First report of the Directors of the South Australian Company

South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register (Adelaide, SA : 1836 - 1839), Saturday 18 June 1836, page 6



" Having succeeded in raising the subscribed capital of £200,000, with a deposit of £5 per share, making £20,000 paid up, the Company was formed on the 22d of January, 1836. "Their first object was to purchase such a quantity of land in the new colony, from the 'Colonization Commissioners for South Australia,' as would be best suited to the purposes of the Company, and on such terms as were likely to yield a profitable return. * * They judged it wisest, if they erred at all on this point, to do so on the safe side, —to purchase only as much country land as would be necessary for the purposes they had in view, and as much town land as they could obtain. At the same time, however, they entered into a contract for an additional quantity of land on conditional terms.

* * * Besides these purchases they have secured 320 acres of land at Nepean Bay, which the Company's chief manager will select on his arrival at Kangaroo Island, where it is proposed to establish the first seat of the Company's commercial and shipping operations. In right of their purchase on Kangaroo Island, they can rent on lease eight square miles, or 5,120 acres, at less than one farthing per acre.

" In consequence of the extent of their purchase, the Company's colonial manager can call for several distinct special surveys, at any time, of any district from which he may think it desirable to select land on their behalf; so that it may be greatly to the interests of the Company to postpone the definite choice of their lands until a very accurate knowledge of the main land has been acquired, or until the most eligible situation and fertile soils present themselves to his view.

"The purchase of lands and selection of the first location having been thus accomplished, your Directors proceeded in the second place to the purchase and fitting out of two vessels for the Southern Whale Fisheries, and two others for conveying out stores and pro-visions to the colony; to be afterwards employed in the coasting trade, and in carrying stock and provisions from the neighbouring colonies. They accordingly purchased the barque Duke of York in London, and the barque Lady Mary Pelham in Liverpool. They also purchased the schooner John Pirie in this city for a store ship, and which is well adapted for the sealing, or off-shore whale fisheries in the colony. Besides these the brig Emma has been chartered by the month as a store ship, or for any other purpose, for an un-limited time, at the option of the directors.

" As far as it was practicable, the provisions and stores for the colony have been shipped in the vessels that conveyed the emigrants ; so that each artisan will have his quota of provisions, tools, and stores in the vessel that carries him out. In case of accident this measure may prove of some importance.

"In the arrangement of this expedition your Board has had to determine the precise nature of the trades which would be necessary in the colony to facilitate the operations their manager will have to carry on. It would not have been prudent to have left themselves dependent upon the casual supply of other settlers; it appeared essential to the early and secure success of their plans to have every necessary aid within their own control. This has induced them to select workmen, tools, and materials for the establishment in the colony of several essential trades, which they have effected to the full extent of the finances at present under their control, and they have entered into contracts with the overseers and workmen of each branch for two and three years from the date of their arrival in the colony. The principle which regulates the wages of the officers is not only progressive increase, but in some measure in the ratio of the dividends paid to the proprietary from the profits of the Company; while that of the workmen is an annual increase of wages, and a certain sum to be paid them upon the faithful fulfilment and termination of their contract: the rate of the whole being rather above than below the remuneration of skill and labour in England.

" Ordnance and other stores were purchased largely, under the selection of their officers, and the assortment of tools and materials of different trades is complete. The departments of the blacksmiths, joiners, house-carpenters, coopers, and sawyers, are fully supplied with working tools and materials of their trades; besides which they have purchased a quantity of wheels, tents, waggons, carts, picks, axes, malls, and other articles admirably adapted to the purposes of new settlements.

" The materials for large cattle and sheep enclosures, which will require little time and expense to erect, have been obtained; and the sheep-netting and chains,to render them more complete for the purposes designed, have been sent out with them.

" It will be quite impossible in this report to go into particulars of all the proceedings of the directors: it may be enough to state, that they have provided a present supply of materials for carrying into effect the first three objects proposed in the prospectus, comprised in the following items, viz. —

" 1.—The preparation of materials and erection of warehouses and dwelling-houses for the servants, provisions, and stores of the Company, with out-houses and enclosures for their stock, &c. The erection of frames of dwelling-houses, with a temporary covering ; which will, in the first instance, serve as work-shops for some of the artisans and mechanics, and afterwards be taken to pieces, and transported in the Company's vessels to their town sites in the metropolis on the mainland, where it is intended to erect and finish them as dwelling-houses, which cannot fail to leave a fair profit, and greatly increase the value of their town lands.

2.—The building of boats and small decked vessels, for which there must be an immediate demand throughout the whole colony. The intercourse between each settlement will be chiefly carried on by such means. The erection of farmsteads on the Company's farms, with the formation of temporary bridges, enclosure of lands, and draining.

3.—The cultivation of their farms, until they shall be let to respectable tenants on such terms as will remunerate them properly for the outlay, or until they be disposed of by sale, or on the termination of leases, which shall give to the tenant 'the right of purchase before the expiration of lease,' according to the terms of the prospectus.

