THE FIRST GOVER- NOR OF SOUTH AUS- TRALIA.
CAPTAIN HINDMARSH'S NAVAL CAREER.
By A.S. DIAMOND
As a student of South Australian history for a number of years, I have been keenly interested in the suggestion by the Premier that a statue of the
first Governor of South Australia should be erected in connection with the cen- tenary of the foundation of the State in 1836. I agree with other writers in your columns that some did more for South Australia in its initial sstages than Captain (afterwards Rear--Ad miral Sir) John Hindmarsh. K.H., R.N.. but he had a most distinguished naval career, and a statue to his memory would not be out of place in Adelaide although one of Captain Matthew Flin- ders should also be erected. Hindmarsh's naval career was of an extraordinarily interesting character— packed with incident and adventure like the hero of one of Captain Marryat's stories. The medal for his services during the Napoleonic Wars had no less than seven clasps, being the greatest number, save one instance, received by any officer in the Royal Navy. He was engaged in seven great actions in addition to nearly 100 other fights, which inciuded single ship en- gagements and cutting out expeditions. Born in 1780, he entered the navy in 1793 as a first class volunteer, under whicn designation many young gentle- men of the quarter-deck were rated while becoming acquainted with their duties as midshipmen. For his early education he was indebted to Mr Neale, a learned gentleman who filled the office of purser (as the paymaster was then called) of the Bellerophon in which ship young Hindmarsh served for seven years. Links with Cook and Flinders. Under Admiral Lord Howe the vessel participated in the battle in 1794 known as the Glorious First of June" It is interesting to note that the virtual discoverer of South Australia, Captain Matthew Flinders, then a mas- ters mate, was also one of the officers on the Bellerophon on that occasion. Both Flinders and Hindmarsh must therefore, have been at the same time inmates of the junior officers' berth— the gunroom as it is now called- of that famous ship. Little could Hind- marsh have dreamed at that time that he was destined to be the first ruler of the part of the Austra- lian continent which his messmate was to make known to the world. This association of the discoverer and the first Governor was pointed out by Sir Frank Mouldcn some eight years ago on my directing attention to the fact on the occasion of the inception of the Matthew Flinders Statue Fund. So far as I know it had never previously been noticed, or. if so, had not been recorded. There are in consequence of this association links between Captain James Cook, the immortal discoverer of the eastern coast of Australia, and the discoverer and founders of South Australia. With Cook on his last voyage sailed as mas- ter (the old title of the sailing and navigating officer) William Bligh, after- wards Governor of New South Wales, who. as a lieutenant, commanded H.M.S. Bounty on the voyage on which the historic mutiny occurred, followed by a boat passage which has never been surpassed. In 1791 Flinders sailed as a midshipman under Bligh in a voyage to the South Seas in H.M.S Providence. Hindmarsh. as above stated, was a ship- mate for a period with Flinders, and the former and Colonel William Light (first Surveyor-General of South Aus tralia, and founder of Adelaide) were associated in the naval service of the Pasha of Egypt, and in the foundation of South Australia. The links between Cook. Bligh. Flinders. Hindmarsh. and Light are therefore complete. Distinction at the Nile. After the engagement of the First of June, Hindmarsh shared in Nelson's boat operations off Cadiz in 1797, and in the great admiral's victory at the Nile on August 1. 1798. H.MS. Bel- lerophon was engaged with the for- midable French flagship ' L'Orient. 120 guns, and at one time during the battle Midshipman Hindmarsh, though then only in his teens, was left in charge of the deck, all the other officers having been killed or wounded. The French ship (on which served the heroic. Casablanca) caught fire, and the youtthful Hind- marsh ordered the sprit sail to be set (the masts having been disabled) thus causing the Bellerophon to be wafted away from her opponent, which, a little later blew up. He was thus the means of saving the ship. and his commander, Captain Darby, and his officers. pre- sented the youngster with a sword in testimony of their admiration. He was also publicly thanked by Lord Nelson. In 1799 Hindmarsh contributed to the capture of the ports at Naples and Gaeta. Accompanying Captain Darby to H.M.S. Spencer, he shered in 1801 both in the action off Algeciras and in the victory gained by Sir James Sau- marez in the Gut of Gibraltar. The Sprncer having been paid off, Hind- marsh, in 1803 joined H.M.S Victory, bearing Lord Nelson's flag, the hero on taking command of tho fleet having written to young Hindmarsh to join him. In a few months he had obtained his promotion as lieutenant of H.M.S. Phoebe. During more than two years Hindmarsh commanded the boats of that frigate at the capture of many of the enemy's vessels. In one instance, having successfully stormed some bat- teries near Toulon, he brought out a ship which had been lying under their probation. Trafalgar and Other Actions. Having participated in the Battle o! Trafalgar, he contributed at its close to the preservation of two of the prizes. the Swiftsure and Bahama. Afterwards as first lieutenant of H.M.S. Beagle he was for a long time on the coast of France, and proved instrumental to the capture of many privateers. In the destruction of the French squadron in Aix Roads, in 1809, the Beagle gal- lantly took up a position between the British and enemy ships, remaining on the quarters of the Aquilon and Ville de Vaisorre until they struck their colors, she then followed the Ocean up the River Charente. and having moved across her stern, continued in hot action with her for a period of five hours, when the turning of the tide compelled her to desist. Following the reduction of Flushing, in which he assisted. Hindmarsli was appointed first lieutenant of H.M.S. Nisus. commanded by Captain Philip Beaver. The ship was ordered to the Isle of France, when Hindmarsh took charge of a large detachment of boats belonging to the ships engaged. The coast batteries were stormed, and the island subjugated. The entire enter- prise was planned and carried out by Lieutenant Hindmarsh. In 1811 he was at the fall of Java, in which he signally instrumental. It was not until 1814 that he was ad- vanced to the rank of commander, hav- ing over 20 years of distinguished ser- vice to his credit. In 1830 he was ap- pointed to the command of H.M.S. Scylla, and the following year was pro- moted to post-captain. It will be seen, therefore, that notwithstanding our first Governor's meritorious record, he was scurvily treated in the matter of promotion. Nelson became a post captain at 20 years of age. Evidently Hindmarsh did not command the in- terest at headquarters that the hero of Trafalgar did. In those days influence counted much in the matter of advance- ment. Service in Egypt and South Australia. Having spent some time in the ser- vice of the Pasha of Egypt, who was endeavoring to get together a navy after the destruction of his fleet at Navarino, and enlisted the assistance of English officers. Hindmarsh was nominated Governor of South Austra- lia, and appointed in 1836 to tho com- mand of H.M.S. Buffalo. In 1840 he was nominated Governor of Heligoland, a post from which he retired in 1857. During that service he was invested with a number of long-delayed honors which must in some measure have com- pensated for the slowness of his pro-
motion in the navy. Having prior to his coming to South Australia been created by King William IV. a Knight of Hanover, which carried with it no title, he in 1851 received the honor of knighthood from Queen Victoria with the Good Service Pension. In 1856 he was advanced to the rank of rear admiral. His death occurred in 1859. Sir John Hindmarsh married Susanna Wilson, daughter of H. D. Edmeades. The issue of the union was one son, John, a barrister of the Middle Temple and J.P. of Port Elliot, and three daughters, one of whom married John Ellis, of Kilberton Hall, Essex, England, another Alfred Miller Mundy, of Ship- ley Hall, Derbyshire, England, and cou- sin of the Duke of Newcastle, and the third George Milner Stephen, barrister of the Middle Temple, formerly Acting Governor and Colonial Secretary of South Australia.