South Australian Colonization Commission

The South Australian Colonization Commission was created in 1834 with authority from the British Government to raise funds through land sales and other means to establish the province of South Australia as a self-supporting venture. The Government required the Commission to riase £35,000 in preliminary land sales and to have secured an emergency fund of some £20,000 – an onerous requirement – before it would agree to the venture proceeding.

The Commission was administered by a Board, which included Robert Torrens (chairman), John Pirie (deputy chairman), George Fife Angas, Jacob Montefiore, William Hutt, Sir John George Shaw-Lefevre and others.  Their names are perpetuated through street and other place names. Robert Gouger was colonial secretary to the Commission. The precise powers of the Commission vis-à-vis the Governor were poorly defined in the South Australia Act (1834), leading to continual wrangling in the early years of administration.  However the Commission was responsible for land sales and for land surveying, including determining the site for the capital city. The Commission was abolished in 1842 when the British Government assumed full control of South Australia as a Crown Colony.

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