Proclamation Day in South Australia Date in the current year: December 26, 2024

Proclamation Day in South Australia On December 28, 1936, Captain John Hindmarsh made the proclamation announcing the establishment of the government of South Australia as a British province. Proclamation Day is an official holiday in South Australia; originally celebrated on December 28, it was moved to December 26 to coincide with Boxing Day, which is a public holiday in the rest of the Australian states and territories.

South Australia is the only Australian state that wasn’t founded as a penal settlement for exiled convicts; unlike other British colonies in Australia, it was a free settlement. The person who came up with the idea of such a colony was English economist Edward Gibbon Wakefield.

His colonization plan, known as the Wakefield scheme, aimed to populate South Australia with immigrants of different professions and social status, including laborers, artisans, tradespeople and capital owners. The primary source of financing was the proceeds from the sale of land to capitalists; these funds were used to support other categories of immigrants.

In 1831, the Wakefield scheme was supported by a number of influential economists, such as John Stuart Mill and Robert Torrens. However, the British government wasn’t too thrilled about the idea, since it found some aspects of Wakefield’s colonization plan (free trade, self-government and the power to select the governor) too radical and republican.

In 1833, the South Australian Association was established for the purpose of lobbying the government for colonization of South Australia. Its members relied on Wakefield’s systemic colonization scheme, but introduced certain changes in order to gain the government support. In 1834, the British Parliament finally approved the South Australia Act that provided for the settlement of a province or multiple provinces in South Australia.

The province of South Australia was formally founded in February 1836; at that point, it existed solely on paper. The first ship carrying settlers sailed from England to the south coast of Australia on February 22; it was followed by eight more ships. These ships are collectively referred to as the First Fleet of South Australia.

The first European settlement in South Australia was founded on Kangaroo Island on July 27, 1836. It was named Kingscote after Henry Robert Kingscote, one of the founders of the South Australian Company. Kingscote was originally intended to be the capital of South Australia, but half a year later, the South Australian Company decided to move the capital to Adelaide.

On December 28, 1836, Captain John Hindmarsh, who had been appointed as the governor of South Australia, officially proclaimed the province of South Australia. Unlike other Australian territories, which were referred to as colonies, South Australia had a provincial status from the very beginning, which emphasized that it was a free settlement.

The Parliament of South Australia declared Proclamation Day an official holiday. Originally celebrated on December 28, the public holiday was moved on December 26 (Boxing Day) in 1993. However, formal ceremonies are still held on the actual proclamation anniversary.

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