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worst possible manner. But in South Australia a
remedy, at once simple and effectual, has been provided,
the whole net proceeds of the sales of land being
appropriated to give a free passage to young and in-
dustrious emigrants of both sexes, by which means the
capitalists will be ensured an adequate supply of labour.
Thus the purchaser does not buy land so much as the
facility of obtaining combined labour that which alone
makes land valuable. Here, then, is the first attempt,
in the history of colonization, to plant a colony upon
correct principles to ensure to the labourer employ-
ment, and to the capitalist an ample supply of labour."

Colonel Torrens, expatiating on this grand feature
in the new sphere of colonization, a few years later in
the House of Commons, said, as the result of the
experiment, " I am not merely prepared to show that
emigration would cost less than maintaining paupers in
their parishes at home, and would thus prove a measure
of permanent economy and retrenchment; I am pre-
pared to go much further than this. I am prepared to
prove both theoretically and practically that emigration
may be so conducted as to replace with interest the
whole of the expenditure incurred in effecting it, and
to aid the finances of the country by opening new and
not inconsiderable sources of direct public revenue."

The difficulties of the projectors of the new colony
did not cease, as some had been sanguine enough to
imagine, with the passing of the Act.

A Board of Commissioners was duly appointed,* and
at once the question arose how the money required to
be invested before any valid steps could be taken, was
to be raised. For six months they met at intervals to
discuss the problem, but as they did not come any

* The first Board of Commissioners was composed as follows :
J. W. Childers, M.P., W. Clay, M.P., G. Grote, M.P., G. W. Nor-
man, Colonel Torrens, M.P., and W. W. Whitmore, M.P., chair-
man. Mr. Rowland Hill (afterwards Sir Rowland Hill, who intro-
duced the Penny Postal System) was appointed secretary to the


nearer to a solution, they availed themselves of a
change of ministry at the end of 1834 as a fitting
opportunity for tendering their resignations, although, of
course, they were appointed to give effect to the Act of
the Legislature, and their functions as Colonization Com-
missioners had nothing whatever to do with party politics.

On the 5th of May, 1835, the first public act of Lord
Glenelg, on taking office as Secretary of State for the
Colonies, after the change of ministry, was to gazette
as Colonization Commissioners the following : G. F.
Angas, E. Barnard * (Agent- General for the Australian
colonies), W. Hutt,* John Shaw Lefevre * (late Under
Secretary of State), W. A. Mackinnon, M.P., S. Mills,
Jacob Montefiore, G. Palmer, jun., J. Wright, Colonel
Torrens, chairman, and Eowland Hill, secretary.

The difficulties which their predecessors had regarded
as insurmountable, the new Board faced with courage
and resolution. They had to raise the required
guarantees before any act of theirs would be valid.
" The difficulty of accomplishing these objects," said
Colonel Torrens, " will be immediately perceived when
it is considered that South Australia was at that period
an unexplored wilderness, and that the colony, the
revenue of which was to be the security for the pro-
posed loan, was not then in existence. But this was
not all. Before they could proceed to sell land in the
wilderness, or raise a loan upon the security of revenues
which remained to be created, it was necessary that
considerable expense should be incurred in providing
offices, engaging clerks and agents, and in explaining
to the public the principles and the prospects of the
new colony by printed papers and advertisements."

Application was made to the Colonial Department
for the use of offices and the privilege of free postage,
but even these small requests were not granted. A
loan of 1000 was soon raised to meet the preliminary
expenses, but the graver matter was not so easily dis-
posed of.

* Those gentlemen against whose names an asterisk is placed
were nominees of Lord Gleuelg.


The first regulations for the sale of South Australian
lands were published by the Commissioners in June,
1835. They had " considered it their duty to attempt
realizing a price considerably higher than the minimum
of 12s. per acre required in the Act of Parliament," and,
"after mature consideration," the price was fixed at
20s. per acre in the first instance, or for a lot consisting
of one town acre, and a country section of 80 acres,
80. Priority of choice with regard to both town
acres and country sections was to be given to the
holders of the first 437 land orders secured in England.
In addition to the . 81-acre allotments, any one paying
the price of 4000 acres of land, or upwards, was to have
the right of a special survey in any compact district
not exceeding 16,000 acres, and select his 4000 acres
from such district before any other application would
be entertained. Brilliant opportunities! but no one
seemed to care to avail himself of them.

