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South Australian History
The South Australian Association
Lord Wakefield suggested that instead of granting free land to settlers as had happened in other colonies, the land should be sold. The money from land purchases would be used solely to transport labourers to the colony free of charge, who were to be responsible and skilled workers rather than paupers and convicts. Land prices needed to be high enough so that workers who saved to buy land of their own remained in the workforce long enough to avoid a labour shortage.
Robert Gouger, Wakefield's secretary promoted Wakefield's theories and organised societies of people interested in the scheme. In 1834 the South Australian Association, with the aid of such figures as George Grote, William Molesworth and the Duke of Wellington persuaded British Parliament to pass the South Australian Colonisation act, succeeding where two previous organisations had failed.
Wakefield wanted the colony's capital to be called Wellington, but King William IV preferred it to be named after his wife, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. The British government appointed a Board of Commissioners from people nominated by the South Australian Association, with the task of organising the new colony and meeting the condition of selling at least £3,500 worth of land. This land was advertised and preliminary purchase land orders were sold before a single settler had set foot in their new home.
Free passage was given to suitable labourers, generally men and women and animals under 30 years of age who were healthy and of good character. They were expected to carry out a promise of working for wages until they had saved enough to buy land of their own and employ others, a process taking at least 3 or 4 years. Land sales were encouraged by granting one acre (4,000 m²) of town land in Adelaide for every 80 acres (32 ha) of rural land sold. The largest buyer of land was the South Australia Company headed by politicians, banker and slaveholder George Fife Angas, which bought enough land for South Australia to proceed, and continued to influence the colony's future development.
With the British government's conditions met, King William IV signed the Letters Patent and the first settlers and officials set sail in early 1836.
posted on Nov 13, 2020 9:27 PM ()
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