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The history of South Australia from its foundation to the year of its jubilee (Volume 1) online

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April, 1861, the Governor announced, among other
things, the receipt of a despatch from the Duke of
Newcastle, stating that her Majesty would be advised
to introduce a Bill into the Imperial Parliament to
give her Majesty power to annex to South Australia
the tract of land lying between the western boundary
of South Australia and the eastern boundary of Western
Australia, and also, at some future time, to extend the
colony northward,

During the session the Immigration Question gave
rise to a long and spirited debate, and resulted in the
passing of resolutions in both Houses for the resumption
of free immigration, leaving it to the Ministry to exercise
a certain amount of discretion in the matter.

On the 3rd of December the protracted labours of
the session were brought to an end, and as it was the
last occasion on which the Governor expected to meet
the Parliament of South Australia, he delivered an
address of more than ordinary length.

In congratulating the members on the aspect of affairs
in the colony, he said, " If there is less excitement than
at some former periods there is more substantial
prosperity and solid advancement. All classes of the
labouring population find ready and remunerative
employment, while, owing to the low prices of pro-
visions and other necessaries of life, their material
comforts are greater than they have been for many
years. Fresh tracts of country are being continually
occupied; new sources of mineral wealth are being


opened up, and Divine Providence has again favoured
us with abundant crops."

He congratulated them on the boon conferred by the
Real Property Act, providing for increased facilities,
cheapness, and simplicity in all dealings with land ; on
the volunteer movement and the additional security of
the colony; and on general subjects connected with
the administration.

In looking back on the past six years of the history
of the colony the period covered by his term of office
he said :

" When I landed here in June, 1855, there was not a
mile of railway opened in the colony ; now there are
fifty-seven miles in use, over which annually rolls a
traffic of more than 150,000 tons and 320,000 passengers.
Your coasts have been lit with three additional first-
class lights, and three additional harbours have come
into extensive use. Your population has grown from
86,000 to nearly 130,000, whilst the exports of colonial
produce have risen from less than 691,000 in 1855 to
1,808,000 for the year ending the 30th of June last.
When I landed there were scarcely sixty miles of made
road in the colony, whereas now, independent of those
in the city, there are over two hundred miles; and
instead of 160,000 acres only in cultivation, there
cannot be less now than 460,000 a number greater in
proportion to the population than obtains in any other
portion of her Majesty's dominions, or, indeed, in any
other part of the world with which I am acquainted.
It is, moreover, since 1855 that the first telegraph post
was erected in this colony, and yet you already possess
600 miles of telegraph communication, and nearly
1000 miles of wire, together with twenty-six stations.
It is also since 1855 that the explorations of Mr. Stuart
and others have added so much to our geographical
knowledge, filling up the large blank spaces which had
so long defaced the map of South Australia, and
usefully opening up the country to further settlement.
Above all, it is since my arrival here that the great
experiment has been tried of entrusting the general


mass of the people, through their immediate representa-
tives, with power to control completely the taxation
and expenditure of the country and direct its general

On the day of prorogation valedictory addresses were
presented from the members of both Houses to the
retiring Governor, and expressions of regret on their
part, no less than on his, were warmly exchanged.

On the evening of the 23rd of December, a large
body of German colonists, having resolved to present
a valedictory address to Sir Eichard, formed a torch-
light procession, and, preceded by a band of music,
and accompanied by the members of the Liedertafel,
proceeded to Government House. Some thousands
assembled to witness the novel and effective demon-
stration. Two hundred and fifty torches were lighted,
Bengal lights were burnt, and finally a bonfire was
made of the torches. The address was signed by 1326
German colonists.

The name of Sir Eichard MacDonnell will ever
remain identified with the most interesting and most
important period of South Australian history the
transition of the colony from a state of comparative
dependence to the enjoyment of a Constitution which,
while it imposed an enormous, weighty, and responsible
trust, involving the almost absolute control of all local
interests, at the same time gave an independence which
should endure and carry its blessings with it, through
all time.

