Celebrating South Australia


29 March 1876 Dr Matthew Moorhouse

 29 March 1876   Dr Matthew Moorhouse

Dr Matthew Moorhouse, the first Protector of Aborigines in South Australia, died at his property, 'Bartagunya' near Melrose, on 29 March 1876 at the age of 63. 

Dr Moorhouse arrived in South Australia in July 1839 to take up his appointment as Protector of Aborigines and had his first office on North Terrace near what is now Kintore Avenue. He also took up a section of land at Encounter Bay to be near his friends the Newlands.

At times he travelled with police parties investigating troubles with the Aborigines, but was always most concerned with their welfare and was held in high regard by all. He was instrumental in establishing a mission station on the north side of the River Torrens opposite the gaol.

He was on the Destitute Board and served as a member of the House of Assembly from 1860-62. In the late 1850s he retired from public service and pursued his pastoral interests, this time in the mid-north where, in partnership with others, he held the lease of the Hummocks where he lived. Later he sold this interest and moved to his property at Melrose where he remained until his death.

Rodney Cockburn, Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia,  Volume 1, Adelaide, 1927, pp. 88-89.