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First Fleet of South Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 1836, at least nine ships in 1836 carried the first European settlers from England to the south coast of Australia for the establishment of the City of Adelaide and the province of South Australia.[1] Although not all of the ships sailed together, they have been referred to as the "First Fleet of South Australia", as all were carrying the founding planners and administrators of the new colony as well as the first emigrants, and all were represented at the proclamation of the new province.[2]


After a historic meeting at Exeter Hall on 30 June 1834, where the principles, objects, plan and prospects of the new Colony of South Australia were explained to the public, hundreds of enquiries from prospective immigrants started to arrive at the South Australian Association's headquarters in London.[3]

The ships that sailed in 1836 would carry prospective emigrants as well as staff employed by the South Australian Company, a private business enterprise, and various appointees of the British Government to set up the new British Province of South Australia.[4] Under the emigration scheme, labouring classes received free passage. They had to be between 15 and 30 years of age, preferably married, and needed two references. Steerage passengers paid £15-20, middle berth £35-40, and cabin class £70. Children under 14 years were charged £3 while those under 1 year were free.[5]


In January 1836 four ships sailed from England on behalf of the South Australian Company, ahead of the planned expedition by the South Australian Colonization Commission, the board set up under the South Australia Act 1834. They developed a settlement at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, in July 1836, but when farming proved unviable, both the settlement and the Company's operations were moved to the mainland.[4]

Four of the ships were sent by the South Australian Company, three were chartered by the Colonization Commission, and the other two chartered privately.[4][6] The ships began sailing from England in 1836 from January until about June, and arrived on the South Australian coast (all but one initially landing on Kangaroo Island) from July to December that year,[7] with the new province proclaimed on 28 December at Glenelg.

It is difficult for scholars to arrive at a definitive list of pioneer ships given the lack of extant primary evidence due to poor record keeping and accidental loss of records.[8][a] The following list is based on the best available records,[9][1] ordered chronologically by date of arrival in South Australia.

