Governance in the Early Colony

South Australia was an unusual settlement within the British Empire. Unlike the older colonies on Australia’s eastern seaboard there were to be no convicts, and this commitment to a ‘free’ settlement was fiercely maintained.

Historians are divided about the lasting impact of the absence of the ‘convict taint’ on the province’s society and culture, but an awareness of difference distinguishes South Australians to this day.

South Australia was also created initially as a commercial and administrative partnership between the British Government (represented in the office of the Governor) and the South Australian Colonization Commission.

Partial of The First Dinner Given to the Aborigines 1838 by Martha Berkeley

Using this Resource

This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with three videos produced by the History Trust. It can also be used as a stand-alone resource on the colonisation of South Australia and developing historical analysis skills.

Activities have been designed to align with Australian Curriculum History, HASS, Civics & Citizenship and English at primary and secondary levels. Curriculum links include:

  • Developing humanities and social sciences understanding through key concepts including significance; continuity and change; cause and effect; place and space; interconnections; roles, rights and responsibilities; and perspectives and action.
  • The study of European exploration and colonisation in Australia and elsewhere up to the early 1800s and life for Indigenous Australians pre- and post-contact.
  • The study of colonial Australia in the 1800s and the social, economic, political and environmental causes and effects of Australia’s development.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
  • Developing historical inquiry and analysis skills.

Key Inquiry Questions

  • How have laws affected the lives of people, past and present?
  • What were the short- and long-term effects of European settlement on the local environment and Indigenous land and water management practices?
  • How have individuals and groups in the past and present contributed to the development of Australia?
  • How have experiences of democracy and citizenship differed

Video resources

This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with the following three videos produced by the History Trust. You can find these videos and others like them on our YouTube channel.