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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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his life," he adds

" What a sad difference there is between what I am
now, and what I was when the party left Adelaide !
My right hand nearly useless to me by the accident
from the horse ; total blindness after sunset although
the moon shines bright to others, to me it is total
darkness, and nearly blind during the day ; my limbs
so weak and painful that I am obliged to be carried
about ; my body reduced to that of a living skeleton,
and my strength that of infantine weakness a sad, sad
wreck of former days."

It is difficult, nay impossible, to estimate the im-
portance of Stuart's great enterprise, not only to the
colonies of Australia, but to the world at large. It is
equally impossible to find language that shall not
appear exaggerated to characterize the heroism and
indomitable pluck of this brave and noble man. It is
true he was not the first to cross the continent, although
he was the first to absolutely complete the route from
the southern to the northern coast, for neither Burke
nor McKinlay really saw the northern sea; but he
was the first who laid down a line of route, describing
every step of the way in chart and journal, by which
any one might pass with comparative ease from Ade.-


laide to Adam Bay. How his discoveries were utilized
we shall tell elsewhere.

A great ovation awaited him on his return to Ade-
laide fetes and banquets were given in his honour ;
the Legislature awarded him the sum of 2000 and
proportional gratuities to all the members of his party.
The lease of a large area of land in the north was also
granted to Mr. Stuart rent-free for several years, but
his constitution was so shattered by the exposure to
which he had been subjected in his various explorations
that he did not live long to enjoy his hard-earned
honours. In April, 1864, he proceeded to England in
the hope that the voyage and residence in the mother-
country might to some extent restore his health ; but
this was not to be, and he gradually sank till death put
an end to his short, but useful, career.

Other explorations undertaken during the adminis-
tration of Sir Dominick Paly were useful, but not of
startling interest. With a view to ascertain whether
a payable gold-field really existed in South Australia,
which would not only give employment to many in
the colony, but attract outsiders, the Government
secured the services of Mr. Hargreaves, in 1863, for the
purpose of making a geological survey of the settled
districts. He started on the 31st of October, 1863. and
returned to Adelaide on the 18th of June, 1864, having
examined the country from Cape Jervis, sixty miles
south of Adelaide, to a point 540 miles north of Ade-
laide. He reported that, although gold existed
generally from Cape Jervis to Tanunda, and in paying
quantities in the beds of the Torrens and the Onka-
paringa, he did not consider the precious metal would
be found anywhere in sufficiently large quantities to
justify a " rush."

In September, 1864, Major Warburton started on an
expedition to explore the country north and west of
Mount Margaret, known as "No Man's Land;" but,
after being absent about two months, he returned,
finding it impracticable to proceed in the desired


In June, 1866, he made another attempt to accom-
plish the same object, but was again compelled to
abandon it, and returned to Adelaide, after an absence
of twenty-one weeks.

During that year the Hon. Thomas Elder imported
121 camels from .Kurrachee, which were landed at Port
Augusta, and were found very useful to explorers in
crossing the dry parts of the north country.

We do not propose to give in detail the history of
legislation during the administration of Sir Dominick
Daly. The constant crises, the ever-recurring resigna-
tions, the splits and compromises, which had, it may be,
an absorbing interest in the passing hour, would be
found of little interest now; nor do we propose to
burden our pages with the names of the members of
each successive Parliament, or even the titles of the
multitudinous Bills they passed. We shall, however,
glance at the general action of Parliament during the
period under consideration, and then select for more
detailed notice those measures which had a special and
abiding influence on the colony.

The first meeting of Parliament under Sir Dominick
Daly was held on the 25th of April, and the " vice-
regal speech " was considered rather barren, so far as
regarded the measures promised by Government. One
of the first Acts of both branches of the Legislature
was to send addresses of condolence to her Majesty on
the irreparable loss she had sustained in the death of
the Prince Consort.

In July the Ministry resigned on a question of
" assimilation of tariffs," but, after explanations, the
resignations were withdrawn.

