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Briefly about the Kangaroo Island:

Kangaroo Island spans the entrance to Gulf St Vincent, and is 112 kilometres south-west of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. It is 150 kilometres long and its width varies from 900 metres to 57 kilometres. At its closest, it is just 13 kilometres from the mainland, separated by Backstairs Passage from Cape Jervois, [...]

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Posts related to: Kangaroo Island

Week 43 – settling on Holdfast Bay

Scene: Holdfast Bay

In South Australia Colonel Light is preparing to leave Port Lincoln to return to Gulf St Vincent after satisfying himself that southern Eyre Peninsula is no place for the initial settlement. Once again he battles unsettled weather and strong contrary winds. Luckily he decides to anchor overnight just off Thistle Island, because the morning reveals [...]

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Week 01 – Setting sail

Model of the ship Duke of York

On 25 February 1836 Captain Robert Morgan sat down in his tiny cabin on board the Duke of York to begin a diary of the long sea voyage to the new Province of South Australia. He was well aware that the journey he faced would be long and perilous, indeed the route to Australia was one [...]

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Week 26 – the expanding settlement

scene: kangaroo island

On Kangaroo Island The fledgling settlement on Kangaroo Island is now into its third week and it is not a happy place. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross are increasingly anxious about their failure to find an adequate supply of fresh water nearby. Both the Duke of York and the Lady Mary Pelham need to replenish [...]

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Week 27 – a scandal averted

lithograph of a wallaby

At Kangaroo Island Samuel Stephens is gradually settling into a routine, although his habit of rising well before 6 am in the middle of winter cannot endear him to his men. He sends the company stock off to good grazing land near the Salt Lagoon, and selects a portion of land for a more permanent [...]

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Week 28 – A wedding on the beach

Scene: burial at sea

On land Things are looking up at the tiny settlement of Kingscote.  We start the week with a wedding on board the John Pirie. Mary Ann Powell, who travelled as an emigrant in steerage with her two brothers and sister-in-law, marries one of the Pirie crew – William Staple, who intends to remain in South [...]

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Week 29 – Impressions of the mainland

On land Sunday 4 September finds Samuel Stephens deeply depressed. ‘I cannot and will not endure this state of things it shall be mended by some means or other’, he confides to his diary. He and Captain Martin put their heads together and the experienced captain devises a plan to try to get everyone working [...]

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Week 30 – First encounters

SLSA_B4263_HMS_Buffalo_1836 low res

In South Australia The week begins with the long-awaited arrival of the Cygnet. Sadly this is the last we will hear of Boyle Travers Finniss, as his diary ends with the arrival on Kangaroo Island on 11 September. From his last brief entry however, we learn that Colonel Light has left a letter for Kingston, [...]

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Week 31 – Farewell to the Duke of York

In South Australia Sadly, we bid farewell to Captain Morgan and the sailors of the Duke of York this week, as they finally set sail for Hobart and the whaling grounds off Australia. After seven months of his company, it will seem strange to be without him.  His constant harping on religion may have got [...]

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Week 35 – feasting on fish

In South Australia After several days of bad weather, Colonel Light is finally able to send the Rapid off to Kangaroo Island on 16 October to fetch supplies and bring over the surveyors from the Cygnet. For the rest of the week he must await its return and he spends the time in completing his [...]

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Week 36 – the Africaine approaches

In South Australia It is a slow week for Colonel Light and his surveyors.  On 23 October deputy surveyor George Kingston finally arrives at Rapid Bay, after some weeks on Kangaroo Island.  It is not clear why he delayed there so long, but his arrival means that Light can divide his forces to cover a [...]

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Week 37 – taxing ‘ardent spirits’

In South Australia With his full complement of surveyors at last, Colonel Light can now divide them into two groups to cover a greater area of the coast.  He sends the largest group under George Kingston to Holdfast Bay, with the second group under Finniss remaining at Rapid Bay. Light intends to inspect Port Lincoln, [...]

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Week 39 – settling in at Holdfast Bay

Scene: Robert Thomas's tent and rush hut

In South Australia Colonel Light is busy making arrangements to secure food and means of transport for the new settlement at Holdfast Bay.  He contracts with Captain Duff of the Africaine to buy sheep, oxen and carts in Hobart and writes a long letter of explanation to the Commissioners in London to justify his purchases. [...]

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Week 40 – Finally! The harbour is found

In South Australia Colonel Light is a relieved man. He has identified the harbour that will become Port Adelaide and is excited by what he sees. ‘[O]ne of the finest little harbours I ever saw is now fairly known’ he writes, adding that it is ‘more extensive, safe and beautiful, than we could even have [...]

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Week 41 – Fire!

In South Australia Colonel Light is under increasing pressure to identify the site for the capital and begin his detailed land surveys.  He is acutely aware of the impatience of the emigrants camped at Holdfast Bay and knows that they will soon be joined by hundreds more from the Buffalo. But he has been instructed [...]

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Week 44 – ‘excellent eating’: kelp, parrots and a new oven

In South Australia On 18 December Colonel Light sails the Rapid into the harbour on the Port River with the Tam O’Shanter close behind. It is an emotional moment for Light.  In his mind’s eye he can see this harbour, ‘in a creek that had never before borne the construction of a marine architect’, as it might [...]

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