Skip to content

The Reform Club & South Australia

Following Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, Britain succumbed to two de- cades of instability. The wars against France depleted government coffers to such an extent that the country was almost bankrupt. Thousands of Mili- tary and Naval Officers who fought against Napoleon were retained on half-pay when the country could ill afford it, and the number of sinecures for members of clergy and others, almost emptied the public purse. The cost of staple foods, especially bread, was unfairly inflated because of the Corn Laws.

My three volumes set of books incorporating 58 biographies of those named on Adelaide’s first set of streets can be purchased through torrenspess.com. If you have an interest please leave a comment or privately contact me on sejhn@ozemail.com.au

These statutes ensured a high price for corn in favour of landholders, but at the expense of the population generally. Such excesses led to riots in the countryside and the burning of haystacks by mobs of disenchanted villagers. In the large industrial cities unrest also prevailed. Factories belched smoke and filth and employment conditions and hours of work were so primitive that an embryonic union movement was born out of the protest. Parliamentary representation was linked only to property and status, and the majority of the population had no legal way of venting their frustration. Unrest, both industrial and agricultural broke out in several places and a succession of Whig and Tory Governments seemed incapable of settling the country.

The fear of revolution such as that which Britain had witnessed in France became a very real possibility. Ironically these were the very conditions which were bound to precipitate further violence and or change and reform. Fortunately, change did come through the parliamentary process and not by revolution. For the first time in British history much of the ensuing change was led by a coalescence of the nouveau riche, the intellectual elites, aristocratic men of conscience and the emerging religious minorities. Men like Thomas Fowell Buxton, Daniel O’Connell, Lord John Russell, William Hutt, Joseph Hume, John Arthur Roebuck, Lord Brougham, Charles Buller and many others all called for the alleviation of poverty and wider electoral representation.

Colonization was seen as one of several ways to ameliorate these condi- tions and it became one of the main subjects of discussion among the Political Economists of the time. Adam Smith set the scene with his “Wealth of Nations” and Jeremy Bentham, Colonel Robert Torrens, David Ricardo, Thomas Tooke, James Pennington, William Wolryche Whitmore, John Stuart Mill and Sir William Molesworth continued a pertinent and meaningful discussion in minority newspapers like the Globe and the Westminster Review. Coincidentally a newly released book entitled ‘A Letter From Sydney’ (1829) which Edward Gibbon Wakefield wrote, whilst incarcerated in Newgate Prison, fired the collective imagination of these literati. In it, he outlined his theory of Systematic Colonisation in which capitalists in a new idealised colony, hypothetically imagined in the antipodes, were to be charged, what became known as, a sufficient price for their land purchases. The monies collected in this way were then set aside to fund the further emigration of labourers and young families. Wakefield’s theories prompted a call by the more adventurous to proceed and give the anticipated project a life.

The timing of this movement was fortuitous, because, by 1832 the ground- swell for change in the electoral system in Britain had grown to such an extent, that the momentous Reform Bill of 1832 finally passed through both Houses of Parliament and into legislation. Ordnance Surveyors were engaged to delineate boundaries for a number of new electorates and after a General Election, a new augmented parliament was sworn in. With the widening of the franchise a number of wealthy, but radical young men came into the parliament and briefly held the balance of power between 1832 and 1837. This group, who were known as The Philosophical Radicals were nominally led by George Grote MP. They aligned themselves with the Whig party and carried a number of highly influential reforms.

It was an exciting time and many changes were enshrined in law. The South Australian Act was one of them and with the imprimatur of the Duke of Wellington in the Lords, this Bill was finally assented to. Unsurprisingly, the measure provoked considerable opposition from the Tories from the outset, and the London Times often reported it as a ‘crackpot scheme’ cooked up by a group of wealthy, but outspoken young aristocrat politicians. Carp Diem! The young radicals had seen and captured the window of opportunity. The rest is history! The South Australian Commission was formed in 1835 and by 1836 all appointments in the proposed colony were fixed. Throughout May, June and July of that year a steady flotilla of ships began making their way southward and by December several hundred emigrants were eating their first Christmas pudding in the midst of a long hot Australian summer.