For two months the Commissioners exerted all their
energies to promote the sale of land, and every effort
was made to give the experiment a fair trial. Circulars
were issued with maps and pressing appeals ; the best
agents were appointed, and it was proposed to delegate
some of the powers^and honours of the Commissioners to
gentlemen of rank, talent, and influence in the counties
who might form the members of future associations.
But all to no purpose. Not half of the required
quantity had been disposed of when there came a
pause ; the length of their tether had been reached, and
it seemed that, as there was nothing further they could
do, the whole thing must collapse.

It was at this juncture that one of the Commissioners,
Mr. George Fife Angas, a wealthy merchant, who had
for some years been quietly working in the interests
of the proposed new colony, came forward as leader of
the forlorn hope brought forward and carried into
effect a scheme without which the colonization of South
Australia, under the conditions of the Act of Parliament,
would have been utterly impossible.

VOL. i. i>




Mr. George Fife Angas. Necessity for a Joint Stock Company.
Purchase of the stipulated 35,000 worth of Land. Raising the
Guarantee Sum of 20,000. Formation of the South Aus-
tralian Company. Objects contemplated. Fleet of the South
Australian Company. Choice of a Governor. Colonel Charles
James Napier. Money and Troops. Captain J. Hindmarsh.
His remarkable Career. First Colonial Officers and their
Salaries. H.M.S. Buffalo. Colonel Light and his Instructions.
The Founders of South Australia.

"WITHOUT some collateral association to assist the
Commissioners," said Mr. George Fife Angas to his
colleagues on the Board, " I do not see how the Act is
to be carried into effect." He then proceeded to unfold
a scheme, which was, in brief, that a joint stock
company should be formed with sufficient capital to
purchase the requisite quantity of land ; to take out its
own agents, servants, and other emigrants, and supply
them with provisions while they carried on operations
of a reproductive and remunerative character ; and to
provide the capital for the working of the colonial

At first the Commissioners strongly demurred to the
suggestion of Mr. Angas, but when at length they saw
that without such assistance they were powerless to
act, and might as well tender their resignations, they
confessed this happy thought was the only practical

1835.] THE SCHEME OF MR. G. F. ANGAS. 35

idea that had come before them, and they gave their
unanimous consent to the effort being made.

Mr. Angas was ready to act on the moment, and,
assisted by Mr. Henry Kingscote and Mr. Thomas
Smith, at once subscribed sufficient capital to purchase
the whole of the unsold land, to be handed over to the
Company, when formed, at cost price, with interest at
five per cent. This purchase was the basis of the
operations of the Company, and, as a matter of fact, of
all future operations of the Commissioners, and thus the
initial difficulty in founding a colony under the Act
was overcome. But a concession had to be made by the
Commissioners to effect it. The offer for the purchase
of the land was at the reduced rate of 12s. per acre,
partly because it was evident there were no more
purchasers to be obtained at 1 per acre, and partly
because this reduced price would be an incentive to
capitalists to invest in the proposed Company. This
offer was accepted, and, to avoid clashing with the
previous sales, the size of the country sections was
altered to 134 acres and one town acre, instead of
eighty acres and one town acre; hence the difference
between a " preliminary land order " and one subse-
quently granted. In addition, the Commissioners re-
solved to sell at 12s. per acre to any who could give
proof that they were prepared to take out adequate
capital for the improvement of the colony; but this
price was only available until the 1st of March, 1836,
after which date the price was to be 1 per acre, the
sections to consist of eighty acres as at first, and the
sales to take place in the colony.

Having disposed, so far, of difficulty number one, the
next question was how to raise the required guarantee
sum of 20,000 to invest in the names of trustees.
Having power to raise 200,000 if they could, the
Commissioners threw open for tender by the public the
sum of 80,000, as offering greater inducements to
capitalists than the smaller sum. The proposals were
well advertised in the London papers and by circular,
but at the end of the time specified, only six tenders


were sent in for a total amount of 13,000, at not less
than ten per cent, interest, and with conditions that
could not possibly be accepted.

