Founder & Surveyor - Colonel.William Light
William Light, was the first Surveyor-General of South Australia.
He arrived in South Australia in 1836, with the task of deciding upon
the site for Adelaide. His survey of Adelaide began on 11 January, 1837,
at the north-western corner of Adelaide, at the junction of North and
West Terraces. The Newmarket Hotel is directly across the exact location
on North Terrace
The work was completed on
10 March 1837
The naming of streets
and squares took place on 23 May, 1837.
A granite obelisk
marking the commencement of the survey is located on the northern side
of the intersection.
Colonel Light was born at Kuala Kedah, Malaya on 27 April, 1786.
Colonel Light died, when aged 53, from tuberculosis on 6 th October,
1839, and on the 10 th of October, he was buried in Light Square,
There is now a memorial
over his grave in the form of a marble column.
A fine statue of Colonel Light was moved from Victoria Square to Montefiore
Hill, North Adelaide, in 1938, and this area is known as Light's Vision.
Montefiore Hill provides an excellent vantage point to look over the
City of Adelaide. Near its apex, in a small park, is a Statue of Colonel
William Light, who designed Adelaide as a square mile of north, south,
east-west streets including a central park and surrounded by parklands.
His design is recognised as one of the most practical and beautiful
in the world and the spot from where you can view this panorama and
observe his statue with outstretched arm is known as Light's Vision.
Light had actually been nominated as the first and founding Governor
of the new colony of South Australia by Sir Charles Napier, who had
refused the position himself. It went however, to John Hindmarsh, and
Light was appointed Surveyor General.
Light's father, Francis, founded a settlement of the massive trading
company, the 'East India Company' at Georgetown on the island of Penang.
Light inherited his fortune, but was swindled out of it. He had married
the rich and beautiful Mary Bennett in 1824 but she had left him taking
her fortune with her.
A Napoleonic War Veteran, he had survived many battles of the Peninsula
Wars unscathed. Dashing, daring, and a good linguist, he was adequately
suited to the new post which paid a measly £400 ($800.00) a year.
Light's Instructions for the founding of the city from the Commissioners
harbour, safe and accessible at all seasons of the year
tract of fertile land immediately adjoining
supply of fresh water
communications with other ports
the limits of the colony
of extensive sheepwalks
A supply of
buildings materials such as timber, stone or brick, earth and lime
Despite protestations from Hindmarsh and others about the location,
Light set about his arduous task and laid out what is considered
to be one of the best planned cities in the world.
Disillusioned with conflict and lack of support Light resigned in
1838, his job completed. In his letter of resignation to Lord Wakefield
" There never was so large a colony entrusted to one man to
Adelaide citizens today enjoy the results of this mans planning
and vision and a visit to this memorial park is mild homage.
He died penniless
and dejected of tuberculosis in Adelaide in October 1839 aged
Light is buried in Light Square, Adelaide and a small monument
honours his achievements.
Information is from 'Adelaide - From Colony to Jubilee' by Derek
By Savvas Publishing. ISNB 0 7022 140