Ship Type and
burthen (bm)
Master Departure date
Nepean Bay
arrival date
Holdfast Bay
arrival date
Duke of York
37 passengers
Barque,* 197 tons Robert C. Morgan 5 April 27 July*[b][1]
Known passengers:[10][c]
  • T. Hudson Beare and four children
  • Lucy Ann Beare (died on K.I.)
  • Charlotte Hudson Beare
  • G. Massing
  • Israel Mazey
  • Thomas Mitchell
  • John Neale
  • Charles B. Powell
  • Robert Russell
  • D. H. Schreyvogel
  • Samuel Stephens
  • William West
Lady Mary Pelham
29 passengers
Barque,* 206 tons Robert Ross 7 April 28 July[d][1]
Known passengers:[c]
  • Cornelius Birdseye
  • Mrs. Birdseye
John Pirie
28 passengers
Schooner George Martin 22 February 16 August
Known passengers:[c]
24 passengers
Brig,* 162 tons Col. William Light 2 August
Known passengers:[c]
  • Alfred Barker
  • William Bell
  • William Bradley
  • Mrs. Bradley
  • Robert Buck, sen.
  • Robert Bruce Buck
  • William Chatfield
  • Joseph Childs
  • William Clampton
  • John Duncan
  • William G. Field, R.N.
  • William Freemantle
  • Edward Gandy
  • Maria Gandy (William Light's partner)
  • William Gandy
  • Thomas Gepp
  • George Goddard
  • Robert Goddard
  • Robert Keate Hill
  • William Hodges
  • William Jacob
  • William Lawes
  • James Lewis
  • George Mildred
  • Hiram T. Mildred
  • George Penton
  • William S. Pullen
  • John Frank Thorn
  • John Thorpe
  • William Tuckey
  • John Woodforde
84 passengers
Barque John Rolls 11 September 5 November
Known passengers:[c]
  • E. Adams
  • James Adams
  • Mrs. Adams
  • William Adams
  • Mrs. Adams
  • John Afford
  • John Avery
  • Thomas Bell
  • Mrs. Bell
  • John Brinnan
  • Robert Bristow
  • Mrs. Bristow
  • Selby Brown
  • John Cannon
  • Samuel Chapman
  • Mrs. Chapman
  • John Corney
  • David Divine
  • Joseph Finch
  • B. T. Finniss
  • Mrs. Finniss
  • George Friend
  • Thomas Gilbert
  • John Goodman
  • William Green
  • Mrs. Green
  • Alfred Hardy
  • E. Harrington
  • A. Heath
  • James Hoare
  • Mrs. Hoare[11]
  • G. S. Kingston
  • W. H. Kingston
  • John Levey
  • Berry Lipson
  • T. Lipson, R.N.
  • Mrs. Lipson
  • Emma Lipson
  • Eliza Lipson
  • Mary Lipson
  • John Locket
  • James Marshall
  • Mrs. Marshall
  • John Morphett
  • William H. Neale
  • Mrs. Neale
  • Henry Osborn
  • J. Osborn
  • Stephen Paris
  • Mrs. Paris
  • Charles Parrington
  • Edmund Parsons
  • Thomas Powis
  • Hugh Quin
  • Thomas W. Rogers
  • Basil Sladden
  • Isaac Sladden
  • Smythett Sladden
  • James Butler Stone
  • James Stubbington
  • Richard G. Symonds
  • William Teasdale
  • Robert G. Thomas
  • William S. Williams[e]
  • Charles Wright
  • Dr. Edward Wright[f]
  • Mrs. Wright
22 passengers
Barque John F. Nelson 5 October
Known passengers:[c]
  • John Bennett
  • John Cranfield
  • Mrs. Cranfield
  • Henry Douglas
  • Charles S. Hare
  • Mrs. Hare
  • William Wilkins
  • Mrs. Wilkins
76 passengers
Barque,* 346 tons John F. Duff 28 June 2 November 8 November
Known passengers:[c]
Tam O'Shanter
74 passengers
Barque Whiteman Freeman 30 November 17 December
Known passengers:[c]
  • Thomas Allen
  • Mrs. Allen
  • William Bailes
  • John Barnard
  • Robert Botting
  • Henry Briggs
  • Walter Bromley
  • Maria Catchlove
  • Jane Catchlove
  • Edward Catchlove, sen.
  • Catchlove, jun.
  • John Clarke
  • Thomas Clarke
  • William Finke
  • Charles Forbes
  • Mrs. Forbes
  • William Fouke
  • George Freeth
  • Henry Gilbert
  • George Guthrie
  • William Hardington
  • Alfred Jaques
  • William Jaques
  • Philip Lee
  • Mrs. Lee
  • Thomas Maslin
  • Thomas Masters
  • Henry Moseley
  • William Moseley
  • William Nation
  • William Phillips
  • Mrs. Phillips
  • Clara Rogers
  • Fanny Rogers
  • Josiah Rogers
  • Mary F. Rogers
  • Robert A. Rogers
  • Mrs. Thomas W. Rogers
  • Robert Ross
  • Robert Seaborne
  • Mrs. Seaborne
  • Thomas William Skuce
  • John Stuckey
  • Mrs. Stuckey
  • Edward Surflen
  • George White
  • John White
  • Alexander Woods
  • Mrs. Woods
Buffalo (1813)
174 passengers
Barque John Hindmarsh 24 December
(Port Lincoln)
28 December
Known passengers:[c]
  • Giles Abbott, jun.
  • Giles Abbott, sen.
  • Mrs. Abbott
  • John Abbott
  • John William Adams
  • Mrs. Adams
  • Frederick W. Allen
  • Cornelius Bean
  • Jonathan Bean
  • James Bennett
  • Mrs. Bennett
  • Emily Blundell
  • Isaac Breaker
  • Jane Maria Breaker
  • Luke Broadbent
  • Mrs. Broadbent
  • Samuel Chapman
  • Joseph Chegwyn
  • James Chittleborough
  • Mrs. Chittleborough
  • Robert Cock
  • Mrs. Cock
  • James Cock
  • William Coulthard
  • Mrs. Coulthard
  • William Croxall
  • Mrs. Croxall
  • William Ferguson
  • Mrs. Ferguson
  • Charles Brown Fisher
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Fisher
  • Elizabeth "Bessey" Fisher
  • James Fisher
  • James Hurtle Fisher
  • Marianne Fisher
  • Robert Fox
  • W. Henry Giles
  • Osmond Gilles
  • James Harvey
  • Richard Harvey
  • Mrs. Harvey
  • Henry Greig Hewett
  • John Hill
  • William Hill
  • John Hindmarsh
  • Mrs. Hindmarsh
  • Susan Hindmarsh
  • Jane Hindmarsh
  • Mary Hindmarsh
  • Rev. Charles B. Howard
  • Mrs. Howard
  • Young B. Hutchinson
  • William Irvin
  • James Jackson
  • Henry Jickling R.N.
  • Warwick Langley
  • Philip Leigh
  • Arthur F. Lindsay
  • William Malcolm
  • Joseph Middleton
  • Mrs. Middleton
  • John Monck
  • William Moore
  • Henry T. Morris
  • Richard Neville
  • Thomas Norris
  • Mrs. Norris
  • Josiah Oakley
  • Samuel Oakley, jnr
  • Samuel Oakley
  • Mrs. Oakley
  • Thomas Oakley
  • George Ormsby
  • Kate Oxenham
  • Eliza Oxenham
  • Richard Pike
  • Mrs. Pike
  • Frank Potts
  • Jacob Prowse
  • Mrs. Prowse
  • Philip M. Richards
  • George Roberts
  • Mrs. Roberts
  • Isabella Sladden
  • John Sladden
  • Mrs. J. Sladden
  • Richard Sladden
  • Mrs. R. Sladden
  • G. Stevenson
  • Mrs. Stevenson
  • Giles E. Strangways
  • T. Bewes Strangways
  • Stubbing
  • Robert Walker
  • Mrs. Walker
  • William Walker
  • Wheatley