The Commissioners then appealed to Mr. Wright, one
of the members of their Board, to undertake the forma-
tion of a list, and after much trouble he was at length
able to offer terms to the Commissioners not such as
they approved, but, as there was no alternative, they
agreed to accept, and on the 19th of November, 1835,
the 20,000 was invested in the names of three trustees
in the three per cent, consols. The two great difficulties
having now been overcome, the Commissioners at last
saw a prospect of putting the necessary machinery in
motion for founding the colony.

The origin of the South Australian Company is so
intimately associated with the establishment of the
colony, that we must now turn our attention to its

It was no easy matter to start it. The capital was
fixed at 500,000, with power to increase it to
1,000,000 ; but operations were to commence when
the subscriptions reached 200,000. No smaller sum
would suffice, for Mr. Angas was persuaded that no
capitalists would embark their money in the distant
colony unless the Company engaged to introduce ample
capital and labour ; and this, of course, enhanced the

"We had," said Mr. Angas, upon whose shoulders
the whole burden of the undertaking rested " we had,
as it were, to go to the capitalists of this kingdom and
say, ' Gentlemen, lend us your money to carry out this
scheme, notwithstanding there has not yet been an
acre of land surveyed, nor a British harbour formed.
Advance it to us on the faith of our settled conviction,
notwithstanding its difficulties, that the project is quite
practicable; that from the information we possess of
the country we believe it must succeed ; for the Act of
Parliament presents advantages in the secure title it
gives to the property, and the liberal principles of its
government, that, under the blessing of Providence and


the use of proper means, will eventually lead to a rich
reward for your confidence.' This appeal," he continues,
" we had to make, not only with public opinion adverse
to us (a strong prejudice existed against some of the
early projectors of the new system of colonization, of
which we had in some degree to endure the conse-
quences), the Government at that time lukewarm, and
many of the members of each House of Parliament
opposed to the whole project, but also a formidable
opposition from powerful individuals resident in this
country, who were deeply interested in the rival
colonies of Western Australia, Van Diemen's Land,
and New South Wales, besides the contempt thrown on
the plan by the public press of these colonies them-
selves, although the writers should have seen that, if
successful, it would of necessity become an important
element of their own advancement. Above all, we had
to meet the prejudices of many who, not having studied
the principles and plans of our undertaking, concluded
that it was purely Utopian."

In spite of all difficulties, on the 22nd of January,
1836, the South Australian Company was formed, with
a subscribed capital of 200,000. The original directors
of the Company were George Fife Angas (chairman),
Raikes Currie, M.P., Charles Hindley, M.P., James
Hyde, Henry Kingscote, John Pirie (alderman), John
Eundle, M.P., Thomas Smith, James Ruddall Todd, and
Henry Waymouth.

The objects contemplated by the proprietary were :
(1) The erection upon their town land of wharves,
warehouses, and dwelling-houses, and letting the same
to the colonists, or otherwise disposing of them. (2)
The improvement and cultivation of their country land,
and the leasing or sale of part of it if deemed expedient.
(3) The laying out of farms, the erection of suitable
buildings thereon, and letting the same to industrious
tenants on lease, with the right of purchase before the
expiration of such lease at a price to be fixed at the
time of the tenant taking possession. (4) The growth
of wool for the European markets. (5) The pursuit of


whale, seal, and other fisheries in the gulfs and seas
around the colony, and the curing and salting of fish
suitable for exportation. (6) The salting and curing
of beef and pork for the stores of ships and for the
purpose of general export. (7) The establishment of
a bank or banks in, or connected with, the colony,
making loans on the security of land or produce, and
the conducting of such banking operations as the
directors might think expedient.

Although these were set forth as the primary objects
of the Company, it was soon found that they were not
sufficiently comprehensive. In order to give confidence
to intending shareholders, and to ensure the successful
establishment of the infant settlement, the directors
had to consider what trades would be imperatively
required, so as not to leave their manager without
needful aid ; to select, contract with, and provide the
requisite tools for carpenters, brickmakers, lime-burners,
blacksmiths, boat -builders, fishermen, and others, and
generally to supply everything that would be needful,
from the keels of whale-ships to pins and needles.

With the formation of the South Australian Com-
pany, as none of his Majesty's Commissioners were
allowed to have any pecuniary interest in the colony
they were appointed to establish, Mr. Angas felt it to
be his duty at once to tender his resignation as a mem-
ber of that Board. He was requested, however, to
retain his position until the end of the year 1835, and
was thus able to see all the preliminary measures re-
quired by the Act completed, and was permitted to
nominate his successor, Mr. Josiah Roberts. Mr.
Wright also, and on the same grounds, retired from the

Such was the vigour with which the directors of the
South Australian Company entered upon their work,
that on the 22nd of February, exactly one month
from the formation of the Company, not only had all
the preliminaries been successfully arranged secretary,
clerks for London office, colonial manager, and overseers
for each department appointed, and instructed in the

1836.] THE "COMPANY'S" FLEET. 39

measures they were to adopt on their arrival in the
colony but, what is almost incredible, the ship John
Pirie had been chartered, and was under weigh fully
laden with goods, live stock, and twenty-three adult
passengers. Two days later the Duke of York, freighted
with whaling stores and having on board forty-two
passengers, including the colonial manager, Mr. S.
Stephens, and other officers and servants of the Com-
pany, was also ready for sea, and both vessels im-
mediately proceeded on their voyage.

Two other ships, the Lady Mary Pelham and the
Emma, freighted with whaling and general stores, and
together taking out fifty-one passengers, left England
in March and April respectively.

All the Company's vessels were supplied with pro-
visions equal to one year's consumption, and in the
event of accident or loss sustained on the voyage or
otherwise, the officers were furnished with the means
of supplying themselves from Van Diemen's Land, and
arrangements were also made for a regular supply of
provisions from Hamburg. Besides the requisites for
the voyage, sheep, cattle, pigs, and other live stock were
sent out, so that the colonists on landing might have
an immediate supply of fresh food, without which they
would probably have suffered as did the early settlers
in the North American colonies.

The whole of the early proceedings of the Company
were characterized by great energy, mainly through the
zeal and liberality of Mr. Angas, its founder and chair-
man, who allowed the necessary business to be carried
on in his own offices, placed at its disposal at prime
cost several vessels with their equipments and pro-
visions for employment in the South Sea whale-fishery,
handed over at cost price the land which he and his
colleagues had purchased, and in every particular
became the prime mover in the whole concern. " He
made more sacrifices in time, health, and property," says
Mr. John Stephens, in his " Eise and Progress of South
Australia," " for the accomplishment of a public object,
than many more wealthy merchants would have


made in the prosecution of a hopeful private enter-

Meanwhile the Colonization Commissioners, having
succeeded by the aid of the South Australian Company
in fulfilling the requirements of the Act as regarded the
sale of land, and raising the stipulated loan, proceeded
to obtain the Orders in Council and letters patent for
establishing the colony, and to this end Colonel Torrens,
the chairman of the Board, successfully negotiated with
Lord Glenelg, who entered with spirit into the whole
matter, and rendered important service to the Com-

The next steps were to make choice of a Governor
and other officers, and to provide for their equipment
and departure.

The choice of the Commissioners fell upon Colonel
Charles James Napier (afterwards the hero of Scinde)
for the office of Governor. In reply to the invitation
of the Board, the colonel stated that he could not
accept the Governorship of South Australia without
troops, and the power to draw upon the British Govern-
ment for money in case of need.

With regard to money matters, he observed "that
while sufficient security exists for the supply of labour
in the colony, there does not appear to be any security
that the supply of capital will be sufficient to employ
that labour, and if it be not employed the consequences
must be disastrous. I therefore deem it necessary to
have the means of meeting this, and other accidents
which cannot be foreseen, but which inevitably arise
in the execution of all experiments; and the plan of
the colony is an experiment."