So great a favourite was Sir Eichard, and so essential
to the welfare of the colony was his presence regarded
that a memorial was drawn up, praying her Majesty to
extend his term of service ; but, as Sir Eichard pointed
out to the leaders of this movement, he could not
forward a document of the kind in which he himself
might be regarded as personally interested, and, more-
over, at that time a despatch had been received from
the Duke of Newcastle, stating that Sir Dominick Daly
had been appointed his successor.




MARCH, 1862 FEBRUARY, 1868.

Coming and Departing Guests. An Irish Gentleman. Warlike
Times. Volunteering. Explorations. McKinlay. Burke
and Wills. Return of J. M. Stuart after crossing and re-
crossing the Continent. A Great Ovation. Geological Survey
by Mr. Hargreaves. " No Man's Land." Ministerial Difficul-
ties. The English Mail Service. An Intercolonial Conference.
" No Confidence " Motions. Retirement of M.P.'s. Red
Rust in Wheat. Party Spirit. The Northern Territory. A
Terrible Responsibility. Waste Lands in North Australia A
Survey Expedition. Mr. B. T. Finniss Government Resident.
A Pioneer Expedition. Misunderstandings. Recall of Mr. Fin-
niss. Mr. G. W. Goyder sent out. The Squatter Question.
Revaluations of Land. Unprecedented Drought. Loss of
Stock. Visit of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. A Round of
Gaieties. Attempted Assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh
at Sydney. Death of Sir Dominick Daly. Funeral. Review
of his Administration.

SIR DOMINICK DALY arrived at Port Adelaide early in
the morning of March 4, 1862, so early, in fact, as to
disarrange all preconcerted plans for his reception, and
he and his family had to walk to the railway station.
The ceremony of swearing-in took place at Government
House the same day, when Sir Richard MacDonnell,
" as a private individual," delivered a kindly and
generous address of congratulation.

Later in the day the new Governor, accompanied by
Sir Richard, reviewed the volunteer corps (numbering


from six hundred to seven hundred) in the presence
of some five or six thousand spectators. It was rather
an anomalous demonstration, as it was originally de-
signed in honour of Sir Kichard, who had taken a
lively interest in the volunteer movement during the
whole period of his administration, and it now had to
serve a double purpose to " welcome the coming and
speed the parting guest."

It must be admitted that the day of departure of a
Governor who had made himself decidedly and de-
servedly popular was not the most appropriate day for
the arrival and inauguration of his successor, but in the
circumstances it could not be arranged otherwise.

Sir Dominick Daly's antecedents were good. In
1822, at the age of twenty-four, he left Ireland as
private secretary to Sir Francis Burton, who in that
year went out as Governor of Lower Canada. In 1827
Mr. Daly received the appointment of Provincial
Secretary of Lower Canada, and upon the union of
Upper and Lower Canada in 1840 he was promoted to
the Secretaryship of the United Provinces, an office he
held until 1848, during which period he became not
only thoroughly acquainted with the routine work of
colonial government, but also with the working out of
responsible government.

Sir J. W. Kaye, the biographer of Lord Metcalfe,
who was Governor of Lower Canada during a portion
of this period, says of Mr. Daly :

" He was an Irishman and a Eoman Catholic, and
although for the latter reason his sympathies were
strongly with the French people, or had been so long
as they were oppressed by the dominant race, his
feelings, the growth of education and early association,
were of a conservative and aristocratic cast. All Met-
calfe's informants represented him to be a man of high
honour and integrity, of polished manners and courteous
address a good specimen of an Irish gentleman. It
was added that he was possessed of judgment and
prudence, tact and discretion in short, a man to be


During the four years he was in England he was
entrusted with some important commissions by the
Home Government, and in 1852 he was appointed to
his first colonial Governorship, that of Tobago, one of
the Windward Islands. In 1854 he was promoted to
the Government of Prince Edward Island, and occupied
that post for six years. In 1856 he was created a
Knight Bachelor, and in 1859 returned to England,
where he remained until he received the appointment
of Governor of South Australia.