Members of the Reform Club would be well aware that their great institu- tion of conviviality sprang from this same Great Reform Bill of 1832 . However, what is not so well known, if at all, is that the very proponents of this club also initiated and carried into effect this first great experiment in Systematic Colonization in South Australia. These were but two of a raft of developments which sprang from the excitement generated by the coalition of Whigs and Radicals in the Palace of Westminster. In the very week in which the first meeting of the Reform Club was held on May 5th 1836, Colonel William Light sailed from London in the ‘Rapid’ with instructions from the South Australian Commission to find a suitable site to plant the capital of a new colony. It was to be called Adelaide after William lV‘s Queen Consort. Light’s instructions were both clear and detailed. He was to rendezvous on the mid south coastline of Australia in and around Kangaroo Island and the two adjacent gulfs. He was then to search for a suitable harbour. Thereafter, Light was to decide the exact location of the proposed city and immediately begin surveying it by dividing it into 1000 one acre blocks, each with an associated country section of 80 acres. The voyage to Australia usually took three or four months but by December 28th that year there were 9 ships laden with colonists standing off the east coast of Gulf St Vincent. In the afternoon 200 of these immigrants were rowed ashore to witness the planting of the British flag. Later, behind the sand hills at Glenelg , and beneath the shade of some huge gum trees, the new settlers witnessed and heard the proclamation of the Colony in the presence of the first Governor, Captain John Hindmarsh. Canon were fired in salute and in celebration a splendid cold collation was afterwards served to all.

The River Torrens (above) runs through the beating heart of the City of Adelaide as it makes its way from the hills to the sea. Colonel Robert Torrens a distinguished ‘political economist’ seen here under the bridge to the Adelaide Oval would be so proud of this beautiful ‘Athens of the South.’

By early April 1837 the City of Adelaide proper had been surveyed and all was in readiness for intending colonists to take up their lots. The surveyors marked out sixty streets and five squares in a pattern known as a quincux. The total of 1000 city acres was embraced with the now world famous wide band of parklands. On 23rd May 1837 less than six months later a committee of twelve sat down to name the streets and squares. It was comprised the Governor, the Surveyor General, the Chief Justice, some junior appointees of the South Australian Commission, and a handful of influential, but private colonists. Needless to say most of those present were ultimately named among the 58 streets and squares. However, this was not before distributing about forty or so to those in Britain who in some way had helped bring the project to fruition. The committee designated the central Square as Victoria Square after, the then, Princess Royal. The main North-South axis through the city became King William Street. Thereafter the names chosen read like a list of the central inaugural committee and the early membership of the Reform Club. Almost half of the fifty eight streets named in Adelaide on 23 May 1837 were in tribute to members of the Reform Club.

As might be expected most of these people never came to South Australia. However, some did! George Fife Angas eventually came down under in 1849. He spent most of the 1840’s prompting people in Devon and Cornwall to become emigrants. John Brown came to the colony as the Emigration Agent and had a full and productive life here. The two daughters of Matthew Davenport Hill came down in the 1870’s. They had an abiding interest in prison reform and were especially taken with the then newly built Reformatory at Magill. George Grote had a younger brother Francis who emigrated in the 1840’s. He took up a pastoralist lease and died prematurely in tragic circumstances. Jacob Montefiore did come as a visitor in 1843 as he had a brother in Adelaide and other family members in Sydney. Some of William Molesworth’s family came later to Australia and took up large land holdings on the Darling River systems.

Early Adelaide

By early April 1837 the City of Adelaide proper had been surveyed and was in readiness for intending colonists to take up their lots. The surveyors marked out sixty streets and five squares and the whole city was em- braced in a wide band of parklands. This is where it becomes interesting for Reform Club Members! On May 23rd 1837 a committee of 12 sat dowmn to name the streets and squares. The attending included the Governor, the Surveyor General, the Chief Justice, some junior appointees of the South Australian Comission and a hasndful of influential , but private colonists. Needless to say most of those present were ultimate named among 58 streets. However, this was not before naming about 40 or so to those in England who in some way had helped bring the project to fruition. They designated the central Square as Victoria Square after the , the then, Princess Royal. The main North-South axis throught the city became King William Street. Therafter the the names chiosen read like a list of the central inaugural committee and early membership of the Reform Club. Almost half of the 58 streets named in Adelaide on the 23rd of May 1837 were in tribute to the members of the Reform Club.

