last modified 13 August 2020

View of Cos' [i.e. Company's] fishing station
                    and Cape Rosetta, Encounter Bay, South Australia,
                    taken from the beach [picture] / Colonel Light del.

Final resting place of the South Australian
View of South Australian Company's fishing station and Cape Rosetta, Encounter Bay, South Australia

By permission of the National Library of Australia

The South Australian: three masted barque, 236 tons om (155 nm) was built in1819 at Little Falmouth as the Marquis of Salisbury, subsequently sold to the Royal Navy and renamed the HMS Swallow, and finally sold to the South Australian Company to be registered in London as the South Australian on 20 Oct 1836 

departed Plymouth on 22 Dec 1836 
stopped at Tristan da Cuhna from 17-20 Feb 1836 
stopped at the Cape of Good Hope from 1-22 Mar 1836 
berthed at Kangaroo Is, SA on 22 April 1837 
under the command of Alexander Allan Jr. 

The South Australian broke moorings and was wrecked during a severe storm in Rosetta Harbour, Encounter Bay on 8 Dec 1837 

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index

Passenger List
The passenger list comes from entries in the diary of David McLaren, a manager of the South Australian Company (based on the research of Elsie A Ahrens) [1] and various web sites

The following extracts are taken from George Sutherland's "The South Australian Company" [4]

(pp 80-1) "Mr. D. McLaren, father of the celebrated Rev. McLaren of Manchester, went out in the ' South Australian' as the Commercial and Bank Manager for the Company in the Colony; the London Manager at the Bishops-gate Street office being Mr. E. J. Wheeler.  When this vessel was leaving Plymouth the people of that city turned out in large numbers to give the emigrants a hearty send-off. There were on board five fishermen, four shipwrights; a butcher and salter; a smith and farrier; two farming labourers, two German vine-dressers; a flax-grower, and three German agricultural labourers. Two bulls and heifers of the pure Devon breed and twenty pigs were shipped by the same vessel, and twenty Cashmere goats by the John Renwick, which sailed in October. In referring to the former ship it is stated 'that the Directors cannot conclude the report of the departure of this expedition without gratefully adverting to the deep and affectionate concern for the welfare of the emigrants which the inhabitants of Plymouth evinced on that occasion.'"

(pp 182-3) "A CLEVER and amusing grumbler, of the type familiar to most people who have taken long sea voyages, journeyed out to Kangaroo Island by the Company's vessel the South Australian as surgeon of the ship. This was Dr. W. H. Leigh, who afterwards published reminiscences ti of his experiences under the title of Reconnoitring Voyages and Travels, with Adventures in the New Colonies of South Australia, &c. Rollicking sallies of humour, without the slightest regard for literal accuracy, abounded throughout the work."
David McLaren

David McLaren
Manager of the South Australian Company ca 1830

Photo courtesy of the State Library of South Australia SLSA:


ALLAN[1][5] Alexander Jr

Ships Surgeon
LEIGH[1][5] W.H.

ANTHONY[1][5] John, first mate
FINDLAY[1][5] David, second mate
ALLAN[1] John, third mate, brother to captain
ANTHONY[1] James H, apprentice
BAILEY[1] Henry, apprentice
BUCHAN[1] William, able seaman
CANN[1] John, carpenter
CLARK[1] Alexander, able seaman and harpooner
HUGGINS[1][5] James, ordinary seaman
HUTCHINSON[1][5] Gilbert, able seaman and harpooner
INSTER [1] Maxwel, able seaman and boatswain
JOHNSTON[1] John, able seaman and harpooner
WIDGER[1] William, cook
WYATT[1] John Pearce, apprentice

COURTOY[1] George

Eliza Sewell nee FLITT

CUMMINNS[1][5] Gregory
DODDRIDGE[1] William

Thirza nee GERMEIN (daughter of John GERMEIN and Christina nee EASTON)
DRESCHER[1] Julius


GERMEIN[1][5][7] Benjamin (son of John GERMEIN and Christina nee EASTON)
GERMEIN[1][5][7] John (son of John GERMEIN and Christina nee EASTON)

Olinda nee GOVER
GERMEIN[1][5][7] Samuel (son of John GERMEIN and Christina nee EASTON)
GREGORY[1] William (stepfather of Jane)


.....William? (baby born on voyage)

.....Jane (10)
HAYMAN[1] Robert



HODGE William
LIDDON[1] Anne, from Dawlish
LIDDON[1] Emma Sophia, from Dawlish
McLAREN[1][5] David, senior manager of SA Company
[1][5] .....David Jr
MILDRED[1][5] Hon. Henry Richard

Elizabeth Sarah nee BOWYER

.....Clarissa Martha Margaret,

.....Unania Harriet
PAHLOW[1][5] Martin Ludwig


PEARRY[1] William, from Dawlish

PROUT[1] William
ROWE[1] James Buttress (1800)


.....Jane (ca 1826)

.....James Buttress (ca 1830)


..... neice
WRIGHT[1] Joseph



AHRENS [1][7-9] Heinrich Gerhard (1818)
KLEINSCHMIDT[1] Friedrich Wilhelm (ca 1810)
REHN[1] Johann (ca 1810)

Anna Katarinna Elizabeth nee SCHROETER (ca 1815)

.....Sebastian (1836)
SCHOLTZ[1] Johann
STEIN[1] Engelhart.



Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index

Newspaper Reports

The South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register

20th January 1838


WE regret exceedingly to record the shipwreck of no less than three vessels - the Sir Charles Macarthy, Duff, South Australian, MacFarlane, and Solway, Pearson.
The Sir Charles Macarthy anchored in what we would call the unsafe part of Glenelg roads, i.e. too near the beach and out of the good holding ground. This was no doubt done for the purpose of landing her cargo with greater ease and expedition; and the result has been that the cargo has been saved, but the ship was caught in a gale from the southwest, in November last, drove from her anchors, and was run on shore. We understand that, without any application to the proper authorities, a survey took place, and the ship was condemned and sold. The hull was purchased by Mr. S. Stephens, and, in a few days after the sale, was got off with very little damage and is now anchored in Nepean Bay. An enquiry into the circumstances attendant upon the loss of this brig ought to take place, as it is generally believed that had she been anchored in a proper place the accident might have been avoided. The loss of the South Australian and the Solway both occurred at the station of the South Australian Company in Encounter Bay, called Rosetta Harbour, about three miles to the westward of Victoria Harbour. From the reports which have reached us we believe that the circumstances attendant upon the loss of both vessels deserve a thorough investigation. Rosetta Harbour is at best but an unsafe anchorage for a single vessel of any size; but there is no security for two at the best season of the year. The South Australian, after waiting upwards of a fortnight in daily expectation of the arrival of the Solway, was caught in a tremendous gale, broke from her moorings, drove over the reef, and was totally lost. The crew and passengers happily escaped. The greatest praise is due to Captain MacFarlane for his conduct on the occasion. A few days afterwards the Solway, Pearson, and John Pirie, Martin, arrived and anchored in the same place. In another very severe southerly gale the Solway broke from her moorings, went upon the same reef which was fatal to the South Australian, and became a total wreck. The John Pirie was driven on shore in a better position, and was expected when the last accounts left to be got off.

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index

(1) Diary of David McLaren (as related by Elise A Ahrens)
(2) Opie, E.A.D. South Australian Records Prior to 1841 (originally published by Hassie and Gillingham Ltd: Adelaide, SA, 1917).facimile edition, Gillingham Printers: Adelaide, SA, 1981
(3) Leigh, W.H. Travels and Adventures in South Australia 1836-1838 (originally published by Smith Elder and Co.: London,1839) facimile edition, Currawong Press: Milsons Point, NSW, 1982.
(4) Sutherland, George The South Australian Company Longmans, Green & Co: London, 1898 (pp 80-1, 182-6, 190)
(5) Sexton, R.T. Shipping Arrivals and Departures South Australia 1627-1950 Gould Books: Ridgehaven, SA, 1990 (p 34)
(6) Parsons, R. Migrant Ships for South Australia 1836-1850 Gould Books: Gumeracha, SA, 1983
(7) Thomas, J (editor) Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1835, South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Association Inc: Adelaide,1990, Book 1 (Ahrens p 7, Germein pp 292-3)
(8) Mangelsdorf, Betty (compiler) The Ahrens Family Munno Para, SA, 2003
(9) Traeger Pat Chronicles of the Family Graue 1846-1983Graue Family Reunion Committee. 1983 (pp 31-32)



David McLaren (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

Jane Gregory/Dobney story - from Convictions - Australian Shipping.  Judy Jerkins' transcription of an article that appears in Geo News,  bi-monthly Newsletter of The Royal Geographical Society of Australasia Inc. (South Australian Branch) Vol 2(5) Nov/Dec 1995 - also appears on Di Cummings site.  The following is a short extract:

"...  We came out in the "The South Australian", formerly called "The Swallow" which was charted by the S.A. Company.
   We sailed from Plymouth on December 24th, 1836. The ship's longboat divided into three compartments; a Durham bull was carried in one end and a sick woman in the other; while at one stage of the voyage little Jane Gregory had a baby brother born in the same longboat. We called at the Cape of Good Hope, where we could plainly see fires on land that were lit to keep wild beasts away from Cape Town, in fact, only a week before we called a lion came right into the town. A fellow-passenger with us was John Germein, who subsequently became head pilot, and after whom Port Germein was named.
   We landed at Kangaroo Island.  ... "

Passenger list
Passenger list of The South Australian (Convictions - Australian Shipping)
South Australian (Di Cummings)
Family History South Australia (select passenger lists and search for South Australian)

Ship's Description
National Shipwreck Database - search for South Australian as shipwreck name

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index