In September the " Ministry, considering that they
had not a sufficient majority to carry on the business
of the country," again placed their resignations in the
hands of the Governor, but an arrangement was made
that the existing Ministry should continue in office
until the prorogation on the 21st of October.

On that occasion Sir Dominick brought under the


notice of the House of Assembly the necessity that
would soon arise for increasing the revenue of the
colony, and expressed the hope that the approaching
Conference at Melbourne would pave the way " for the
introduction of a uniform tariff throughout the colonies,
and for a mutual interchange, free of duty, of articles
of colonial produce." Referring to the measure known
as Sutherland's Act, his Excellency said it "recognized
the sound principle, that increase of population is
necessary alike to occupying fresh country and to
imparting additional value thereto."

The Assessment of Stock Act, by freeing from the
burden of assessment lands at present incapable of
bearing this impost, would, he considered, do much to
promote the occupation and settlement of that enormous
territory made known by the researches and enterprise
of Stuart, McKinlay, and other intrepid explorers, but
which, owing to its distance from an available market,
must otherwise have remained valueless.

For many years the English mail service had been
a bone of contention in the Legislature, and at the
same time an inestimable blessing to the editors of
the local papers, inasmuch as the subject always made
good "copy." The contention was that the geographical
position of the colony was persistently ignored, and
there was only one way of obtaining the mails without
vexatious delay, namely, by sending a branch steamer
for them to King George's Sound. In September, 1862,
the Government accepted the tender of the Australian
Steam Navigation Company for this service at 13 JO
per month, and for several years the anomaly lasted
of the branch steamer arriving at Port Adelaide two
or three days before the ocean steamer reached Mel-
bourne, by which means the English news was tele-
graphed to the neighbouring colonies from Adelaide
about the same time that the ocean steamer would be
passing within two or three hundred miles of Investi-
gator's Straits, on the way to Melbourne. By this
absurd and unjust arrangement, South Australia was
at the expense of a separate service, which supplied the


earliest intelligence to those very colonies which placed
obstacles in the way of obtaining the mails from the
ocean steamers as they passed within a short distance
of a South Australian port.

The first Parliamentary session under Sir Dominick
Daly was not by any means a barren one; many
useful Bills had been assented to, and one of the
measures, that known as Sutherland's Act, deserves
particular mention on account of its subsequent history.
It provided that one-third of the proceeds arising from
the sale of waste lands should be appropriated to
immigration, another third to the construction of roads,
bridges, and such-like work, and the remainder to
public purposes, or, in other words, to secure the
expenditure of moneys arising from the sale of waste
lands for those purposes for which they were originally
set apart. When the introduction of immigrants at
the public expense had been discontinued, the one-
third reserved for that purpose had been allowed to
accumulate, and, after being used as a loan, had ulti-
mately become absorbed in the general revenue.

During the session of 1862, therefore, the Legislature
voted the sum of 25,000 for immigration, allowing
time for Sutherland's Act to come into operation.

The first session of the third Parliament * under the
Constitution Act of 1856 met for the despatch of
business on the 27th of February, 1863, and adjourned
on the 10th of March to the 9th of April, partly for
the purpose of enabling the three delegates to the
Intercolonial Conference to attend without putting the
Legislature to inconvenience. The members selected
to represent South Australia were the Hon. H. Ayers,
the Hon. A. Blyth, and Mr. L. Glyde, M.P. The
subjects to be discussed at the Conference were uniform
tariffs, border customs duties, the postal question, coast
lights, an Intercolonial Court of Appeal, and uniform
weights and measures.

* At the general election which took place in November, 1862,
about two-thirds of the members of the late Parliament were


The Conference was duly held, and the report of
proceedings was published in June. All the reforms
contemplated in the programme were recommended,
and many others in addition, such as the discontinuance
of transportation to any portion of the Australian
colonies, the encouragement of immigration, the im-
provement of navigable rivers, telegraphic communica-
tion with England, and various questions relating to
law. But it is one thing to hold a conference, and quite
another to carry out its recommendations. To wit, the
new tariff agreed upon was introduced in the South
Australian Parliament on the 1st of June, but was
withdrawn on the 4th, because the New South Wales
Government declined to co-operate !

