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This Day in History

Australian History

Monday, June 30, 1834. :   A public meeting is held in Exeter Hall, London, to discuss plans for the new colony of South Australia.

     Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first European to investigate the possibilities for settlement on South Australia's coast, doing so in 1802. The exploration of Charles Sturt to chart the Murray River was a further catalyst to the establishment of a colony on the southern coast. Consequently, the British authorities moved to establish an official colony, which would be known as South Australia.

On 30 June 1834, a meeting was held at Exeter Hall at The Strand in London, England, to advise the public of the principles, objects, plan and prospects of the new colony of South Australia. The meeting, organised by the founding members of The South Australian Association, was attended by around 2500 people, including many members of Parliament. One of the speakers was Daniel Wakefield, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who helped his brother draft the speech. EG Wakefield was a strong advocate for the establishment of a free colony, rather than one based on convict labour, and he lobbied heavily for Parliament to pass the bill to enable the colonisation of the province of South Australia. During his speech, Daniel Wakefield stated:

"It was proposed to make the colony independent, from the first, of the mother country. This the Right Hon. Gentleman declined to do; and the consequence was, that we were obliged to modify the plan to meet his views. Therefore it is that the measure appears before you in its present shape; but it still has my cordial approbation and concurrence, because the Commissioners are to be only temporary, and after a time the government of the new nation is to be confided to the inhabitants themselves (hear, hear!)."

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