
George Grey " is given in preference.


cause. At the same time, he strongly disapproved of
the extravagance which characterized the new com-
munity. No words can be more decided than those he
used on this subject in writing to Captain Grey, in
1843 :

" ' You know my views as to the absolute necessity of
settlers in a new colony adopting the most rigid economy
in all their establishments and expenditure. A neglect
of this has been the curse of South Australia, and the
ruin of its best interests, and nothing has made it
greater enemies at home and abroad.'

" These letters are remarkably interesting. They con-
tain an account of the formation of the South Australian
Society, and its first prospectus. They form a record
of what was done by this one man during the term of
Captain Grey's Governorship and residence at Adelaide.
He was indeed helped and cheered by the co-operation
and sympathy of the Governor, who furnished him with
statistics and other information concerning the colony ;
but, in the details of his work, he was practically single-

" He wrote pamphlets, publishing and circulating them
at his own expense ; he obtained interviews with Cabinet
Ministers and other leaders of public opinion ; he
delivered lectures in every town through which he
passed in travelling about Great Britain ; he appointed
agents, who were, he wrote, 'men of influence and
devoted to South Australia,' to perform the same
duties ; he kept up an active correspondence for over
three years with the owners of six or seven hundred
American ships engaged in the South Sea whale-fisheries,
with the object of inducing them to put into South
Australia for their supplies.

" He was in constant communication with European
States, with commercial houses in China, Mauritius,
and Bombay, and with the various missionary societies ;
approaching the latter with a plan for establishing
colleges in Adelaide, at which young men might receive
a suitable training for future work amongst the heathen
of the Pacific islands.


" In every direction from which prosperity might flow
to the colony, Mr. Angas thus laboriously made a
channel for its passage, turning up the sods of ignorance
and apathy. He met with discouragements which would
have caused one who had the real interests of the young
community and of humanity less at heart, to give up
the weary struggle in despair. But, foiled at one point,
Mr. Angas only turned with fresh energy to another.

" Thus he wrote : ' When I found our Government
resolved upon doing nothing for us, I commenced an
active correspondence with the Continent, and I do
confidently expect that we shall get out one hundred
Germans this spring to Adelaide. Often enough, my
spirit sinks under my incessant labour, on the one hand
from the shameful, cruel, and ungrateful treatment I
have met with from many persons in the colony, who
have thereby amply repaid me for having been their
best and most generous friend, and on the other hand
from the utter apathy which universally exists in this
country towards the colony. Still, I will never abandon
the work as long as God enables me to continue it. I
began it with the best of intentions, and I shall not
leave it in this extremity.'

" In February, 1844, he wrote that if his resources had
not been crippled by the dishonesty of agents in South
Australia, he would have been able to send out from
one to two thousand Germans as settlers. ' But,' he
added, ' beaten down as I am with all my troubles, I
will not rest until you have emigration renewed from
this country.'

"Mr. Angas was successful in his introduction of
German colonists, and, at his own expense, settled large
tracts of agricultural country. Many of these com-
munities still retain their Teutonic character. This
experiment worked so well that years afterwards Sir
George Grey, when Governor of Cape Colony, carried
it out on a larger scale, under somewhat different
conditions, and with still more marked success. . . .

" It is a mournful criticism upon the justice of human
judgment to find that after the lapse of a quarter of a

1845] MB. GEORGE FIFE ANGA8. 207

century, when Mr. Angas was upwards of eighty years
of age, his claims to the gratitude of South Australia
and the South Australians were treated with contempt,
his long years of faithful service depreciated, and his
lavish expenditure of money and zeal turned into

" In 1869 Sir George Grey himself, smarting under
unmerited coldness and neglect, received from his old
fellow-worker in South Australia a pathetic letter
claiming his sympathy, and asking Sir George Grey to
bear testimony to the unselfishness of his efforts for the
well-being of the colony, for which, in years long gone
by, they had worked so zealously together. The answer
given must have done much to soothe the wounded
feelings of Mr. Angas, and to vindicate his undoubted
services to the colony.

" The instability of human affairs was thus strikingly
exemplified. Mr. Angas had served the people with a
loyal and unswerving faith, and the people had forsaken
him. Sir George Grey had served the Government of
Great Britain with unexampled vigour and success,
and, as a reward, was dismissed contemptuously. Yet
history will record the deeds and achievements of both
when the names of their detractors are forgotten."*

Of the subsequent brilliant career of Sir George Grey
we cannot concern ourselves in detail here. After
settling the New Zealand difficulty, and bringing the
war to a successful termination, he was made a baronet
and a D.C.L. of the Oxford University. He was ap-
pointed Governor of Cape Colony, and some years
later, by special request of the Colonial Office, again
became Governor of New Zealand, when the long Maori
War at Taranaki was raging. Eventually he took up
his residence in New Zealand as a private citizen,
accepted an office and a seat in the colonial Legislature,
an instance probably without a parallel of a statesman
entering the political arena in the very colony where
he had himself been twice the Governor.

* " Life and Times of Sir George Grey, K.C.B.," by W. L. Eees
and L. Eees. London : 1892.




OCTOBER 25rH, 1845 AUGUST 12m, 1848.

Online LibraryEdwin HodderThe history of South Australia from its foundation to the year of its jubilee (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 34)