The magnificent library at the Reform Club in Pall Mall

The Inaugural Committee of the Reform Club

George Grote MP, Leader of the Philosophical RadicalsSir William Molesworth MP,Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Convict Transportation
Lord Stanley, Colonial Secretary, then a Whig and later to become three times a Tory Prime Minister of England

Daniel O’Connell MP, the great Irish Liberator
Charles Shaw Lefevre MP, Speaker in the House
John George Lefevre,Under-Secretary to Stanley Henry George Ward MP,later to become Governor of Colombo. Henry Kingscote, South Australian Company Director

General Members George Fife Angas, of Dawlish- Director of the South Australian Company Edward George Barnard MP, Shipping Magnate
John Brown, 26 Chester Terrace- Emigration Agent in the Colony John Walbanke Childers MP. author on the Corn Laws

Raikes Currie MP, 4 Hyde Park Terrace- An Anglican Banker
Pascoe St Leger Grenfell,Anglican, Welsh Mining Interests
Matthew Davenport Hill MP, (brother of Rowland Hill- Secretary of SA Commission and Father of the Penny Post)
Charles Hindley MP, Manchester cotton mill owner
William Hutt MP, Colonial Theorist and shipping owner.
Edmund Jerningham, Banker
Viscount Melbourne,Prime Minister
Jacob Montefiore 24 Tavistock Square- Jewish Banker associated with the Rothschild family
J Horsley Palmer,(brother to George and Director of the Bank of England) James Pennington, 15 Lower Seymour St and a writer on Currency matters John Rundle MP, Tavistock Banker & Businessman
John Abel Smith (Carrington family), Welton Garth, Hull Colonel Robert Torrens, Adelphi Terrace- distinguished Political Economist after whom the River Torrens is named.
Charles J. Kemeys Tynte MP,
Daniel Wakefield, Uncle to E Gibbon Wakefield, Kings Bench Walk Henry Waymouth, Bryanstone Square

Today there are 1.5 million people living in South Australia and approximately 1.3 million of these live in the City of Adelaide.

The State is often called the Festival State and the city is known as the Athens of the South. The climate is Mediterranean and despite a shortage of water, the lifestyle is casual and benign. The city is especially noted for its stately cultural boulevards and generous shady parklands. It is sometimes thought of as the cultural and intellectual hub of the continent.

As an overseas member of the Reform Club with more than 10 years standing it is my hope that Adelaide comes to hold a special place in the minds of all Reform Club members and I stand ready to introduce any who venture to Adelaide to the spirit of reform which echoes in our streets and terraces.

In closing I invite any who may be passing by to write a comment. I value your feedback.

—Baron Grenfell of Kilvey—

You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings follow”

William Shakespeare from ‘Henry VIII’ Act II, Scene 3

My book set entitled “Behind the Streets of Adelaide : A Pantheon of Dissent” was published by torrenspress.com in 2016. I was indeed privileged to have Baron Grenfell of Kilvey, who has recently retired from the House of Lords in Britain, to write the following ‘foreword’ to the 1100 pages of text which follows. Herewith are his most flattering words.

A Foreword

My dear friend Dr. Jeff Nicholas does me great honour in inviting me to write a Foreword to this remarkable set of books. Thanks to his profound research, scholarly analysis, originality of concept and manifest love of his subject, Dr. Nicholas has made a priceless contribution to our understanding of the forces at work during that bleak period in English history, following the defeat of Napoleon, which brought forth the radical-thinking, liberal-minded men and women, many very strong in their Christian faith, who people these pages. Through the prism of their tireless efforts to devise, obtain parliamentary approval for, and then finally implement, often against dispiriting political and financial odds, a more humane and enlightened form of colonization, the author allows us to see why and how the founding of South Australia came to be such a significant milestone in Britain’s colonial history and its gradual creation of a democratic Commonwealth of free nations. 

