Settlement Day 27/07/15

Settlement Day 2015 was celebrated at the Old Mulberry Tree at Reeves Point on Monday morning.

In bright sunshine, Youth Council Chair Erin Morrison welcomed Deptuy Mayor Joy Willson, Commissioner Wendy Campana, and CEO of KI Council Andrew Boardman and invited everyone to join in singing the National Anthem, led by Years 5 and 6 school children. 

Ms Morrison spoke about the two awards to be presented – one for Outstanding Youth Leadership and the other for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

“In 2013 I was lucky enough to receive one of these awards and since then I have been exposed to a wide range of other experiences. More recently, this year, I participated in Youth Parliament which was a great learning experience for me. I also travelled to Darwin on a scholarship to attend the National Rural Health Alliance, another great experience,” Ms Morrison said.

“I really believe in these awards and love that young people can be recognised for their involvement in the community. It’s certainly a bonus to be able to have this on your resume to help you in the future. I hope that the recognition of these young people can help to encourage others to be more involved in the Kangaroo Island community, because they can understand that it’s a really good thing.”

Ms Morrison introduced Nat Golder, of the Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association, who spoke of his own family history, and the Deputy Mayor then presented the two awards.

Seth Whale was awarded for Outstanding Youth Leadership.

The community member who nominated Seth for this award was inspired by Seth’s recent letter to The Islander regarding a youth space.   The community member felt that the courage Seth displayed was truly worthy of this award as he provided a voice for the young people of Kangaroo Island, a voice that often stays silent.

As a 15 year old, Seth is keen to see a safe space for young people to skate and recently volunteered to sit on the Kingscote Skate and Youth Park Committee to help make this important youth project happen.  People who know Seth describe him as a talented, articulate young man who readily provides a voice on behalf of other young people when being questioned about youth affairs.  As a Year 9 student, Seth plays the saxophone and has also mastered the didgeridoo.

James Snowball was the second recipient, being awarded for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

In 2014, as a 15 year old, James received a scholarship with Gliding Australia - Royal Australian Navy Gliding Association.  Only one such scholarship is awarded nationwide per year to a person who can demonstrate a strong commitment to aviation but has not experienced flying solo in any form of aircraft. 

As a current Year 11 student, James joined the South Australian delegation attending the United Nations Youth Australia National Conference.  Initially James was selected to attend the UN Youth South Australia Conference but the UN Youth SA President, Nicola Moore was so impressed with James’s speech that she invited him to join the South Australian delegation at the National Conference, which was held in Hobart this month.

James has been involved in Kingscote CFS as a cadet and in Year 10 was elected deputy head in his school house a role normally awarded to Year 12 students.  As a Year 11 student James is currently studying five subjects at a Year 12 level.

The community member who nominated James agreed that this is an extraordinary achievement from a young person from Kangaroo Island and James can look forward to a bright future.

Nat Golder spoke of his own family’s history on the island.

“My great - great – great grandfather was Nat Thomas of Antechamber Bay, who used to be a sealer who sailed along the southern parts of KI in the 1820s. In about 1824, Nat, with his partner, Betty, (who were both free settlers from Tasmania), decided to live on the island. Nat built a nice home and was living here about twelve years before the first official settlers arrived at Reeves Point on July 27, 1836,” Mr Golder said.

“There were several other unofficial settlers enjoying the lifestyle of KI and who were staunch friends of the Thomas’s. These included Governor Henry Wallen, Fireball Bates and William Walker.  Nat Thomas and Betty raised two daughters who later became Mrs Mary Seymour and Mrs Hannah Simpson. The Thomas’s were respected citizens of Penneshaw where Nat arranged for the first public school to be opened. He is remembered by a memorial in Nat Thomas Street at Penneshaw. It was after him that I was named. Betty was a Tasmanian Aborigine and thus the Tasmanian Aborigines did not become extinct as was thought by historians. I am proud to be a sixth generation Kangaroo Islander, descended from Nat Thomas, Mary Seymour, Annie Harry, Mavis Golder and Brentley Golder. The unofficial settlers on KI were a prominent part of KI history, and Mavis Golder was a founding patron of the KI Pioneers Association.”

Mr Golder’s presentation covered the first settlement of South Australia, noting that July 27 is the acknowledged date when South Australia was first settled by official European settlers, becoming the birth place of South Australia.

Of the nine ships that made up the First Fleet bound for Kangaroo Island, the Duke of York was the one that arrived at Reeves Point on July 27 1836, followed by John Pirie, the Lady Mary Pelham, the Emma, the Cygnet, the Tam O’Shanter, the Rapid and the Africaine. The last of the nine ships was the Buffalo, arriving some five months after the first settlers, and as a water supply had been found on the island, the Buffalo was diverted to Holdfast Bay (Glenelg).

“Kangaroo Islanders should be mindful of, and jealously protect, our position as the birthplace of South Australia.    .   

Among those early settlers were the Calnan pioneers who have had many descendants living on the island, including the local names of Chapman and Bell.

Other early settlers included sealers as early as 1803. 

“So, twelve years before the arrival of the first fleet, there were Europeans and indigenous people living and raising families at Antechamber Bay, Penneshaw and Cygnet River, and I am a descendant,” he said.

“Today, we celebrate all of the pioneers including the Soldier Settlers, and we thank and honour them at this place and at this time every year,” Nat Golder said.