The time at which Sir Dominick assumed the office
of Governor was one of some anxiety, reports having
reached the colony that a war between England and
the United States was not improbable in consequence
of the seizure by a Federal war steamer of two
passengers, Messrs. Slidell and Mason, Confederate
commissioners to England and France, on board the Eng-
lish mail steamer Trent in the Bahama Channel. How
an apology was demanded by the English Government,
and how the United States Government surrendered
the " rebels," thereby averting a war between the two
countries, is matter of well-known history. The " great
review," which signalized the advent of Sir Dominick
Daly, occurring in such warlike times, was an appro-
priate demonstration. It so happened, too, that it was
the closing term of the first really important volunteer
movement in the colony that is to say, it brought to
an end the three years' service of the first enrolment of
unpaid volunteers. Unfortunately, martial zeal was a
difficult thing to sustain in the colony, and the unpaid
volunteer system fell somewhat into disfavour, although
in the following year a second enrolment was resorted
to for a further period of three years. " In order to
continue the renewal of the services of the trained
volunteers they were offered, as an inducement to sign
the new roll, the free gift of the rifles and accoutrements
then in their keeping. But it was felt that the day.
was gone by when men would continue to attend drill
without some compensation for loss of time, and this
disinclination was shown in the gradual falling off in


the numbers present on field-days." In 1866, there-
fore, an Act was passed subsequently amended in
many important details which made the volunteer
military force a paid body.

The association for rifle practice, originated and
warmly supported by Sir Richard MacDonnell, con-
tinued to flourish, and developed into the " South
Australian National Rifle Association," recognized by
the Government and encouraged by a special Act of
Parliament as an Auxiliary Volunteer Military Force.

The question of the defence of the colony was one
that was continually cropping up, and in the days when
the unpaid volunteer force was in full vigour many
imaginary invasions took place, and on several occasions,
in order to keep the force in a state of preparation, a
prearranged signal would rouse the peaceful colonists
from their slumbers to go forth in the dead of night
to engage in sanguinary conflict with the supposed

Sometimes the volunteers rendered important service
and gave to the colonists a sense of security they would
not otherwise have had. For example : in consequence
of the urgent necessity that existed for the presence of
all the available troops stationed in the Australian
colonies to assist in suppressing the war with the
Maories in New Zealand, the detachment of the
40th Regiment located at Adelaide was allowed, in
October, 1863, to leave the colony for the seat of war.

In April, 1865, a commission, appointed to inquire
into the best-means of protecting the coast in the event
of invasion, gave in its report and recommended the
procuring from England of ten or twelve guns of heavy
calibre ; the erection of batteries at such points of the
coast as would most effectually protect the ports and
townships within range of the enemy's guns from the
sea; the purchase of a complete equipment for a full
battery of rifled field artillery to be manned by a local
force; the maintenance, under strict military discipline,
of a paid force of seven hundred infantry and two
hundred artillery ; that encouragement should be given.


to the colonists to obtain a knowledge of the use of the
rifle and of simple military movements with a view to
their acting as volunteer auxiliaries to the paid body ;
and that a supply of the most approved rifles for at
least two thousand men should be procured. Several
of these recommendations were fully carried out.

The absorbing topic in the early days of Sir Domi-
nick Daly's administration, and more or less throughout
that whole period, was not " rude war's alarms," but the
victories of peace, especially those gained by Australia's
great explorers. Mr. J. M. Stuart had, as we have
seen,* gone forth for the fifth time to attempt the
gigantic feat of crossing the continent, and Messrs.
Burke and Wills, under the auspices of the Victorian
Government, had been sent out upon a similar errand.
Unhappily the latter expedition, although successful in
being the first to cross the continent, ended in a terrible

Towards the end of 1862 there occurred some of the
most exciting incidents in connection with South
Australian exploration. In October information was
received that Mr. McKinlay and his party, who had
been despatched on an expedition with a view to
render assistance, if not too late, to the Burke and
Wills party from Victoria, and, if possible, to explore
the neighbourhood of Lake Eyre, had returned by quite
an unexpected route. It appeared that he proceeded
direct to Cooper's Creek, where, from the accounts of
the natives and the discovery of what was supposed to
be the body of Gray, one of the missing explorers, he
concluded that the whole of Burke's party had been
murdered, and, accordingly, he sent messengers to
Blanchewater with this painful intelligence. Before
their return, however, he found memorials left by Mr.
Howitt, who had been sent out by the Victorian
Government, recording the terrible fate of Burke and
Wills. When McKinlay's messengers returned, they
brought fuller particulars of the tragedy, together with
information that the Victorian Government intended
* See p. 345.


