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Briefly about the Rapid Bay:

Rapid Bay is a small town on the eastern shore of Gulf St Vincent about 15 kilometres north of Cape Jervis. On 8 September 1836, Colonel William Light chose Rapid Bay for his first mainland anchorage. The bay is named after Light’s brig, the Rapid. Map Sources: Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names of South [...]

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Posts related to: Rapid Bay

Week 43 – settling on 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 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

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 34 – a tempest

In South Australia Light continues his exploration of the coast, although he is beginning to doubt the existence of the harbour Jones described. For the record he copies Jones’ description into his journal, which allows us to be fairly certain that the anchorage in question is Port Adelaide, but clearly this was not obvious to [...]

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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

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 42 – the scourge of scurvy

In South Australia By 4 December Colonel Light has managed to sail to Port Lincoln.  His next challenge is to manoeuvre into the harbour, which he finally manages after a ‘great deal of trouble’. There he meets up with the Cygnet and with Captain Lipson, who has been waiting on the arrival of Governor Hindmarsh.  Light [...]

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Week 45 – Journey’s end and new beginnings

Christmas Day dawns fine and hot in the settlements, with the colonists in pensive mood.  Inevitably their thoughts turn to friends and family in England as they reflect on the very different circumstances of this first Christmas in South Australia. As usual Mary Thomas is the optimist.  She attends a makeshift church service in the [...]

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