Letters Patent establishing the Province of South Australia

The Letters Patent establishing the Province of South Australia, dated 19 February 1836 and formally titled "Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom erecting and establishing the Province of South Australia and fixing the boundaries thereof", was presented to King William IV to formally seek the approval to establish the Province of South Australia. It defined the boundaries of the new colony, but also, significantly and unlike the South Australia Act 1834, included recognition of the rights of the Indigenous people of South Australia.

History

The South Australia Act 1834 legislated for the establishment of a settlement in South Australia, but did not provide specific directions with regard to how the Province of South Australia was to be founded, which these Letters Patent, formulated by the Colonisation Commissioners for South Australia, supplied. The main change to the 1834 Act was to amend the wording referring to the land as "unoccupied", and offer recognition of the rights of the "Aboriginal Natives" to live unhindered within the lands of the Province of South Australia.[1]

These Letters Patent, dated 19 February 1836, were presented to King William IV to formally seek the approval to establish the Province of South Australia, and on 23 February 1836, an Order-in-Council provided authority for the establishment of government in the Province of South Australia. The Order-in-Council provided for a governing Council comprising the Governor, the Judge or Chief Justice, the Colonial Secretary, the Advocate-General and the Resident Commissioner, with broad legislative and executive powers including the imposition of rates, duties, and taxes.[2]

However, laws could only be proposed by the Governor and were subject to approval or disallowance by the King as advised by the Imperial Government. The Order-in-Council again expressly protected the rights of "Aboriginal natives".[3]

Description

The Letters Patent, long title "Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom erecting and establishing the Province of South Australia and fixing the boundaries thereof", defined the boundaries of the Province of South Australia:

On the North the twenty sixth Degree of South Latitude — On the South the Southern Ocean — On the West the one hundred and thirty second Degree of East Longitude — And on the East the one hundred and forty first Degree of East Longitude including therein all and every the Bays and Gulfs thereof together with the Island called Kangaroo Island and all and every the Islands adjacent to the said last mentioned Island or to that part of the main Land of the said Province.

The Letters Patent included a recognition of the rights of the "Aboriginal Natives" to live within the lands of the Province of South Australia:

Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives.

This differed from the statements of the South Australia Act 1834, which described the lands as "waste" and "unoccupied".[4] An amendment to the 1834 Act (the South Australia Government Act 1838, 1 & 2 Vic, c. 60, passed 31 July 1838) incorporated the changes.[1]

Afterwards

The first migrant ship, the John Pirie, set sail for the colony three days later.[1] On 28 December 1836, Governor Hindmarsh issued a Proclamation of the new Province at Glenelg.[3]

On 31 July 1838, the changes were brought into law by "An act to amend an act of the fourth and fifth years of his late majesty empowering his majesty to erect South Australia into a British province or provinces" (short name ascribed by the National Library of Australia: South Australia Government Act 1838), 1 & 2 Vic, c. 60.[5]

See also

References

  1. Paul, Mandy (9 December 2013). "Letters Patent". Adelaidia. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  2. "Order-in-Council Establishing Government 23 February 1836 (UK)". Museum of Australian Democracy. Documenting a democracy. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  3. Draft of the Order-in-Council Establishing Government 23 February 1836 (UK), National Archives of Australia
  4. Fischer, G.L. (1966). "South Australian Colonization Act and other related constitutional documents". Adelaide Law Review. 2 (3): 360–372. Retrieved 5 November 2019 via Austlii.
  5. Great Britain (1838), An act to amend an act of the fourth and fifth years of His Majesty, empowering His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British province or provinces : 31st July 1838, Printed by George Eyre and Andrew Spottiswoode, retrieved 5 November 2019
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