Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Pioneers Association of SA Proclamation Day Luncheon

I’m very pleased to be with you, as a sixth generation South Australian and your Patron, with Rod, to mark the 186th anniversary of the reading of the Proclamation of South Australia.

After prior commitments precluded me from attending the rescheduled Proclamation Day 2021 luncheon, it’s my great pleasure to be here in person with you today.

At the luncheon in February, Lieutenant Governor Dr James Muecke generously delivered my speech for me.

In it I described my ancestral connections to the early settlers.

On my father’s side, James and Elizabeth Adamson left Scotland with their seven children arriving on the Recovery in 1839.

My mother’s forebears Janet and James Craig and their five children arrived in 1840 on the ship Indiafrom Greenock, part of Glasgow.

I expressed an admiration and respect for them, and for all of those who have gone before us in South Australia, as well as an optimism about our state’s future.

And I expressed a hope we can take the ideals espoused in Governor Hindmarsh’s Proclamation and build a genuinely inclusive, just society.

This morning at Patha Yunka, the bended gum, I recounted how this year it has been my privilege to meet with a wide range of indigenous and non-indigenous South Australians, and to witness the progress that is possible when both parties commit to a process of inclusion, truth telling and reconciliation.

No doubt many of you have visited the Charles Sturt Museum, or even the launch of its new Visitor Centre just a few weeks ago.

I encourage you to visit the new exhibition of Sturt’s life, which moves beyond the tradition depiction of a ‘colonial explorer’ and attempts to consider the viewpoint of Aboriginal people at the time.

Also, as I mentioned in my address this morning, Government House has taken the first steps in the process of cultural mapping our grounds, Lot 1 North Terrace.

This activity is already revealing stories that may previously have been hidden or interpreted in very specific ways, shedding light on the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people in the early years of colonisation.

I look forward to sharing some of these stories with you in the future.


I congratulate the Pioneers’ Association on its work in our community, celebrating our early colonial history.

I note the Association’s commitment to bringing stories to light of South Australians who deserve greater recognition.

This is reflected in the topic of Dr Lomax Smith’s speech today, on ‘Women Who Need to be Remembered’.

I am pleased to see that you have been able to widen your circle of influence this year through social media, in particular your Facebook page, and have increased your membership numbers as well.

I trust you all enjoyed the Association’s group activities this year, which included a visit to the George French Angus Exhibition at the South Australian Museum, and a dinner in celebration of pioneers whose ancestors worked on the Overland Telegraph.

The ‘Illustrating the Antipodes’ exhibition and accompanying book - the launch of which I had the pleasure of attending - represented the culmination of decades-long research into the life and work of George French Angas by Dr Philip Jones, who is also my first cousin.

By the way, Philip is the second son of my late aunt Dr Helen Jones, author of “In Her Own Name – A History of Women in South Australia”.

It was also Rod’s and my great honour in August to travel to Frew Ponds in the Northern Territory, the site of the ‘joining of the line’ of the Overland Telegraph, to celebrate its 150th anniversary with the Administrator of the Northern Territory, Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran.


Thank you for the invitation to join you today.

I wish you a productive and enjoyable year in 2023 as you continue perpetuating the memory of the pioneer settlers of South Australia and promoting their unique history.

Coming events