1836 – King’s Letters Patent and SA Proclaimed

The King’s Letters Patent of 1836 sets the boundaries of the new province of South Australia, and acknowledges Aboriginal land rights. It stated that no actions could be undertaken that would “affect the rights of any Aboriginal natives of the said province to the actual occupation and enjoyment in their own persons or in the persons of their descendants of any land therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such natives.” Despite this, Aboriginal people are systematically dispossessed of their land in the years and decades to follow. South Australia was proclaimed by Governor (then Captain) Hindmarsh beside the Old Gum Tree at present-day Glenelg. Hindmarsh tells the colonists that Aboriginal people were to be accorded “the privileges of British subjects.” He warns the settlers that they will be severely punished if they commit any acts of “violence or injustice” against the Aborigines.