" The Fourth Object contemplated by the Company is the Growth of Wool. " For this purpose they obtain, by virtue of their purchase of lands, the right of pasturage of a vast extent of land at a rent of less than one farthing per acre; on which they will enjoy the important privilege of changing their sheep-walks every three years if necessary; an advantage which in Spain is deemed essential to the welfare of the flocks and the quality of the wool. " As a beginning, they have purchased a very fine lot of rams and ewes of the finest aud purest breed of Merinos, which were selected with great care and at much expense in Saxony, by the son of a great sheep-holder of Van Diemen's Land for his own stock. " They have also purchased and sent out, in their different vessels, a supply of pure Leicesters and South Downs; and for the further supply of this kind of stock, they look to the neighbouring colonies of Van Diemen's Land, New South Wales, and elsewhere, as they can be best and cheapest supplied. " They have ordered the Emma to call at the Cape of Good Hope, where sheep for mutton can be had extremely low, from 4s. 6d. to 6s. each (they will not only be valuable for that purpose, but may be crossed with some of the other breeds belonging to the Company.

" The Fifth Object in view is—The Whale, Seal, and other Fisheries. " Having already alluded to the purchase and outfit of the Duke of York and Lady Mary Pelham packets, that have been equipped and provisioned for twelve months, to be employed in the black oil and sperm whale fisheries, and which will return after each cruise to refit and exchange their full casks for empty ones at the Company's naval station in South Australia, —they have only further to remark on this subject, that they have compiled and printed a new set of ship's articles, in strict accordance with the most recent Acts of Parliament, according to which they have made an engagement for three years with the officers and crews of each ship. These crews, with their families, will locate and reside in Kingscote, the first establishment of the Company in Kangaroo Island, where their wages will be paid from time to time. By this plan the officers and sailors will have frequent opportunities of enjoying the society of their families, and be probably induced thereby, instead of returning to England, to adopt that station as their future home. Besides these, other inducements to locate the seamens' families in 'the colony have been presented to your directors by the 56th regulation of the Board of Commissioners, by which they are offered the passage money for all the sailors and their wives who shall engage for three years in the Company's colonial service, or in that of other emigrants.

"Great credit is due to the commissioners for this judicious regulation, which will lay the foundation of a nursery for seamen in South Australia, that cannot fail to produce the most important advantages to a colony placed in such a central position, and with easy access by sea to every point of its own extensive territory, and with all the other old established colonies in the southern half of New Holland.

"As the waters around the Company's settlement are known to abound in fish of every kind, proper nets and fishing-gear have been sent out. The coopers' establishment, for whose use a considerable quantity of dry staves have been shipped in the Emma until the article can be provided in the colony, will furnish the proper casks for packing the salted and cured fish. They have sent out persons acquainted with that branch of trade, who can have a very abundant supply of salt from the Lagoons, close to Nepean Bay, where their settlement is to be fixed, and which has been a place of resort for vessels from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land for that article for the last twelve years. "Not only will the fish trade prove, as they trust, of great value to the inhabitants of this new colony, but will become a staple article for the supply of shipping and future export.

" The Sixth Object is—Salting and Curing Beef and Pork. "Your directors have not yet done much for the furtherance of this branch of trade: they ordered two bulls, which, on their arrival in London, proved not to be of the pure Devon breed, and consequently they declined receiving them. The Company's vessels could not afford room for any cattle; but the Emma will call at the Cape of Good Hope, and take in some oxen, accustomed to the yoke, for agricultural purposes, with as many cows as she can provide space for. The adjoining colonies will be the next source of supply; and probably it may be advisable to order shipments from the Cape by every economical opportunity, as that appears to be the cheapest and most convenient market for that article.

"It is well known that the increase of pigs is extremely great, but it requires much care and pains to cure and salt the pork; to this they are giving due attention, and hope, in a few years, to bring this article to great perfection in the colony. "They are, at this time, in negotiation with some gentlemen to furnish the Company with a large supply of the finest breeds of this description of stock.

"In the prosecution of their labours, the directors have felt it an imperative duty to consider well the position in which their officers and servants will be placed on their arrival in the colony, and have deemed it incumbent on them to meet their difficulties by an anticipation of their wants and a supply of every necessary. With this view they have, as already intimated, sent out a most abundant supply of provisions, tea, coffee, &c, taking care to omit spirits of all kinds, except for medicinal purposes; beside, they have sent out supplies of blankets, chairs in frame, strong boots and shoes, Kilmarnock caps, slops and clothing for children and adults; nails, smiths' coals, agricultural instruments, harness, saddles, ploughs, ropes and chains of various sizes, corn and garden seeds, &c.; pitch, tar, paints, oil, glue, soap, candles, blocks, canvass, sewing twine and needles for sails, boats, anchors, copper sheathing and nails, tanks, spades, shovels, pickaxes, carpenters' and coopers' tools of every description; sheet-lead, iron-work, deals, glass, iron window-frames, &c.; earthenware, metal pots, camp ovens, and a variety of other useful articles, too numerous to be mentioned here. The fittings, beds, bedding, &c., of the emigrants in each vessel will be taken down, and made available for their use on their landing.

