Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh, KH

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Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh, KH's Geni Profile

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Sir John Hindmarsh

Birthplace: Chatham, Medway, England, United Kingdom
Death: July 29, 1860 (74-75)
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of John Hindmarsh and Mary Hindmarsh
Husband of Susanna Wilson Hindmarsh
Father of Mary Stephen; Jane Miller Mundy; Jane Mundy; John Hindmarsh and Susanna Ellis
Brother of Jane Edmeades

Occupation: Governor of Heligoland
Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh, KH

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh KH RN (baptised 22 May 1785 – 29 July 1860) was a naval officer and the first Governor of South Australia, from 28 December 1836 to 16 July 1838.

Early life

Hindmarsh was the son of John Hindmarsh, a gunner on HMS Bellerophon, and his wife Mary. He was baptized at St Mary's, Chatham, Kent.

Hindmarsh joined the Royal Navy in 1793 serving on HMS Bellerophon, being listed on the muster roll as the servant of his father. He saw action at the Battle of the Glorious First of June, the Battle of Algeciras Bay (or the Battle of the Gut of Gibraltar) and at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 where he was briefly the only officer on the deck of HMS Bellerophon where he gave orders which saved the ship from destruction. Hindmarsh was promoted lieutenant in 1803. He served on HMS Phoebe at the Battle of Trafalgar, at the Battle of the Basque Roads (1809) on HMS Beagle and at the invasion of Java on HMS Nisus. A period of inaction followed, but in 1830 he was in command of HMS Scylla and was made a rear-admiral in 1831. In 1836 Hindmarsh went to South Australia as its first governor after winning influential support and applying the Colonial Office.

When the Naval General Service Medal, designed by William Wyon, was introduced, it was discovered that only two people were entitled to the medal with seven clasps (one clasp for each battle the recipient took part in): Sir John Hindmarsh and Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Alexander Gordon.


"Bluff Jack Hindmarsh", as he came to be known, arrived in South Australia in 28 December 1836, with a fleet of ships carrying the first British settlers for the colony. The ships in the fleet included the Cygnet (carrying Colonel William Light's surveyors), Africaine, Tam O'Shanter, Rapid, and HMS Buffalo (carrying Hindmarsh). Initially they landed on Kangaroo Island, and sent out the team of surveyors led by Light to find a suitable place for the capital city of the new colony. Hindmarsh wanted it at Port Lincoln, instead of at the present site which had been selected by Light. Light eventually chose the site of Adelaide, and the fleet moved up Gulf St Vincent to Holdfast Bay, now known as Glenelg, South Australia. Hindmarsh's proclamation on 28 December 1836 announced the colonial government and stated that Aborigines were to be treated justly and were now British Subjects. Although most South Australians have been taught that Hindmarsh's proclamation created the colony, it did not. King William IV, having been empowered by an Act of Parliament in 1834, over a year later, in February 1836 in Letters Patent 'Erected and Established' the Province of South Australia. No governor had the power to create colonies.

There was some question as to the respective powers of the Governor and the Resident Commissioner, James Hurtle Fisher, and the two came into open conflict. Feeling ran high and when Hindmarsh went so far as to suspend Robert Gouger and other public officers, the commissioners brought the matter before the secretary of state for the colonies. Hindmarsh was then recalled to London in 1838. In 1840 he was made Lieutenant-Governor of Heligoland. Hindmarsh was knighted by Queen Victoria on 7 August 1851, attained the rank of rear-admiral in 1856 and retired in 1856 to the seaside town of Hove, England.


Hindmarsh lived at 30 Albany Villas for a number of years, where there is now a blue plaque in his honour. Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh died in London on 29 July 1860 and is buried in the grounds of St Andrews Church, Hove. Hindmarsh was governor of South Australia for little more than a year, an unfortunate episode in an otherwise distinguished career. His position was anomalous from the start, and, though he was sometimes wanting in both tact and wisdom, his difficulties were great. For an interesting summary see A. Grenfell Price's Founders and Pioneers of South Australia, p. 92.


Sir John Hindmarsh married Susanna Wilson. daughter of H. D. Edmeades. Their children were:

  • Jane, who married Alfred Miller Mundy MP of Shipley Hall, Derbyshire, and cousin of the Duke of Newcastle. She was the mother of Maria, who married Sir Constantine Phipps, father of ambassador Sir Eric Phipps. A grandson Alfred Hindmarsh was an MP and early Labour politician in New Zealand.
  • John, a barrister of the Middle Temple and J.P. of Port Elliot, South Australia.
  • Susan, who married John Ellis, a South Australian pastoralist.
  • Mary ( – 27 December 1887), who married George Milner Stephen, barrister of the Middle Temple, formerly Acting Governor and Colonial Secretary of South Australia, on 9 July 1840.

Places named after John Hindmarsh

  • The Adelaide suburb of Hindmarsh was originally laid out as a speculative subdivision, the Village of Hindmarsh, on land owned by him. It was for many years the centre of a Local Government Area called the Town of Hindmarsh, which has now been amalgamated into the City of Charles Sturt.
  • The Division of Hindmarsh federal electorate takes in the area near the proclamation site.
  • Hindmarsh Island is near the town of Goolwa, close to the Murray Mouth.
  • The Hindmarsh River flows into Encounter Bay south of Adelaide.
  • Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide is an open space public park within the City of Adelaide.
  • Hindmarsh Drive runs through the districts of Weston Creek and South Canberra in Canberra, Australia."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'John Hindmarsh', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 March 2013, 07:05 UTC, <> [accessed 7 May 2013]

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Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh, KH's Timeline

May 22, 1785
Chatham, Medway, England, United Kingdom
July 29, 1860
Age 75
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom