Governor John Hindmarsh

Not The Best Location

In December, 1836, Governor John Hindmarsh landed and beneath a spreading gum tree near the beach he read his commission to a small audience of emigrants and officials. But when he proposed to examine what had been done, he was filled with disgust and indignation. The only landing place for vessels was in the midst of a mangrove swamp at the mouth of a muddy little creek and all goods had to be carried six to seven miles inland to the city. To a sailor's eye, it seemed the most reckless folly to make so an unusual choice and he at once demanded the settlement be moved to Encounter Bay, however, neither Colonel Light nor Mr Fisher would permit any change to be made and a violent quarrel ensued.

English Government Steps In

As resident commissioner, Mr Fisher, had powers equal to those of the governor and thus was able to prolong any decisions. Some of the settlers sided with the Governor while others gave their support to the commissioner and soon the colony was divided into two noisy factions. After fourteen months of constant wrangling, the English Government interfered. Mr Fisher was dismissed and Governor Hindmarsh recalled. Both the offices were placed on Colonel George Gawler's shoulders when he arrived in the colony in 1838.

Early Failures

The Wakefield system could not possibly have worked, for the foundations of a new colony, and the reclaiming of the land, could not be accomplished by merely relying on the hard work of servants. Ladies and gentlemen who had, in England, paid for land they had never seen, were greatly disgusted on their arrival, with the sight they saw. To start with they had to pull their luggage through the dismal swamp, for their were neither porters nor cabs in waiting, they have to live in canvas tents (on a grassy plain which they called a city) and the only indication that there were streets was by the few painted boards fastened to trees. Then, when they went out to see their estates, they beheld great stretches of unpromising wilderness. It would take far too many years before they could have gardens, orchards and grassy lawns, like that of a delightful English country house . Their courage failed them and instead of going forth upon the land, they clustered together in Adelaide. Every one wished to settle down in the city and as it was expected that, with the growth of population, the value of the town allotments would rapidly increase, it was assumed that, to buy land in the city, and keep it for sale in the future years, would be a profitable investment. But there were far too many people with the same idea, so when it all was put it into practice, there was little gain to anyone. Inevitably Adelaide turned into a scene of reckless speculation and gambling in land.


History of Australia