"In the next place, the directors propose to allow each family and their servants the use of a cottage and half an acre of land, which they must aid in the erecting and enclosing of, and will also assist them in obtaining a cow and pig. Instead of rations, they will be paid in sterling money, or its representative value; which request on the part of the workmen has constrained your directors to send out with the first ships a quantity of specie in gold, silver, and copper. They have provided a good supply of medicines, with surgical instruments, medical books, &c, in the hands of such of their officers as have some knowledge of the use of them; and expect by the following vessel a surgeon will proceed out and settle in the town of Kingscote.

"Some of the wives of the emigrants are experienced in dress-making; and other emigrants are going out as tailors, purposing to establish themselves there, so as to meet the demand for the articles of their trades. "The formation of male and female schools of industry, the adoption of a systematic plan for training up and apprenticing the children to trade, and to the shipping of the colony, with attention to their moral and religious education, are subjects to which your directors attach the greatest importance; and they hope to adopt the means necessary for this end, and most zealously to concur with His Majesty's Government, and the chaplain, in the more general promotion of similar measures in the whole colony. "It is generally known that no provision is made by the State for the Christian instruction of merchant seamen, as in His Majesty's service, therefore your directors have sent on board each vessel a separate library, which the British and Foreign Sailors' Society have generously supplied; they have each a copy of the Scriptures, and the managers and overseers have been each presented with a copy of the Commentary printed by the Tract Society, also prayer-books, homilies aud religious tracts. With these aids, and from their confidence in the officers of each department, they have no doubt but that religious worship will be observed, not only regularly on board the ships, but at each of the Company's stations after they settle in the colony, until the societies are fully matured, which are now in progress in England, for sending out ministers, and the erection of chapels in the colony, to be there supported by the voluntary contributions of the settlers. Lastly, the formation of a loan library of useful books, upon the Scotch system, is so desirable, that your directors are collecting the materials for one; and they earnestly solicit each shareholder in this Company to search their libraries for such useful books as they can conveniently spare, and present them to the secretary, at the Company's office, for this worthy purpose.

"Your directors are unanimously of opinion that to select men of steady and temperate habits as their servants in the first instance, and to adopt every measure that is adapted to perpetuate those habits in the colony, are the best means of succeeding in their pro-jects. They are resolved, therefore, not to be the venders of ardent spirits, nor to give any countenance to such as do so; but as men of social habits may require places to meet at for refreshment, they are negotiating with some persons of respectability and character to go out and establish a coffee-house, and also an hotel, on these principles in the town of Kingscote.

"The tenure of all the lands purchased by the Company being absolutely fee-simple, affords a large field for the discovery of mines of coal and minerals, and quarries of lime and stone, which are points that will have attention in due course. This is an advantage possessed by none of the other colonies, but absolutely secured to this by Act of Parliament. Such a valuable privilege, with the certainty of all the money, without any deduction whatever, being applied to carrying out emigrants to your estates, free of expense, renders the sum which you have paid for your lands a merely nominal amount —it is, in fact, a purchase of labour rather than land.

"Several individuals have availed themselves of the 13th clause of the prospectus, and paid up the whole of their instalments. This is a mode of investment well worthy the consideration of the public, being both convenient and safe, and which may be available at any time without expense, while the interest allowed is as great as can be obtained for any secure mortgage. It is especially convenient to any one who wishes to invest a specific sum in a joint-stock company, without being obliged to keep money in reserve to meet future calls; while, at the same time, he is obtaining a liberal interest on the investment until the whole instalments are called for. Besides these advantages, he may receive back so much of his money and interest, after giving six months' notice to the directors, as shall not have been necessarily appropriated by intermediate calls on the shares of the proprietors.

"It only now remains for the directors to state what they have done towards the establishment of a bank, or banks, in the new colony. "Several applications having been made to them to receive deposits of money from persons in London intending to emigrate to South Australia, which they desired to have repaid in the colony, they were induced to reflect upon the advantages that would arise to the colony from the immediate establishment of such an institution. This, with the necessity they found themselves placed under with regard to the payment of their own officers and workmen, led them to conclude that it was their duty to consult the shareholders on this important point, and, if approved of by them, to make a further issue of a limited number of shares to meet the call from this and other objects affecting the interests of the Company; and as the value of their property had unquestionably increased, they felt it just and proper to issue the additional shares at a premium of £1 per share of £25, the whole of which was to fall into the general stock of the Company.

FIRST REPORT OF THE DIRECTORS OF THE SOUTH (1836, June 18). South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register (Adelaide, SA : 1836 - 1839), p. 6.