As a Grenfell I am both proud and flattered that my revered great-grandfather, Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell (1798-1879) is included in Jeff’s “Pantheon of Dissent”. Though not as outstanding a figure in this story as the likes of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Robert Gouger, Colonel William Light, Colonel Robert Torrens, George Fife Angas and others, he played a useful role. The Committee of Twelve, when it came to distributing honours, paired him with his friend Raikes Currie, rating them two of the most valuable young churchmen who had more than generously committed monies to the establishment of the Anglican Church in the colony. A highly successful copper smelter in Wales’s Swansea Valley, Pascoe Grenfell proved himself a particularly enlightened and public-spirited businessman and employer. A man of staunch Christian faith, he devoted much of his wealth to the improvement of housing and living conditions for his employees and their families and building a church, All Saints, in the company’s and his hometown of Kilvey. It is a great sadness for me as for many others that the Anglican Church in Wales recently announced the closure of ‘All Saints’ due to economies that the Church in Wales was forced to make.  It is, however, a comfort to know that in Adelaide, on the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street, Holy Trinity still thrives on land purchased by my great-grandfather for the purpose of building there Adelaide’s first Anglican Church. His generous spirit thus still lives on in a city in which, to his known regret, he was never to set foot. 

I have learned so much from Dr. Nicholas’s hugely informative and elegantly written book. I knew nothing of E.G. Wakefield’s theory of systematic colonization. Nor had I much knowledge of the heroic determination of its practitioners to harness it to a project to create South Australia as a province for free immigrants promised civil liberties and religious tolerance. It is a stirring and heartening story of the creation of a civilized society. But that is not all I have learned from it. In the telling of the many achievements and occasional failures of those bringing their dream to fruition in South Australia, I have also acquired a deeper understanding my own country’s depressing condition in the early decades of the 19th century which led enlightened minds to see in civilized non-penal colonization a potentially crucial contribution to tackling Britain’s appalling levels of poverty. Dr. Nicholas’s book should occupy an important place in the bibliography of political and social history of the times and places he has described. The street signs in the great city of Adelaide which bear the names of this remarkable band of men and women serve as a daily reminder of the power of enlightened determination in the face of so many obstacles to create a free, humane and prosperous society where no such state existed before. These are names to honour, and Jeff Nicholas has done just that.        Lord Grenfell of Kilvey

Lord Grenfell, his wife Dagmar and Mrs Marlene Nicholas at the Louvre in 2017

Wikipedia reveals a much loved and highly respected man in Lord Julian Grenfell (born 23 May 1935).  He is a Labour hereditary peer and former member of the House of Lords known for his strong Europhile views. Grenfell is the son of Pascoe Grenfell, 2nd Baron Grenfell, by his first wife Elizabeth Sarah Polk Shaughnessy, daughter of Captain the Honourable Alfred Thomas Shaughnessy, second son of Thomas Shaughnessy, 1st Baron Shaughnessy. He was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge Union. He was commissioned in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (60th Rifles) in 1954 and became a Captain in the Queen’s Royal Rifles (TA) in 1962. Grenfell was a programme presenter at Associated Television from 1960 to 1963 and worked as a free-lance journalist from 1963 to 1964. He was with the World Bank between 1965 and 1995, serving in Washington D.C.New York City (where he was Special Representative to the United Nations from 1974 to 1981) and Paris. Lord Grenfell first entered the House of Lords on his father’s death in 1976. He was a member of the UK Delegation to Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and Western European Union from 1997 to 1999. He lost his seat in Parliament after the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in that body. However, in 2000 he was created a life peer as Baron Grenfell of Kilvey, of Kilvey in the County of Swansea, which allowed him to return to the House of Lords. He was Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees from 2002 to 2008, a Deputy Speaker from 2002 to 2008, Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Union from 2002 to 2008 and a member of the Procedure Committee from 2003 to 2007. Lord Grenfell took formal voluntary retirement from the House of Lords on 31 March 2014, under a procedure laid down in a Resolution of the House of 27 June 2011. In addition, on 1 October 2014 he became the first peer to retire permanently under the statutory provisions of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. He retired to Paris.

