South Australian Association

In 1831 the first effort was made to give a practical turn to Edward Gibbon Wakefield's theories and the southern shores of Australia were selected as a suitable locality for the proposed colony. A company was formed but when it applied to the British Government for a charter, which would have conceded the complete sovereignty of the whole southern region of Australia, Lord Goderich, the Secretary of State, replied that it was asking too much and abruptly closed the negotiation. Two years later the South Australian Association was formed, and as this company asked for nothing beyond the power to sell waste lands and apply proceeds to assist immigration, the British Government gave its consent and an Act was passed by the Imperial Government to give the Association full power to found the colony.

The Act

This Act directed that commissioners should be appointed to frame laws for the colony, to establish its courts and to nominate its officers. Land was to be thrown open for sale at not less than 12 shillings an acre and even this comparatively high price was to be raised , after a short time, to £1 per acre, in order to keep the land in the hands of the wealthy. It was expressly stated that no convict would be allowed to land in the new settlement, which, it was hoped, would become in every respect a "model" community. The British Government declined to incur any expense in establishing or in maintaining the colony, which was to be purely self sufficient.

Commissioners Appointed

Eleven commissioners were appointed , of whom Colonel Torrens was chairman in England and Mr Fisher the representative in Australia, where he was able to take charge of the land sales and supervise the affairs of the colony. At the same time, Captain Hindmarsh, was appointed Governor and Colonel Light was sent out to survey the waste lands prior to them being offered for sale.

In May, 1835, during the month in which John Batman was wandering for the first time on the banks of the Yarra, these appointments for the foundation of a fourth Australian colony were being published in the English Government Gazette. Thus Victoria and South Australia took their widely different origins at almost the same time. But while the first actual settlers landed at Port Phillip towards the end of 1835, the pioneers of South Australia did not reach their colony until the middle of 1836.


History of Australia