Can’t begin to say how happy I was to read that Tony Robinson is doing a TV Time Line/ Time Walk in Adelaide, South Australia. Whooo Hooo!!! Gives me the opportunity to share, on the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge, that not all of Australia was a convict settlement and broaden people’s thinking about why Australian’s are often seen as “anti-authoritarian”. Come walk with me, eh???
Wikipedia describes how South Australia had a different mode of “Colonisation” to the rest of Australia. The South Australian Colonisation Act stated that “802,511 square kilometres would be allotted to the colony and it was to be ”convict free”. Instead of granting free land to settlers, the land would be sold and the money raised would be used to transport settlers/ labourers free of charge.
“Dissenters” from the established “Church of England” were amongst the first South Australian colonists and encouraged, and funded, others seeking relief/escape, from religious persecution to emigrate to this “Utopia in the South.” Both Protestant non-conformists and Catholics were subjected to active discrimination in England from the 16th Century. Many Germans/ Prussians were also drawn to South Australia, seeking religious freedom. The ” Bound for South Australia” website tells that these “dissenters” constituted a much higher population than those in other Australian colonies.
Those who claim all Australians tend to be “Anti-authoritatian” because of their convict roots have missed this crucial part of the picture. i.e. The settlement/ European colonisation of South Australia and the settler’s determination to separate Church and State.
So, back to Tony Robinson and his “Time Walk” TV programme. Goodonya Tony and thanks to the South Australian Advertiser, for the info.
Given that South Australia was “settled by dissenters” it does not surprise me, at all, that South Australia led the nation with:
* Votes for women, including the right to stand for Parliament, and the first woman, Mrs Benny, to enter local Govt in Australia (1919).
* Dame Roma Mitchell, the first Australian woman to be: a Judge, a Queen’s Counsel, a Chancellor of an Australian University, Governor of an Australian State.
* First crematorium in the South Hemisphere, built at the West Terrace Cemetery, South Australia in 1902.
* The first Act, in Australia, prohibiting discrimination - “The 1966 Prohibition of Discrimination Act”, which started the ball rolling here in Australia.
* The first Australian publication by an Aboriginal author, David Unaipon born 28 Sep 1872 at the Port McLeay Mission, South Australia. He is commemorated on our Australian $50 note.
… and so many other “firsts” eg. The first metal mine in Oz (1841), the first Croquet Club, the first major long-distance telephone call etc … but most important of all, in my opinion, is that South Australia has so often led the way with legislation to address discrimination …
Bit of a pain that I don’t have Cable TV so won’t get to see the programme, but no worries. Happy that Tony Robinson will awaken some people’s interest in our unique South Australian history and honour our pioneering “dissenters”.
Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel