Migrants and Early Migration to South Australia

Early Migration to South Australia

Migrants for South Australia left England early in 1836. The first group arrived in July and settled on Kangaroo Island. A second group, arriving during December disembarked at Holdfast Bay and settled in Glenelg where Governor Hindmarsh read a number of proclamations on 28 December. When land was surveyed and the location of the capital decided most of these migrants moved to Adelaide.


South Australia was officially proclaimed on 19 February in England.
NOT, as has long been assumed, by Hindmarsh.


Almost none of them ever saw England again. For some the journey meant an early death, they died on the long, and often horrendous, voyage aboard sailing ships to South Australia. For others the trip resulted in failure and heartbreak. For all it meant the start of a period of most severe privation and hardship they could never have imagined. Those who made it, often wondered what they had come to or how to survive. Even so, their pioneering spirit saw them through and they became a rugged and self-reliant people.

At first most settled in and around Adelaide. Soon some moved to the hills and established towns suchs as Hahndorf, Tee Tree Gully, Black Springs, Mount Barker and Strathalbyn. After the explorations of John Horrocks, Edward John Eyre, Charles Sturt and John McDouall Stuart, it did not take long before all the good land north of Adelaide was taken up.

They also moved to the south to settle along the coast at Robe, Kingston and Beachport. Inland they established such places as Mount Gambier, Bordertown, Penola and Naracoorte. Within a remarkably short time they had moved to the Barossa Valley, and beyond, to establish farms and pastoral stations.

With the help of the agricultural, mining and pastoral industries settlement went far beyond Adelaide and resulted in the formation of towns all through the north. Some of the better known being, Clare, Melrose, Hawker, Parachilna and Marree. Within twenty years sheep and cattle were grazing at Angepena, Blanchewater and Beltana. Immigrants came from England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland and Germany. They were followed by those from Baluchistan, South America and almost every other country in the world.

Within forty years settlers could be found more than a thousand kilometres from where they had originally landed. Although most of the early settlers left few if any records, it is still possible to piece their story together.
For a completely different kind of migration during the late 1940s and early 1950s see Displaced Persons

Accommodation at large development projects in the 1940s.

Bound for South Australia


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