2019 KI Settlement Day to feature a dinner at American River | PHOTOS

Settlement Day on Kangaroo Island on Saturday, July 27 this year will feature a special dinner at American River.

David Wilson from the KI Pioneer Association will give a speech entitled "1836 and all that". Here is part of his speech:

"Most people who have any knowledge at all of SA history would probably know that 1836 was a significant year. It was the year a fleet of boats arrived with British immigrants looking for a better future in a strange land far from home.

"They started arriving at Kangaroo Island on 27 July, a significant date, and five months later, the ninth of this fleet, the "Buffalo", arrived with Captain Hindmarsh, the Governor of the nascent province of South Australia.

"His proclamation on the third last day of 1836 under a large gum tree at Glenelg announced that the government was now open for business. So, yes, 1836 was a significant year.

"But it certainly wasn't the start of South Australia's recorded history. Prior to 1836 there was a lot of activity, with most of it centred on and around Kangaroo Island.

"We could have become a French colony, with Baudin mapping and naming a lot of our coastline. And his crew even wrote graffiti on one of our big rocks "We wuz here"!

"There was, of course, activity in SA waters before Flinders and Baudin but not so well recorded. The Dutch were sniffing around in 1606 and 1627. The French as early as 1792.

"As it turns out, Flinders, who famously encountered Baudin in 1802, predominated, and his accounts - as well as a very misleading glowing report by a bloke called Captain Sutherland from his extended visit in 1819 - were read enthusiastically back in London, particularly by a group of speculative businessmen who set up the South Australian Company.

"They sold real estate, sight unseen, to investors, and in 1834 convinced the Government to create a new, convict free, British province. Two years before the proclamation.

But it was Flinders and Baudin that really started all the interest - particularly for seals, fresh meat, and salt. Baudin alerted Isaac Pendleton, the captain of a US sealer, the "Union", when they met in King George Sound, WA, that Kangaroo Island was the place for seals, and so American River was the place to be in 1803 - a significant year - some 33 years before the arrival of the Duke of York at Nepean Bay."

American River is definitely the place to be on Saturday, July 27, 2019.

To hear the rest David's interpretation of KI's fascinating history, join other history fans and locals at The Shed at American River for the Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association's annual Settlement Day Dinner.

Everyone is welcome to join them for a three-course meal and an entertaining evening.

Further details and booking information are available from the KIPA secretary, Anthea Taylor at KIPASecretary@gmail.com

American River historic photos

1. LINNETT, John SNR-with family with 1st Wife (Catherine Campbell circa 1863-1897)

The Linnett dynasty founded the tourist industry in American River - and the resort now known as the Mercure Lodge - and is one of our oldest families. This is one of many old photos of the family in the early days of settlement.

The date of this photo is approximately 1885.

In this photo the mother is Catherine Campbell, 1st wife of John Linnett SNR (died 1897).

The order of children and names is unknown to me in full and need to be checked further from family recollections and possibly Births, Deaths & Marriages SA. Therefore the less detail about people in this photo probably the better.

2. Remains of old fishing jetty at Scenic Drive, now removed.

This jetty at the end of Scenic Drive AR was built by residents living nearby including Nils Swanson and Glenn Bates. It was sadly removed circa 1968. It's a lesson in the importance of retaining heritage sites and objects.

Taken 3-10-67 by Mr R.E. Tipping, Harbormaster at the time.

3. BUICK, John Snr Gardening

John Buick Snr was, with his wife Ann Frances nee Filmer our oldest settler. They settled in American River at the site of the present Lot 1 Tangara Drive, in 1845. They had 16 children, and developed a garden and an adjacent orchard that included a mulberry tree that is still fruiting each year. Here he is in his garden, with a distinctive woven fence that may have been built to keep out marauding possums, and which appears in other photos of his house and garden.

4. John and Frances Buick's home in American River, circa 1891

4. John and Frances Buick's home in American River, circa 1891

4. John and Frances Buick's home in American River, circa 1891

This was situated at Lot 1 Tangara Drive, and was sadly (but necessarily) demolished circa 1986, when a Community Health Centre was established. It was later the site of our Post Office. It is currently leased to the community of American River for community purposes.

By all reports, their garden was a picture of loveliness..

This is what a reporter from the then Register wrote about it, in 1894:

"A visit to the Buicks Jan 5 1894 Adelaide Register

A lovely morning on Tuesday (Boxing Day) tempted us on shore, and early as it was we found old Mr. and Mrs. Buick about and eager to show us every kindness. Their homestead is prettily situated in a shingly bay, with verdure almost down to the water's edge.

An old garden - such an old garden as will not gladden the eyes of an erstwhile Englishman during years of Australian travel. A great, high quickset hedge all round it, and a bower of foliage around the rustic gate, which surely ought to form the trysting-place for lovelorn lads and lasses. Within the gate is a very elysium of bright flowers and sweet perfumes. The morning is still fresh and cool : the drowsy hum of innumerable bees fills the air ; roses, white and red, of all varieties, in wildest profusion ; great patches of pinks, cloves, and carnations, whose scent seems to steep the senses in a delicious languor ; large beds of the brightest and most delicate petunias ; apple-trees and pear-trees heavily laden ; oranges, lemons, and figs away in odd corners : mulberry-trees in full bearing; peaches and apricots, nectarines and plums. Unwillingly dragging ourselves from all this arcadian loveliness we follow Mr. Buick over some of his ample acres, pass through a larger fruit and kitchen garden, and gaze from a slight elevation over an enchanting scene of pasture land and barley fields lately reaped, of wooded heights covered mostly with the narrow-leaf eucalyptus, and through all is seen winding the American River, which looks a noble stream at this point.

Barley is the principal cereal grown on the island, which fetches as much as 5s. per bushel and averages 20 bushels to the acre in the best parts. The soil on Mr. Buick's holding is mostly of clay mixed with loam, but everywhere covered with a thin layer of sand.

The Buicks have resided at their present home for more than forty years. There they have raised a numerous family, most of whom are still living on their various farms in different parts of the island. We bade the old people a hearty farewell, but only just in time to save the dinghy from being left high and dry. "

Acknowledgements to Leon and Dorothy LINNETT and Andrew BUICK for permission to digitise the Linnet and Buick photographs. - Anne A'Herran, American River Progress Association.

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