Australasia 1836: Province of South Australia
From 1829 a British group led by Edward Gibbon Wakefield began pushing for the establishment of convict-free settlements in Australia and New Zealand. The British government agreed to grant them a colony in southern Australia and in 1836 the Province of South Australia was proclaimed separate from New South Wales.
7 Oct 1830–1842 Removal of Tasmanian Aborigines▲
In October–November 1830 the Black Line—consisting of 2,200 soldiers, convicts, and settlers—swept the British colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in an attempt to drive the Aboriginal population into a reserve in the Tasman Peninsula. Although the action itself failed, peaceful overtures by humanitarian George Augustus Robinson persuaded almost 300 Tasmanian Aborigines—the bulk of the surviving population—to surrender in the early 1830s, with the last doing so in 1842. They were soon relocated to Flinders Island, where disease swiftly reduced their numbers to 46 by 1847.
Aug 1831–Aug 1852 Reunification of Tonga▲
In 1831 Tāufaʻāhau (also known by his family name, Tupou), the ambitious chief of Haʻapai in Tonga, adopted Christianity and was baptized as King George of Tonga. When a fellow Christian and ally Fīnau ʻUlukālala III, chief of Vavaʻu, died in 1833, he bequeathed his islands to Tupou. The following year Tupou landed on the fractious island of Tongatapu, proclaiming himself King again in 1845 and completing its conquest in 1852.
28 Oct 1834 Pinjarra massacre▲
Following Aboriginal attacks on settlers and cattle in the new settlement at Pingarra, Western Australia, a party of about twenty-five police, soldiers, and settlers set out on a punitive expedition in October 1834. Coming across a group of about seventy Noongar people, the party chased them down, killing dozens at a river crossing.
6 Jun 1835–3 Mar 1837 Foundation of Melbourne▲
Despite a number of failed early attempts and the successful settlement of nearby Portland Bay by Edward Henty in 1834, permanent British settlement in Port Phillip (Melbourne), Australia, only began in 1835 when John Batman purchased land off the local Aboriginal people, the Wurundjeri. More settlers—like Henty and Batman, from Launceston, Van Diemen’s Land—arrived later that year and together they formed a town. Although Governor Bourke of New South Wales regarded these men as squatters and all treaties signed with Aborigines as null and void, their rights were eventually recognized and the new town officially named Melbourne in 1837.
14 Sep 1835 Sovereign Chief of New Zealand▲
In June 1835 the notorious French adventurer ‘Baron’ Charles de Thierry sailed from Panama to the Marquesas, where he proclaimed himself King of Nukuhiva. Drawing on land purchases he had made in 1822, de Thierry wrote to British Resident Charles Busby in New Zealand of his intentions to become ‘Sovereign Chief of New Zealand’. De Thierry eventually arrived in November 1837 but, by now penniless and unable to reign in his followers, was forced to settle for a small grant of land at Hokianga.
28 Oct 1835 United Tribes of New Zealand▲
In May 1833 James Busby arrived in the Bay of Islands as British Resident in New Zealand, building a house on land he bought at Waitangi. Fearing French intervention, Busby persuaded 35 northern Māori chiefs to sign a Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand in October 1835, proclaiming themselves as the United Tribes of New Zealand. More Māori signatures, including those of non-northern chiefs from Waikato and Ngāti Kahungunu, were gathered up to 1839.
18 Nov–5 Dec 1835 Conquest of the Chatham Islands▲
In 1835 some 900 Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama—all Māori from the Taranaki region of New Zealand who had migrated to Port Nicholson (Wellington)—commandeered the British brig Lord Rodney to transport themselves to the Chatham Islands in two trips. There they met the indigenous and peaceful Moriori—already decimated by European diseases and the loss of their vital fur seals to sealers—who they proceeded to enslave or kill. Within a month the Māori had conquered and divided up the islands, while the Moriori population collapsed from about 2,000 to just over 100 by 1862.
28 Dec 1836 Province of South Australia▲
In 1834 the South Australian Association—originally formed by colonial advocate Edward Gibbon Wakefield—persuaded British Parliament to pass the South Australia Act and allocate land in southwestern New South Wales for a convict-free colony. Letters Patent enabled the creation of the colony—bounded by 132° and 141° East of Greenwich, and to the north by the Tropic of Capricorn (23° 26′ South)—on 19 February 1836 and nine ships set out with 636 settlers under Governor John Hindmarsh. After a first landing on Kangaroo Island, Hindmarsh landed at Holdfast Bay and proclaimed the free Province of South Australia.