The first session of the new Parliament was any-
thing but peaceful. On the 30th of June the Ministry
resigned and Mr. F. S. Dutton undertook the formation
of a new Ministry, and succeeded ; but when both
Houses met on the 7th of July, the Ministry sustained
a defeat in both Chambers, and on the following day
sent in their resignations ; whereupon Mr. J. T. Bagot
was sent for to iorm a Government, but failing, the
task was entrusted to Mr. E. I. Stow, who was also

It is worthy of remark that, notwithstanding these
failures, the extreme step of a dissolution was not so
much as suggested. The Hon. H. Ayers came to the
rescue and submitted a list of names which were
approved and duly gazetted.

Soon after, difficulties arose on the question of
borrowing money for public works, but they were tided
over, and on the 12th of November Parliament was
prorogued. Up to the very last hour, however, the
Ministry was in jeopardy, a member being in the act
of moving a vote of censure when the arrival of the
Governor to prorogue the Parliament was announced.*

When the second session of the third Parliament
was opened on the 27th of May, 1864, the Governor said,

* The Legislative Council had sat sixty-six days, and the House
of Assembly 101 days.


" I believe I am warranted in saying that at no other
period of the colony's history have we had greater
evidence of substantial prosperity."

Many immigrants had recently arrived from Europe
and had found immediate employment, and the demand
for labour continuing undiminished, the Government
anticipated a vote for immigration, and authorized the
despatch of three vessels, to sail respectively in July,
August, and September.

Active legislation soon commenced, but the session
was marked by an irritating number of no-confidence
motions, with their endless ministerial explanations
and discussions, wasting an inordinate amount of time,
and threatening serious consequences to the political
welfare of the colony. And the curious part of it was
that the extreme step of a dissolution was again not so
much as suggested.

The outside public summed up the state of affairs in
the form of a resolution carried with enthusiasm at a
public demonstration : " That in the opinion of this
meeting the scramble for office by members of the
House of Assembly, regardless of public policy or
political consistency, has delayed the business of the
country, and is calculated to bring into contempt our
present system of Government."

This had little or no effect. There were further
skirmishes between the members of both Houses on
the Squatting Question, and on the 29th of November
such an attack was made on the Government that
it was felt at length there was no other course left
but to advise the Governor to dissolve the House, a
course he consented to adopt and carry into effect
so soon as the business then on hand was disposed of.

The first session of the fourth Parliament was opened
on the 31st of March, 1865. The Hon. J. Morphett
was elected President of the Council in place of Sir
J. H. Fisher, who had retired after being connected
with the Legislature for seventeen years. In the
House of Assembly Mr. G. S. Kingston was elected as
Speaker, Mr. G. C. Hawker, who had previously occupied

voi* i. 2 B


that office, having retired for a time from parliamentary

Among the subjects touched upon in the Governor's
opening speech was the Melbourne Conference, at which
Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania were repre-
sented for the purpose of taking joint action for the
absolute termination of transportation to Western
Australia, and his Excellency was happy to state that
her Majesty's Government had been pleased to deter-
mine that such transportation should cease after a
limited period.

Among the most useful measures of this session may
be mentioned the Bill for providing for destitute
persons in a more systematic manner than the one
previously in operation, provision also being made for
orphans and children of destitute persons. The erection
of a commodious building, known as the Orphanage, at
Magill, was one of the results of this Bill.

A marriage Bill introduced by the Ministry for
placing all ministers of religion on an equality as
regarded the celebration of Holy Matrimony was
rejected, not so much on account of the principle
involved, as on certain defects in its construction. A
meeting of " friends of religious equality " was held in
Chalmers' Church, North Terrace, when a committee
was appointed to prepare a suitable Bill. This Bill
was passed in the ensuing session, notwithstanding the
strong condemnation of it by Roman Catholics in and
out of Parliament.