As to the troops, he wrote, " I will not attempt to
govern a large body of people in a desert, where they
must suffer considerable inconvenience (if not hard-
ships), without I have a force to protect what is good
against that which is bad ; and such a force is the more
necessary where, as in Australia, the supply of spirituous
liquors will be abundant. The colony will be a small
colony without discipline, suffering more or less from


privation, and with plenty of liquor. Experience has
taught me what scenes this would produce unless the
leader had a controlling physical force. Such," he
concluded, " are my demands and my motives for making

As both these demands were at variance with the
self-supporting principle on which the colony was to
be established, the negotiations with" Colonel Napier
fell through, and Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir
John) Hindmarsh, K.N., was selected and appointed
Governor. His career had been remarkable and ad-
venturous. "He was with Lord Howe on the 1st of
June, 1794 ; with Admiral Cornwallis in his glorious
retreat ; with Sir James Saumarez at Algeciras and
in tbe Straits of Gibraltar ; at the capture of Flushing,
of the Isle of France and of Java; with Lord
Cochrane at Basque Eoads ; and with Nelson both
at the Nile and at Trafalgar.

" At the battle of the Nile he was a midshipman on
board the Bellerophon, and so destructive was the fire
of the enemy, that for some time he was the only officer
left upon the quarter-deck. He received a wound in
the head which deprived him of the sight of one eye,
but he did not quit his post. The enemy's ship,
L'Orient, caught fire, and the flames threatened to com-
municate to the Bellerophon, when Hindmarsh, being
the only officer on deck, ordered the topsail to be set
and the cable to be cut, and thus saved the ship from
destruction. He had his proud reward ; Nelson himself
thanked the young hero before the assembled officers
and crew, and repeated these thanks upon the deck of
the Victory when presenting him with his lieutenant's

The question of salaries to colonial officers was a
difficult one for the Commissioners to settle, as they
were anxious to obtain the services of the most efficient
men at the lowest possible cost ; but eventually it was
arranged that the salary of the Governor should be
800 per annum, and an allowance of 500 for


The following gentlemen were
offices in the colony :

appointed to hold


Resident Commissioner and


Colonial Secretary


Advocate - General , and
Crown Solicitor

Naval Officer and Harbour

Governor's Secretary and
Clerk of the Council ...

Colonial Treasurer, also
Collector of Revenue
and Accountant-General

Commissioner of Immigra-
tion, also Auditor-General


Deputy-Surveyor ..


Junior Assistant-Surveyors

Colonial Storekeeper
Colonial Surgeon ...
Survey Surgeon

Nam P.

Mr. James Hurtle Fisher

Mr. Robert Gouger

Sir John William Jeffcott

Mr. Charles Mann

Captain Thomas Lipson, R.N.
Mr. George Stevenson...


, 400
. 400
. 500

. 300

Mr. Osmond Gilles


Mr. John Brown 250

Colonel William Light ... 400

Mr. George Strickland Kingston 200

Mr. Boyle Travers Finniss

Mr. William Jacob

Mr. Neale ] 100

Mr. Claughton

Mr. Pullen
(Mr. R. G. Symonds
{ Mr. John Caiman 50

[Mr. Alfred Hardy

Mr. Thomas Gilbert 100

Dr. Cotter 100

John Woodforde

The appointment of colonial chaplain was made
subsequently, when the Eev. Charles Beaumont Howard
was selected, at a salary of 250.

The next step of the Commissioners was 1o apply to
Lord Glenelg for a vessel of war to convey the Governor
and survey party to South Australia, and afterwards to
be used, for a time, for surveying purposes. But the
application was not entertained ; whereupon the chair-
man of the South Australian Company, annoyed, in
common with his colleagues, not only at the parsimony
of the Government, but also at the vexatious delay at
a critical time, offered to place one of the Company's
pioneer vessels at the disposal of the Governor and his

1836.] COLONEL LIGHT. 43

officers an otter which was, of course, declined, but it
had the effect of stirring up the Colonial Office generally.
Meanwhile Captain Hindmarsh had been beforehand,
and had obtained the offer of the Buffalo, a heavy
transport about to proceed to New Zealand for spars.
But this old tub was totally unfit for surveying
purposes, and as in the circumstances the Commis-

Online LibraryEdwin HodderThe history of South Australia from its foundation to the year of its jubilee (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 34)