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15 August 1834 South Australia Act

 15 August 1834 South Australia Act

The South Australia Act was passed in the United Kingdom parliament on 15 August 1834. The statute permitted the Crown to establish one or more colonies in the south-west corner of what was then New South Wales. The government set up a supervising agency, the South Australian Colonisation Commission, which embarked on promoting the new venture. The Crown issued Letters Patent creating the new colony on 19 February 1836 – this marked the foundation of South Australia as a political entity.

The South Australian Company, formed by George Fife Angas, played a major part in the early settlement of the province. In late February 1836 the first emigrant vessels, belonging to the South Australian Company, the John Pirie and the Duke of York set sail. They were bound for Kangaroo Island where the Company proposed to establish a settlement and engage in whaling activities. The surveying expedition on the Cygnet sailed at the end of March and Colonel Light in the Rapid left at the beginning of May – their task was to survey the coast and find a suitable place for the main settlement and future capital. Captain Hindmarsh, the appointed Governor, sailed on the Buffalo at the end of July and arrived at Holdfast Bay on 28 December.

Although this date is celebrated as Proclamation Day, Governor Hindmarsh made an announcement about law, not a proclamation; this stated that the government of the province had been established, obedience to the law would be enforced and the Aborigines would be protected by the law.

Brian Dickey, Peter Howell, (eds), South Australia’s Foundation, Wakefield Press, 1986, pp. 8, 43.
R.M. Gibbs, A History of South Australia, Balara Books, 1969, pp. 30, 34.

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