to despatch a party to convey the remains of the un-
fortunate explorers to Melbourne. In endeavouring to
carry out his instructions to head Lake Eyre and
return by the western shores of that lake, Mr. McKinlay
was suddenly surrounded by a heavy flood, and was
obliged, with his party, to remain for several days upon
a sand-hill. It was with the greatest difficulty he
made his escape, as the country was one vast sheet of
water that same country which had but a short time
previously been a desert, dry, and without a sign of
vegetation. The flood waters ran apparently into a
basin so wide and deep that Mr. McKinlay was unable
to pass by the head of the lake as instructed, and this
led him so far towards the Gulf of Carpentaria, that he
determined to push on there and obtain a supply of
provisions from the Victorian steamer, sent to that gulf
to assist any party successful in crossing the continent.
He was disappointed in the expectation of obtaining
supplies, and being short of the commonest necessaries,
it was imperative that he should at once take the
shortest route to settled districts. He accordingly
made for Port Denison, where he obtained the needful
supplies. Although he had departed from his instruc-
tions in making his bold dash to the northward, he had
solved the great problem, and had succeeded in crossing
over to the Gulf of Carpentaria almost in the footsteps
of Burke and Wills.

A handsome public presentation was made to Mr.
McKinlay, and the Legislature also voted the sum of
1000 as an acknowledgment of his valuable services.

But the idol of the people was, without doubt, John
McDouall Stuart, whose return was awaited with
almost feverish anxiety. In the mean time, however,
and as if to bring home to them with renewed force
the hazards and perils of interior exploration, they were
to witness a scene which none who beheld should ever

In December, 1862, the remains of the missing
explorers, Messrs. Burke and Wills, were brought by
Mr. Howitt and his party to Adelaide, from Cooper's


Creek, en route to Melbourne, from whence these
gallant but unfortunate men had started with a view to
cross the continent. The streets of Adelaide were
lined by thousands of sympathetic spectators, who, with
uncovered heads, surrounded by emblems of mourning,
and amid the clangour of tolling bells, viewed the mourn-
ful procession as it passed on its way from the railway
station to the barracks. Much respect was shown to
Mr. Howitt, who, in addition to the objects of his special
mission, had made important explorations affecting the
interests of South Australia.

Only a few days after the remains of the daring but
unsuccessful explorers, Burke and Wills, had left
Adelaide by steamer for Melbourne, the gratifying in-
telligence was received from the far north that Mr.
J. M. Stuart and his party had returned to the settled
districts after successfully crossing and recrossing the
continent. There was not a man in all South Australia
whose heart did not swell with gratitude, pride, and
satisfaction, on receiving this news, and every scrap of
information was eagerly devoured. The party consisted
of J. M. Stuart, W. Kekwick, F. W. Thring, W. P.
Auld, S. King, J. Billiatt, J. F. New, H. Nash, J.
McGorrerey, J. W. Waterhouse, amongst whom the
Government grant of 3500 was divided.

It appeared that within three months after leaving
Chambers' Creek, the party arrived at Newcastle
Waters, from whence the work of fresh exploration
really commenced. After several unsuccessful attempts
to get beyond the dense forest and scrub already
described, Stuart came upon a succession of ponds.
Pushing forward past a permanent sheet of water,
named the Daly Waters, in honour of the Governor,
he entered upon a fine, well-watered country, and in
about 150 of south latitude came upon the river
Strangways, which, in a few days' travel, led to the
river Eoper. Mr. Stuart considered the country in the
neighbourhood of the Eoper the finest he had seen ;
the soil excellent, grass rich and abundant, the river
banks richly lined with cabbage trees, cane, bamboo,


and other shrubs. Passing to the northward, they
followed down the river for some distance, and then
made for the Adelaide river, which they reached
on the 10th of July. Here, in the midst of lovely
scenery and luxuriant vegetation, with birds of splendid
plumage, and with abounding creeks and watercourses,
they lingered for a few days, travelling gently down
the river, and every step bringing them nearer to the
sea-coast, a fact which Stuart kept from the knowledge
of the, rest of the party, in order to give them a joyous
surprise. The story of the approach to the sea may
best be told in Stuart's own words.

