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History of Adelaide Through Street Names

Squares, River, & Public Reserves
Named on the 23rd May, 1837

Victoria Square Wellington Square Whitmore Square
Light Square Hurtle Square Hindmarsh Square
River Torrens
Brougham Place Palmer Place Montefiore Hill

Victoria Square H14
Named after Princess Victoria. When Victoria ascended to the throne on the death of her uncle King William IV on 20th June 1837, she was only 18 years of age. During her long reign, Victoria, (1851) and Queensland, (1859) became separate colonies out of New South Wales. Shortly before her death, Australia became a Federation on the 1st January 1901.
The first Federative influence on Australia under Queen Victoria, was the passing of the 1842 Imperial Waste Lands Act, which increased the minimum price of land in all the Australian colonies to 1 an acre - half the proceeds to be used to encourage migration. Wakefield, Torrens and Hutt's plan from the SA Foundation Act of 1834, was to be half adopted in the other then colonies of New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Victoria Square, which is 8 acres in extent, had been laid out as the principal square of Colonel Light's plan of Adelaide in March 1837. He refers to it on his first map as 'the great square'.

Colonel Light's comments on his map of 1837 are very interesting.
Numbers (38 acres) are reserved for Public Squares. Two acres in Victoria Square are selected for Public Buildings.

Wellington Square F4
The Duke of Wellington - Arthur Wellesley British General and statesman, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, is honoured for securing the passage of the SA Foundation Act through the House of Lords in August 1834.
All the squares, apart from Victoria Square, are 6 acres in extent.

Whitmore Square F16
One of our least known but prominent founder pioneers is William Wolryche Whitmore MP - son of a London banker and a Director of The East India Company. A member also of the New Zealand Company which founded New Zealand in 1841; an anti-slaver and Chairman of the two campaigns to found South Australia in 1832 and the successful attempt by The South Australian Association in 1834.
Whitmore is principally honoured for introducing the SA Foundation Act into the House of Commons.

Light Square F12
The highly esteemed soldier, sailor, artist
Colonel William Light was appointed first Surveyor-General of South Australia arriving in the colony on the 20th August 1836.
The City of Adelaide was surveyed and laid out by him in March 1837; his statue on Montefiore Hill is called 'Light's Vision'; he is buried under his monument in Light Square. Colonel Light is the only person legally buried within the city limits.

Hurtle Square J16
After James Hurtle Fisher, first Resident Commissioner, and another largely forgotten founder pioneer of South Australia. Fisher was a solicitor in England appointed by the SA Commissioners to organise our local constitution by setting up a Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages and a land conveyancing system which became the Real Property Act. Fisher, as Resident Commissioner, saved the Adelaide Parklands in 1837 from land speculators including Governor Hindmarsh.

Hindmarsh Square J12
Named after the first Governor of South Australia Captain John Hindmarsh a naval hero. Captain Hindmarsh arrived at Holdfast Bay on the Buffalo with Fisher on the 28th December 1836 where, immediately after being sworn in as Governor, he issued a Proclamation announcing the establishment of the Government. He did not have the courtesy to meet Colonel Light before assuming command of the colony. The Governor, after being here for two days, wanted Light to shift the city nearer to the Port.
Hindmarsh was on the street naming committee and tried to name several streets after his personal friends. Luckily, he was out-voted by other members except for Archer Street and Strangways Terrace. Research is continuing to find out the names originally suggested by the committee.
However, to Governor Hindmarsh belongs the credit for suggesting Queen Adelaide as the name of our capital city.

River Torrens 8-9
In honour of Colonel Robert Torrens, economist, soldier, politician and promoter of schemes for the colonization of South Australia. Torrens began his fight for SA with the first SA Land Company scheme of 1831 proposed by Bacon and Gouger.
He became Chairman of the Colonisation Commissioners in May 1835 and worked tirelessly for South Australia. In 1840 this Board was disbanded and Torrens became Chairman of a three-man Emigration Board in charge of colonisation for the whole of the British colonies including Australia.
No-one worked harder to establish South Australia than Colonel Robert Torrens.

Brougham Place I6
Henry Brougham 1778-1868 was a gifted student accepted at Edinburgh University at the age of 14 where he studied science, maths and law. In 1802 he founded, with friends, the Edinburgh Review and wrote many articles on social reform.
He entered parliament in 1807 as a radical fighting against slavery. As a lawyer he fought for the allowance of trade unions. The bills he introduced on state funded education in 1820, 1835, 1837, 1838, 1839, were all defeated.
His greatest support for South Australia was in arguing for 30 years for Parliamentary Reform, which was finally achieved in June 1832. The passing of this Act led to the third and successful attempt to found a colony in SA in 1834.
Brougham also helped to pass the Municipal Reform Bill of 1835. This Act was ostensibly brought in to get rid of the 'rotten boroughs' by allowing all ratepayers to vote in council elections. The South Australian Commissioners had pre-empted this provision in their 1st Annual Report, by stipulating that Local Government be allowed when the population of a town reached 2,000. As South Australia was the first British colony founded after this reform, Adelaide became the first Municipal Corporation in Australasia (August 1840).

Palmer Place G6
Named after Lt. Colonel George Palmer Jnr 1799-1883, one of the original Colonisation Commissioners appointed in May 1835. Palmer and Montefiore organised all the shipping and agents requirements for the 'first expedition' under the command of Colonel Light.
George Palmer was a great friend of Light. In 1859 he forwarded the loving cup to the Adelaide City Council from which the annual toast to Colonel Light is drunk.
Palmer and Montefiore had trialled a new system for Emigrant Ships where a medical person had to be aboard any ship with over 100 passengers and a minimum deck height observed. This reform, first adopted by the SA Commissioners, led to a greatly decreased mortality rate. In 1839 this code was adopted for all British colony emigrant ships.

Montefiore Hill G7
Jacob Montefiore, the last survivor of the ten Commissioners for SA of 1835, was born in Jamaica where his father was a merchant and sugar planter. He was an investor in the Swan River settlement (Perth) in Western Australia in 1829 and had other business interests in Australia. As mentioned above, Montefiore and Palmer assisted Colonel Light in preparing the ships Rapid and Cygnet for the maritime survey of South Australia in 1836.
He visited Adelaide in 1843 where his brother had a business. Montefiore continued to promote South Australia throughout the rest of his life and to highlight the efforts of his friend Colonel Light. He died in London in 1895.


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Founder pioneers will be added as research is completed.