In 1866 the ordinary routine of Parliamentary
business was broken for a while in order to pay a tribute
of respect to some of its leading members who were
retiring from public life. These were Mr. J. M.
Solomon, Mr. S. Davenport, Mr. C. Bonney, and Mr. G.

F. Angas.

Special reference was made in the House to the loss
the colony would sustain by these retirements, and
men of all shades of opinion in politics expressed their
regret. Notably was this the case in regard to Mr.

G. F. Angas.

1866.] RETIREMENT OF MR. G. F. ANGA8. 371

Mr. Baker, one of the most influential members, said,
" In consequence of his early connection with the colony,
his position in society, his experience, his knowledge
of mercantile affairs, and everything connected with
colonization, Mr. Angas was eminently entitled to their
gratitude." Men who differed from Mr. Angas on
many points joined in expressing the opinion that no
other man had done so much to advance the interests
of the colony.

Said Captain C. H. Bagot, an old antagonist, " I always
regarded him as a deep-thinking, clever man, who
never hesitated to declare what he thought was the
right view, and was never overawed by popular
clamour. This no doubt brought a good deal of obloquy
upon him, but his conduct was always upright and
consistent, and it was a matter of great regret that they
had lost his services."

The verdict of the press coincided with that of the
Parliament. " Although Mr. Angas," said the leading
journal of the colony, "was not what is known as a
popular politician, he nevertheless won general esteem
by the independence, integrity, and painstaking
industry with which his duties as a member were

Many years later, one who knew him well * added
this testimony : " I may truly say that no member of
the Legislative Council felt greater interest in its
proceedings, nor evinced more ardour in his desire to
lay broad and sound the laws for effecting the healthy
development of the colony and the common prosperity
of all classes of its people, than he did. In his states-
manlike view, the prosperity of each individual, and of
each industrial class, was the most logical aim and the
surest path to the attainment of the greatest good of
all. To a heart full of sympathy with the best interests
of the colony, he further elevated the character of a
legislator by his long and extensive business experience,
his high moral tone, and the consequent wisdom and
prudence of his counsels. It is, however, as being
* Sir Samuel Davenport. K.C.M.G-.


specially prominent amongst the Fathers and Founders
of the colony that his name will lastingly claim the
grateful recognition of all who have, or may, benefit by
being colonists."

The fourth session of the fourth Parliament was
opened on the 5th of July, 1867. For once the address
in reply to the Governor's speech was passed in both
Houses without a division, and the business was
proceeded with in a way which must have greatly
gratified the occupants of the Treasury Bench.

In the summer of this year the red rust in wheat was
a source of much anxiety and loss to the farmers of the
colony. It formed the subject of a debate in the House
of Assembly on a motion to the effect that, as there
was reason to fear that the occupiers of large areas of
land would be unable to cultivate their land next
season, the Government should obtain all possible
information, and take all proper steps to avert so great
a calamity. A select committee was therefore ap-
pointed to inquire into the matter and report.

The session was brought to a close on the 19th of
December, 1867. During its continuance much less
party spirit had been shown than heretofore, and for
a time office-seeking seemed to have dropped out of
fashion. The consequence was that there was more
useful legislation, and a much larger number of Bills
passed than in many previous sessions, while the
astounding fact is worthy of special record, that not
a single ministerial crisis occurred during the whole

