professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > October > 5 October 1839 Colonel William Light

5 October 1839 Colonel William Light

5 October 1839          Colonel William Light

Colonel William Light who was responsible for the siting of Adelaide and the colony’s first surveyor-general led an exciting life before his appointment by the Commissioners for South Australia. He was born in Malacca, the son of the captain of a free-trader to India who had married the daughter of the sovereign of Malacca territory, King Quedah. The King gave his daughter the island of Penang as a dowry, but on the captain’s insistence this was handed over to Britain.

William Light was educated in England and served as a Cavalry Officer in the 4th Light Dragoons in the Peninsular War. As he was a linguist he was used in the Intelligence Service at one time narrowly escaping the enemy. Later he served in the Spanish Revolutionary War and then saw service in the navy of the Pasha of Egypt where he met John Hindmarsh who was destined to be the first Governor of South Australia.

Colonel Light died of consumption in Adelaide on 5 October 1839 at the age of 54 years. He is buried in Light Square and a monument was placed over his grave in 1844.

George Loyau, The Representative Men of South Australia, Adelaide, 1883, pp.155-58.

Tags: Light Colonel William