As soon as you step of the tram or otherwise arrive in Moseley Square at the end of Jetty Road and look towards the sea the first thing that will capture your attention is this striking 12.9 metre high monument of Kapunda marble with its base of Murray Bridge granite. You also can’t fail to notice the beautiful setting amongst the palm trees. When I first saw the monument I instantly assumed it was a War Memorial.
I was wrong. This is the Pioneer Memorial unveiled by Governor, Major-General Sir Winston Dugan on Sunday 27 December 1936 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State of South Australia and to honour the early settlers. On the south and north faces are bronze tablets listing the names of the first explorers/settlers including Nuyts, Flinders, Baudin, Sturt, Barker and Light in addition to the State’s founders – Wakefield, Gouger, Torrens G.F. Angas and others. At the top of the four panels are relief portraits of Wakefield, Hindmarsh, Gouger and Angas.
On the western side facing the sea the panel depicts the proclamation ceremony (picture 4) and the inscription reads: ‘Here, at Holdfast Bay, landed the Pioneer Settlers and Governor Hindmarsh Announced the Establishment of the Government on December 28th 1836”. The others panels depict various persons or matters of key significance to the development of South Australia, including the pastoral industry, the overland telegraph line, the Murray River as a means of transport and Sir Ross Smith, a pioneer airman. The drawings for these reliefs were done by South Australian artist, Ivor Hele, who came to prominence as a war artist in WWII. Personally, and it’s not a criticism, I find the reliefs rather Sovietesque.
The Latin phrase on the southern face is perhaps the most poignant “Si Momumentum Requiris Cicumspice “ – “If you seek a memorial, look around you”. These words will resonate with readers who have seen or are aware of the inscription remembering St Christopher Wren in a circle of black marble on the floor beneath the dome in St Paul’s Cathedral, London and also on his tomb in the Cathedral. The inscriptions to Wren include these same words – written much earlier.
On top of the monument is a bronze replica of HMS Buffalo, the ship on which Governor “elect” Hindmarsh and other early settlers arrived here in Holdfast Bay on the 28th December 1936. A replica of the HMS Buffalo can be seen a short distance from this memorial – (separate review).
Later that day under the “Old Gum Tree” (separate review) a proclamation was read by the Hindmarsh, which announced that the government and State of South Australia had been established, that the law would be enforced and that Aboriginal people would be protected.
Address: Moseley Square
Directions: At the end of Jetty Road by the sea.