It may not unnaturally be supposed by some readers
that, in so small a community as Adelaide, the strong
words and heated discussions in Parliament, the constant
throwing over of leaders, the personal attacks on one
another, the rivalry and defiance all fostered and
fanned into flame by the newspaper press would give
rise to much social unpleasantness, and tend to destroy
personal friendship and good fellowship. As a matter
of fact it did nothing of the kind. Let an old colonist,
and an exceptionally well-informed man, tell the reason


why. "The bitter rancour of political life, which is
seen in some countries," says Mr. William Harcus,* " is
comparatively unknown in South Australia. It is not
that our public men do not feel strongly on political
questions, but we are so closely mixed up in social and
business life that we cannot afford to allow political
asperities to pass beyond the region of politics. I have
often seen two or more gladiators denouncing each
other in the House in the strongest language allowed
by rules of Parliamentary debates meet immediately
after in the refreshment-room, when one would smilingly
say to the other, ' Have a drink ? ' and the men who
a few minutes ago were figuratively flying at each
other's throats are hobnobbing like old friends, as they
probably are. This is one of the pleasantest and most
creditable features in a political life. "

Having briefly glanced at the general routine of
Parliament during the administration of Sir Dominick
Daly, we must now turn to some of the burning ques-
tions which in that same period were engaging the
attention, not only of the Legislature, but of every
person interested in the welfare of the colony. The
first in importance was the question of what was to be
done with the newly discovered Northern Territory.
And it is probable that, up to that date, such a gigantic
question was never before in the world's history dis-
cussed and decided by a mere handful of men. Let the
reader try, in the first place, to grasp the idea of what
that Northern Territory, or Alexandra Land, was. To
a great extent it was an unexplored country, save for
the tracks made by the gallant explorers who had
crossed the continent, and who had necessarily seen
but a limited area. It consisted of 231,620 square
miles of territory, or 35,116,800 acres, bounded on the
north by the Arafura Sea, on the south by the 26th
parallel of south latitude, on the east by the 138th
meridian of east longitude, and on the west by the
129th meridian of east longitude.

Now, as South Australia had been the means of
* " South Australia ; its History, Resources, and Productions."


discovering a practicable route across the continent,
certain of the colonists thought they had a claim to at
least a portion of the newly acquired territory, while
others were of opinion that the whole should be handed
over. And those others, as we shall see, carried the
day. Originally the colony contained 300,000 square
miles ; then in 1861 " No Man's Land," a strip of land
lying between its western boundary and the eastern
boundary of Western Australia, containing 80,070
acres, was added to it, and finally the whole of the
Northern Territory, thus bringing up the area to 903,690
square miles, or 78,361,600 acres, and making it by far
the largest of the Australian colonies, with the exception
of Western Australia.

When it is borne in mind that the population at this
time was only about 165,000 souls, that the colony had
only been in existence thirty years, that the art of
government was only in its rudimentary stage so far
as the colonial legislators were concerned, it must at
least be conceded that the advocates of this enormous
increase of territory were a bold and daring set of men.
Let us now proceed to " set in order " their action in
the matter.*

When Sir Richard MacDonnell was Governor, he
took an enthusiastic interest in exploration, and more
particularly in the adventurous attempts of Mr. J. M.
Stuart to cross the continent. After Stuart's first ex-
ploration, Sir Richard, feeling confident that the goal
would soon be successfully attained, wrote to the Duke
of Newcastle, and suggested to the Home Government
that it would be only an act of justice to the
colony to extend its territory to those outlets on the
northern coast which Mr. Stuart had shown would soon
be connected by an overland route with South Australia.
The Duke's reply to this was, that as the overland route
had not really been opened, it was altogether premature
to think of attaching the northern country to South
Australia; besides which, it was certain that, at no

* For part of our information we are indebted to some admirable
articles published in the Register.


distant date, independent settlements, which could not
be governed from a distance, would have to be estab-
lished on the northern coast. With this answer the
subject was allowed to rest for a while.

The further explorations of Stuart, as well as those
of Burke and Wills, McKinlay, and Landsborough
having put the question of an overland route beyond
doubt, Sir Charles Nicholson, who had been the first
President of the Legislative Council in Queensland
and was at the time Chairman of the Colonial Land
and Emigration Commission, and who was in England
when the result of the exploration became known, urged
the Duke of Newcastle to lose no time in making pro-

Online LibraryEdwin HodderThe history of South Australia from its foundation to the year of its jubilee (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 34)