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"Duke of York" - Colonists to South Australia in 1836

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DUKE OF YORK from London with Captain Robert Clarke Morgan, arriving Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island July 27th, 1836 - 42 passengers


On January 2nd 1836, the S.A. Company was formed. The original directors being George F. Angas (chairman), Raikes Currie, MP, James Hyde, Charles Hindley, MP, Henry Kingscote, John Pirie, John Rundle, MP, Thomas Smith, James R. Todd and Henry Waymouth. Once formed the company turned its attention to practically every outlet for energy in connection with the development of the colony. As was to be expected by reason of its purchases the company snapped up many sites in the city which today are worth thousands of pounds.

The first of the South Australian Company's ships, the 110 ton schooner JOHN PIRIE, left England on February 22nd 1836. Two days later, on the 24th, the DUKE OF YORK left St Catherine's Docks, London, under Captain Morgan, having had to go back to dock in London twice for repairs after encountering fierce storms.

Some of the passengers

  • William Holmes Hamilton. His parents and siblings came out on the Katherine Stewart Forbes the next year. He returned to England and arrived back again on the Rachael in 1847 with new wife Charlotte Johnson Laker..


No. 1-Duke of York (Miss Blades) By Ida M. Forsyth

The Duke of York, the first of the vessels bringing settlers to South Australia to arrive in South Australian waters, was a Falmouth packet. Built for speed, her earliest years were spent on the run between Falmouth and New York. In those days she was a brig and carried a man o' war crew. When the South Australian Company bought her another mast was added, and she was turned into a barque and fitted out for the expedition.

In the charge of Capt. Morgan, this gallant little barque of 190 tons set sail for the new colony on February 24, 1836. Meeting rough seas in the English Channel, the vessel had to put back twice for repairs, having had every thing washed off the decks by heavy seas. One is not surprised to read that one woman, a maid-servant of Mrs. Beare's, left the boat at Gravesend. A piano was also deposited there as it could not be accommodated in the hold.

The settlers had waited some time in London before a start could be made, and during that time they tried to fit themselves for their new life by practising pitching tents and doing other unaccustomed duties in preparation for "roughing it" in Australia. They had six guns aboard, and plenty of round shot and cannister to load them with, but through an oversight there was not a pound of gunpowder on the ship, excepting a private supply of sporting powder carried by Mr. Beare.

The Duke of York arrived at Nepean Bay on June 27. It was then that discussion arose among the passengers as to who should be the first to set foot in the new land, and Capt. Morgan decided that the youngest in the party- Baby Beare-should be the first to land. Rowed to shore by the sailors, her little feet were planted firmly on the wet sand amid cheers from the passengers.

The settlers were not the first white inhabitants of Kangaroo Island, for there were a number of men there, mostly runaways from ships, engaged principally in obtaining wallaby skins. One of these men had been on the island for 22 years. They were at first afraid of the settlers, but soon became friendly, and brought them vegetables, poultry, and other luxuries that must have been very acceptable after their long voyage.

A group of 13 came out in the Duke of York under agreement with the South Australian Company. Samuel Stephens was in charge of the party and Thomas Hudson Beare second in command. A mulberry tree brought in the Duke of York was planted on Kangaroo Island.

Passengers' Descendants In the boat were Capt. Robert C. Morgan, a copy of whose diary of the voyage is in the Archives, Mr. Richard son (first mate), Samuel Stephens, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hudson Beare, with four daughters and one son, Charlotte Hudson Beare (sister of T. H. Beare), who married Samuel Stephens soon after arrival, Daniel Henry Schreyrogel, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Powell, George Neale, William West, Robert Frazer, Russdll, G. Maisey, Israel Maisey, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, and W. H. Hamilton. Miss Adelaide Blades, who is representing this ship, is a direct descendant, through her mother, of Thomas Hudson Beare.

Among other well-known people in South Australia whose ancestors arrived in the Duke of York are: Dr. Frank H. Beare, Dr. Arthur Powell, Dr. Harry Powell, Mesdames F. J. Blades, Alan H. Lendon. D. G. McKay. G. K. Soward, E. W. Archer, W. Cooper. Beaumont. M. E. Kennedy. Carnie. Maitland. Sister E. M. Powell, and Messrs. Charles Edmonds. H. Archer, John Beare, and W. L. H. Beare.


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