Lord Grenfell was President of the Anglo-Belgian Society of the UK, 2006–2014. His honours and awards include

Honours

Medal

  •  Medal of Honour of the Senate of France

Continuing your South Australian Journey

Unlike Captain Cook’s voyage to the Great South Land which was largely of a cartographic nature, coupled with a search for a remote locality to deposit Britain’s vagrants and petty criminals, the South Australian experiment was imbued with a healthy mix of capital investment and a disposition toward universal suffrage, republicanism, social reform and the separation of church and state. These were for the most part noble sentiments despite the myopia with respect to the local indigenous population. As to who today’s citizens should venerate (because many of them are still strangely undecided) there remains a deafening silence. That Is why I have offered up this second panel of slides from one of my public presentations which is provocatively entitled ‘Who should we venerate?’

Some might be surprised to see that Grote, Wakefield, Torrens and Gouger are included and what is Jeremy Bentham, the Duke of Wellington and John Stuart Mill doing on the panel? Readers are asked to visit the website at torrenspress.com for details of my three volume book-set which sets out over 1100 pages of intrigue and passion of those behind the South Australian experiment. Readers are also invited to comment on this relatively new blog which comes to you from my website which I have called panesofhistory.org

A South Australian Journey

European settlement in South Australia was formalised in two steps- firstly with the passage of the South Australian Act in the British Parliament in August 1834 and secondly with the proclamation of the colony or Province on December 28th 1836.

Over the next few days I will be publishing 4 panels like the one above so that readers can work their way through some of the significant ideas and developments which finally led to European Settlement in South Australia.

Readers are given the chance to reflect on the elements of this slide by way of entry to one of my headline presentations which I have given since 2001. It is entitled ‘The Founders of South Australia: Who should we Venerate?’

Feel free to contact me at sejhn@ozemail.com.au should you wish to comment. My 3 volume set of books entitled ‘Behind the Streets of Adelaide: A Pantheon of Dissent’ can be purchased through torrenspress.com or at Dymocks in the heart of the city of Adelaide.

What is health?

A Bruegel image of the Great Plague

During these difficult times it is apposite that we give close and sustained attention to what it really means to be human on this planet. When we take a longer view, that is perhaps two or three millennia, we begin to take notice of our vulnerabilities. With this in mind I offer readers a perspective on human health which was written in 1683. It is today a refreshing look at who we are and how we behave.

Think carefully about your health

‘Who is he that values health at the rate it is worth? Not he that hath it; he reckons it among the common ordinary enjoyment’s and takes as little notice of it than his long worn clothes; perhaps more careful of his garments , remembering their price; but thinks health cost him nothing and coming to him at so easy a rate values it accordingly, and hath little regard to keep it, is never truly sensible of what he enjoyed until he finds the want of it by sickness; then health, above all things, is earnestly desired and wished for.’

You that have health and know how to prize it, I’ll tell you what it is that you may love it better, put a higher value upon it , and endeavour to preserve it with a more serious  stricter observance and tuition.

‘Health is that which makes your bed easy and your sleep refreshing; that revives your strength with the rising sun, and makes you cheerful at the light of another day; tis that which fills up the hollow and uneven places of your carcase, and males your body plump and comely, ‘tis that which dresses You up in Nature’s richest attire, and adorns your face with the choicest colours.’

‘Tis that which makes fertile and increases the natural endowments of your mind, and preserves them long from decay; makes your wit acute and your memory retentive.’

‘Tis that which makes the soul delight in her mansion, sporting herself at the casements of your eyes.’

Tis that which makes pleasure to be pleasure, and delights delightful, without which you can solace yourself in nothing of terrene felicities or enjoyment’s.’

Did‘But now take a view of yourself when health has turned its back upon you, and deserts your company; see, then, how the scene is changed; how you are robbed and spoiled of all your comforts and enjoyment’s.’

‘Sleep  that was stretched out from evening to to the fair bright day is now broken into pieces and subdivided, not worth the accounting; the night that before seemed short is now too long, and the downy bed presseth hard against the bones.’

‘Exercise is now toyling and walking abroad the carrying of a burden.’

‘The eye that flashed as lightning is now like the poaceous body of a thick cloud, that rolled from east to west swifter than a celestial orb, is now tired and weary standing still; that which penetrated the centre of another microcosm, hath lost its planetary influence, and is becoming obtuse and dull.’

We may as likely keep or acquire riches by prodigality as preserve health and obtain long life by intemperance, inordinate passions, a noxious air, and such like injurious customs, ways, and manner of living.’

UNKNOWN WRITER 1683  

Charles John Kemeys Tynte

&

La Grande Semaine

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 3.20.09 pm

As we come to the close of the month of July I was reminded yesterday that one or two people named on the Adelaide Streets at first European settlement have some history when it comes to advanced ideas of democracy, and the eventual liberation of the French people. Yesterday was July 30th and  by happenstance it was the 188th birthday of the ‘July Uprising of 1830, a Three Day War’ where blood was further spilt on the streets of Paris some forty years after the French Revolution. Strangely, there is a remote connection between this event and the lives of some of the men and women first named on the streets of Adelaide in May 1837.

This short conflict arose right at the time that the National Colonization Society, from which South Australia sprang had just formed in London under the aegis of Edward Gibbon Wakefield through his cypher Robert Gouger, Colonel Robert Torrens, Wilmot Horton MP and a number of young intellectuals in in London. Some of the younger men who had joined the Colonization Society were of Huguenot extraction and felt it necessary to drop everything in London, including the ‘colonization project’ to scramble across the Channel where they took up arms and helped man the barricades in the name of Liberty. They were stoutly led by John Sterling and some of the other young intellectuals of the Cambridge school. These were intellectuals in contact with people like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey and the American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Coincidently a young man named Charles John Kemys Tynte was in Paris at the time acting as an observer. His family name is perpetuated in Tynte Street, North Adelaide. On his return to England and confining himself to the things he witnessed during the upheaval, he published a small book entitled A Sketch of the Late Revolution in France or La Grande Semaine which I commend to readers. Tynte was elected to the Reform Parliament of 1833 and is here pictured sitting in the House of Commons. It is very likely that he voted in support of the South Australian Act of 1834.

Charles John Kemys Tynte MP the son, was born at Halswell House, near Goathurst, Somerset in the year 1800. This puts him in the same age bracket as most of the younger and more influential members of the street naming committee. He was the only son and heir to Charles Kemeys Kemys Tynte and followed him into parliament in the seat of Somerset West which he held through the halcyon days of the Philosophical Radicals between 1832 and 1837. Described as a liberal rather than a Whig, this definition places him firmly among those in this book who are centre stage and who are described as liberal radicals. Born to a life of privilege he was educated like his father at Eton and heir to three estates Halswell House in Bridgewater, Somerset, Cefn Mably in Glamorganshire and Burleigh Hall Loughborough in Leicestershire.
In the Preface he wrote

‘The following sketch of [La Grande Semaine ] as it is universally designated in Paris, is compiled almost entirely from my own observations and notes upon the spot. I was residing in the immediate environs of Paris on the road to St Cloud, at the period of the Revolution, and was in the city during the days of the struggle, and witnessed many of the subsequent skirmishes and various other proceedings at St Cloud and Sevres. ……I have not proceeded with the account beyond the termination of [the week;] as the very stirring and animated scenes of battle that occupied that week are rather too exciting, to preface in a hasty brochure……. May his reign [Loius Philippe, Duc d’Orleans]prove a prosperous and glorious one to himself and the brave people who have called him to so high a Destiny.’

Richmond , September 24th 1830[i]

So close to the action was Charles during this time that his description of events is both riveting and horrifying. Toward the end of July 1830 he wrote

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 11.24.47 am

                             The July Revolution 1830 by Eugene_Dèlacroix

 ‘From this period may be dated an organized resistance, and the commencement of the general battle. In this attack of the people on the police, two gens-d’armes were dismounted, and instantly trampled to death. Many of the old national guard now appeared in uniform, completely armed, ranging themselves with, and assuming command over the people. The students from the Polytechnic School, from the Colleges of Law and Medicine, numerous half pay officers, and hundreds of well dressed men well equipped were now mingling gradually, but rapidly with the populace. General Dubourg making his appearance, was entreated to take command, which he accepted, and, from his experience and conduct, a distinct order of battle was organized and assumed. Those armourers’ shops that hitherto escaped, were now completely cleared, and, in many instances, considerable sums of money left in the hands of the astonished proprietors. The Guards now fired frequently; and repeated charges of the Gens-d’armes and some Cuirassiers, drove the people into the narrow streets adjoining the Rue St. Honoré, who, retreating within the houses, showered tables, bedsteads, logs of firewood, and furniture of every description upon the military, and destroyed many……..The guard house was instantly set on fire, and the sparks and flames rising high, the night still being calm, were seen at a distance, and caused many reports that Paris was on fire……It was known that fresh troops were pouring into Paris, and General Dubourg now ordered the citizens to form working parties, to construct barricades; and many trees, the [pride of all Parisians]were immediately felled along the whole extent of the Boulevards. …Stones were also torn up from the pavement, and formed a kind of rampart wall as well as a ditch….The charges of cavalry by these precautions were rendered impracticable….. As an instance of the intense devotion which prevailed during the construction of the first barricade on the Boulevard Italien, a young student of medicine, who was mortally wounded by a musket ball whilst lifting a large shutter to place on the pile, fell, but dragging himself towards the barricade, entreated one of his comrades to throw his body on the rampart, that it might be useful to his country, after death.’ [ii]

Whether Robert Gouger personally knew Tynte junior at this point is not known but he was certainly fully committed and engaged on the streets of Paris. On the 30th of September 1830 an excited Gouger wrote from Lyons in France to his brother Alfred ‘I may now be considered a military man and you would think so if you saw my equipage. I have a good horse, and am clad in a cocked hat, with a tricoloured plume of feathers, laced surtout and jack boots.’[iii] As Bloomfield explains this was not so surprising given that Robert Gouger was ‘a Radical of French extraction (whose Huguenot family name had been Gougère) and with whom Wakefield had begun corresponding from Newgate’[iv] only a year or so earlier.

[i] Tynte, Charles John Kemys             A Sketch of the French Revolution

     London, William Marsh, 145 Oxford street, 1830, pp6,7

[ii] Tynte, Charles John Kemys            A Sketch of the French Revolution –

       London, William Marsh, 145 Oxford street, 1830, pp32-37

[iii] Hodder,Edwin., (Ed)                      The Founding of South Australia: As recorded in the            journals of Mr. Robert Gouger, First Colonial Secretary.

Sampson Low, Marston, & Co. London. 1898. p23

[iv] Bloomfield, Paul            Edward Gibbon Wakefield:Builder of the British Commonwealth

       Longmans, Green & Company, London 1961 p 98

Sir Richard Davies Hanson

A forgotten hero in Adelaide- South Australia

The Institute Building on Adelaide’s Cultural Boulevard

‘When he arrived in the colony Richard Davies Hanson had much to prove. His strident and some would say idiosyncratic views about religion were given immediate voice in the South Australian League for the Maintenance of Religious Freedom but he had other pastures to forage. He was a strong supporter of the South Australian Institute on North Terrace and Mechanics Institutes in general. Secular education, Lending Libraries and later the Philosophical Society all captured his attention. In his early years in Adelaide he was relentless in his pursuit of the separation of powers between Church and State and with his incisive legal mind took to Bishop Short’s proposal for the Anglican Cathedral to be built in Victoria Square with the tenacity of a bulldog. With a deep and comprehensive understanding of the original principles of the South Australian Commission, when the Bishop tried to take the City Corporation to Court over the matter, he successfully argued that the Anglican Church was not the State Church per say and there was no right in law for any religious body to build and own property on any part of the people’s parklands.’

If you wish to know more then please go to torrenspress.com where you can purchase this beautifully illustrated three volume set of books containing nearly sixty biographies of the men and women named on Adelaide’s main streets and boulevards.

_2000341

The Australian Election of 2016

Where has the eloquence of electioneering gone.

In a remarkable speech delivered on the hustings for the seat of Southwark in 1845 Sir William Molesworth reveals the magnitude of his vast intellect. The people of Adelaide should know that this man who is named in the streets of north Adelaide was an outstanding scholar who led the charge in the abolition of convict transportation.

