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18 February 1844 Monuments to Colonel Light

 18 February 1844   Monuments to Colonel Light

The foundation stone of the monument to Surveyor-General Colonel William Light, over his grave in Light Square, was laid on 18 February 1844. Light was 54 when he died from tuberculosis, just after midnight on 6 October 1839; he was buried in the Square on 10 October. This first monument crumbled away and a replacement was unveiled on 21 June 1905. The statue of the Colonel, which was unveiled in Victoria Square on 28 November 1906, was moved to Montefiore Hill in 1938.

On 6 August 1927 a plaque commemorating the site of Colonel William Light's cottage in Cawthorne Street, Thebarton was unveiled. The plaque, which is now on a building in the Southwark Brewery, reads:

      Near this spot stood 'The Berton Cottage' the old home of Colonel
      William Light, the first Surveyor-General of the State and Founder  
      of Adelaide.
      Erected by order of the Council June 1927
      C.E. Wyett Town Clerk

Light arrived in South Australia in the Rapid in August 1836 to commence his task of selecting a site for the capital. By 31 December, three days after the arrival of the Buffalo carrying Governor Hindmarsh, Light informed him of his choice. Although Hindmarsh and some other settlers were not entirely happy with the site, Light's decision prevailed and on 11 January 1837 he began the survey of the Town Acres. At that time he lived in a camp on the corner of North and West Terraces. 

Early in April he and his men began the survey of the country acres, that is the surrounding area outside the parklands and North Adelaide. Light chose for himself land on the edge of the west parklands, south of the River Torrens. There he built his home which he named Theberton after Theberton Hall in Suffolk where he lived for a time as a child. On 22 January 1839, before the house was finished, his hut on North Terrace burnt down, destroying all his belongings. Light lived in his Theberton cottage until his death. The cottage was demolished in 1926.

David Elder, William Light's Brief Journal and Australian Diaries, Wakefield Press, 1984.

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