Table notes

  1. ^ The Company's barque South Australian, which brought Samuel Stephens's replacement David McLaren to Kingscote, Kangaroo Island Kingscote on 22 April 1837, is not included in the list.
  2. ^ Disagreement exists in the primary sources as to the arrival date of the Duke of York at Nepean Bay. George Kingston gives the date of the arrival as 28 July whereas Robert Russell, the second mate, gives the date as 27 July.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Passenger names included here are those which might be found elsewhere in Wikipedia and in newspapers of the 1800s. For further names, refer to the external links at the end of the article.
  4. ^ Disagreement exists in the primary sources as to the arrival date of the Lady Mary Pelham at Nepean Bay. George Kingston gives the date of the arrival as 28 July whereas Robert Russell, the second mate, gives the date as 30 July, which is probably correct, as the two vessels spoke to each other on the voyage out, and the Lady Mary was in close company with the Duke.
  5. ^ (c. 1817 – 17 August 1859) Not to be confused with William Williams aboard Africaine. William S. Williams married Maria Wickham (1820 – 17 February 1872). The death notice for Maria, 24 February 187 says ...relict of the late William Williams (who arrived in the ship Cygnet in 1836).2.[12] She arrived with her parents aboard Africaine, on 12 August 1839. The will & probate for William S. Williams are available on FamilySearch, signed with an "X", so he was almost certainly illiterate.[13] According to Ing (2020), p.80 (see in Further reading below) he was a groom. "William Williams had immigrated on the Cygnet as a twenty-one-year-old servant to deputy-surveyor George Strickland Kingston, but after arrival in South Australia he held the licence for the City Bridge Hotel, located opposite the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on North Terrace. He married Maria Wickham in 1839." In a lithograph of the "Old Colonists" Festival Dinner held at the rear of the City Bridge Hotel on 27 March 1851, there is a W. Williams listed as a steward.[14] An account of this gathering mentions Williams, of the City Bridge Hotel, as caterer; and says that he was "the first [colonist] to drink Torrens water".[15] There are many articles on Trove mentioning him, including a few in which he hosts meetings of the Oddfellows.[16] In January 1850, Williams was charged with keeping a pig on the premises of the City Bridge Hotel, "in violation of the by-laws of the City Commissioners".[17]
  6. ^ Dr Wright was at the meeting called on 10 Feb 1837 to discuss the location of Adelaide.[18]
  7. ^ a b Osborne and Slater never made it to the mainland, having perished on an exploratory trek on Kangaroo Island.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Our Pioneer Ships — A Narrative of 1836". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 27 July 1886. p. 6. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Things That Happened Here a Hundred Years Ago". Sydney Mail. L (1284). New South Wales, Australia. 4 November 1936. p. 7. Retrieved 9 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Brief History: Colony built on a dream". Exploring Adelaide. Tourist Information Distributors Australia. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "South Australian Company". SA Memory. State Library of South Australia. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  5. ^ Jaunay, Graham. "Emigrants seeking free passage to South Australia 1836–1841". Findmypast. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Majority of the Colony of South Australia". South Australian Register. XXII (3509). 5 January 1858. p. 3. Retrieved 9 December 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "The infancy of South Australian settlement". South Australian Register. LI (2, 387). South Australia. 27 July 1886. p. 6. Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Passenger Lists". Bound for South Australia. History Trust of South Australia. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  9. ^ "The Pioneers of South Australia". Adelaide Observer. National Library of Australia. 10 November 1877. p. 6. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  10. ^ "The First Vessel". South Australian Register. XXII (3509). South Australia. 5 January 1858. p. 2. Retrieved 12 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ Mrs Hoare gave birth to John Hoare near Cygnet River 7 November 1836, claimed to be the first white child born in the colony
  12. ^ "Family Notices". South Australian Chronicle And Weekly Mail. XIV (706). South Australia. 24 February 1872. p. 8. Retrieved 13 January 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "William Williams - Will - 19 Sep 1859". FamilySearch. Retrieved 13 January 2021. (needs login)
  14. ^ "Old Colonists' Festival Dinner" (Photo + text). State Library of South Australia. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  15. ^ "The Old Colonists' Festival". South Australian Register. XV (1360). South Australia. 22 February 1851. p. 3. Retrieved 1 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Third anniversary of the Albion Lodge of Oddfellows". South Australian Register. XII (833). South Australia. 10 May 1848. p. 3. Retrieved 14 January 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Police Court. Tuesday, January 8". South Australian. XIII (1114). South Australia. 11 January 1850. p. 3. Retrieved 14 January 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "The Colonel Light Statue". The Advertiser. XLIX (15, 011). South Australia. 27 November 1906. p. 7. Retrieved 31 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia. Also see ADB and Adelaide AZ.
  19. ^ "The Tragedy of Dr. Slater and Mr. Osborne". Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association. from the Kangaroo Island Courier 9 Oct 1926.

Further reading

Passenger lists


This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 11:14
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