(Mr Miall)……. ‘you have insinuated that some of Hobbes opinions lead to infidelity. I ask, is there a single work renowned in science, literature, or in art, against which a similar charge has not been brought by some narrow minded bigot? It is a well known historical fact that every great discovery in astronomy, in natural history, in chymestry, or in any of the physical sciences- that everything that has made us better acquainted with the heavens, with the earth, and with human nature- that every acquisition of knowledge which has tended to elevate humanity- every attempt at free inquiry, every effort to shake off the trammels of authority, has been successfully attacked by the ignorant and narrow-minded, as leading to infidelity. Under this malignant and accursed plea some of the greatest spirits of the human race have been persecuted and slain. Socrates was put to death as an infidel. He who first said there were antipodes was burnt. The followers of Copernicus were persecuted as disbelievers; and the great Galileo, on bended knees, was compelled to assert that the earth was immoveable. Bacon and Descartes were taxed with irreligion; the doctrines of Locke were said to lead to materialism; Newton was accused of dethroning the Deity for the discovery of the law of gravitation; a similar charge was made against Franklin for explaining the nature of the Thunderbolt; Priestley’s library was burnt and person endangered on account if his religious opinions; and in our own days, Buckland, Sedgwick, and the other geologists, are accused of overturning revelation by their discoveries with regard to the past existence of the earth. In short, in all ages, and among all nations, infidelity has ever been the war-cry which the base, the ignorant, the intolerant , and the canting tribe have raised against the great, the noble, and the generous spirits of the human race.

Sir William Molesworth Baronet

Nomination Speech at the Poll for Southwark Sep 10 1845.

To Mr. Miall- his nonconformist, but liberal opponent who accused him of being an infidel (non believer). 1

Cockburn, Sir John Alexander. (1850-1929)

DSC03610

Cockburn, Sir John Alexander. (1850-1929)

Premier of South Australia, was born at Corsbie, Berwickshire, Scotland, on the 23rd August 1850.  He was educated at Chomeley School Highgate, and became a medical student at Kings College, London(MD in 1874; and Fellow). In 1875 he migrated to South Australia, and whilst practicing medicine at Jamestown began to take an interest in municipal affairs; in 1877 he was elected mayor of the town.

In 1884 he entered  politics as member for Burra in the House of Assembly, and in the following year became Minister for Education in the first Downer Ministry, which resigned in June 1887. In April 1887 he had been elected for Mt Barker, a seat he held until he retired from politics.  He became Premier and Chief Secretary in June 1889, and during his 14 months in office passed some advanced measures, including Acts providing for succession duties and a progressive tax on unimproved land values. In June 1892, after two years in opposition, he became Chief Secretary in the Holder Ministry, which was defeated four months later.  He Joined the Kingston Ministry in June 1893 as Minister for Education and minister for Agriculture, and held those portfolios until April 1898, when he resigned to become Agent General for South Australia in London.

Cockburn took an important part in the federation movement, representing his colony at the Coventions in 1890, 1891 and 1897-8. Australian Federation , a collection of his articles and speeches on federation, was published in London in 1901.  As Minister of Education he instituted Arbor Day in South Australia, and had much to do with the founding of the South Australian School of Mines and Industries.  He worked for the payment of Members of Parliament, for women’s suffrage, and for the principle of ‘one man one vote’.  In addition to legislation for which he was personally responsible he was often the inspiration for advanced legislation that was finalised by others .

Although he resigned as Agent General in 1901 and did not return to Australia, Cockburn continued to show his interest in the country by representing the Commonwealth or South Australia at various international congresses, by presiding over the Australian Chamber of Commerce in London and writing on Australian subjects.  He was also on the London boards of directors of several Australian companies.   He died in London on 26th November 1929, and was survived by his wife Sarah Holdway, whom he had married in 1875, and one son and one daughter. He was created K.C.M.G in 1900.

Dr Jeff Nicholas

This site is about both History & Biography

The Victorian Commons

Researching the House of Commons, 1832-1868

Treasure Hunt

National Trust Collections