" At eight and a half miles came up to a broad
valley of black alluvial soil, covered with long grass ;
from this I can hear the wash of the sea. On the other
side of the valley, which is rather more than a quarter
of a mile wide, is growing a line of thick heavy bushes,
very dense, showing that to be the boundary of the
beach. Crossed the valley and entered the scrub,
which was a complete network of vines; stopped the
horses to clear the way whilst I advanced a few yards
on to the beach, and was delighted and gratified to
behold the waters of the Indian Ocean in Van Diemen's
Gulf, before the party with the horses knew anything
of its proximity. Thring, who rode in advance of me,
called out, ' The sea ! ' which so took them all by sur-
prise that he had to repeat the call before they fully
understood what was meant ; hearing which, they gave
three long and hearty cheers. The beach is covered
with a soft blue mud ; it being ebb tide I could see
some distance ; found it would be impossible for me to
take the horses along it ; I, therefore, kept them where
I had halted them, and allowed half the party to come
on to the beach and gratify themselves by a sight of
the sea, while the other half waited to watch the
horses until their return. I dipped my feet and washed
my face and hands in the sea, as I promised the late
Governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell, I would do if I
reached it. ... I returned to the valley, where I
had my initials cut on a large tree (J. M. D. S.), as


I intended putting my flag up at the mouth of the

" Thus have I, through the instrumentality of Divine
Providence, been led to accomplish the great object of
the expedition, and take the whole party through as
witnesses to the fact, and through one of the finest
countries man would wish to pass good to the coast,
and with a stream of running water within half a mile
of the sea. From Newcastle Waters to the sea-beach the
main body of the horses have only been one night with-
out water, and then got it within the next day. If this
country is settled, it will be one of the finest colonies
under the Crown, suitable for the growth of any and
every thing. What a splendid country for producing
cotton ! Judging from the number of the pathways from
the water to the beach, across the valley, the natives must
be very numerous. We have not seen any, although
we have passed many of their recent tracks and en-
campments. The cabbage and fan-palm trees have
been very plentiful during to-day's journey down to
this valley."

On the next day, Mr. Stuart having determined to
recross the continent, he had an open space cleared,
selected one of the tallest trees, stripped it of its lowest
branches, and on its highest branch fixed the Union Jack
with his name sewn in the centre, amid the cheers of
the whole party. A paper, enclosed in an air-tight
case, was buried one foot south of the tree, bearing this
inscription :


" The exploring party under the command of John
McDouall Stuart arrived at this spot on the 25th day
of July, 1862, having crossed the entire continent of
Australia, from the Southern to the Indian Ocean,
passing through the centre. They left the city of
Adelaide on the 26th day of October, 1861, and the
most northern station of the colony on the 21st of


January, 1862. To commemorate this happy event
they have raised this flag bearing his name. All well.
God save the Queen ! "

The return journey was accomplished with difficulty :
first, from the weak state of the horses ; next, from the
annoyances of natives, who set fire to the grass and
otherwise hindered their progress ; and, finally, from the
severe sickness of Mr. Stuart. As the party neared
the centre he was seized with a violent attack of
illness, from which he did not expect to recover. He
had been suffering from scurvy for some time pre-
viously, his eyesight nearly failed him, and at one time
he almost lost the power of speech. It is sad to read
an entry in his journal, under date of October 31,
where, after "thanking Almighty God that, in His
infinite goodness and mercy, He had so far prolonged

Online LibraryEdwin HodderThe history of South Australia from its foundation to the year of its jubilee (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 34)