Extract from: South Australia in 1887: A Handbook for the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition, by H. J. Scott

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The survey of land in South Australia was commenced upon the arrival of Colonel Light and his party in the ship Rapid, towards the end of 1836.

The site of the city having been decided upon, together with a site for a port, the survey of town acres was proceeded with; also a line for a canal connecting the two places, it being part of Colonel Light's design to have vessels ultimately brought into the city.

The first land was sold in March, 1837, at auction, when, out of the 1,042 acre blocks contained by both North and South Adelaide 562 were sold for cash, whilst 437 others were either selected, or set apart for holders of preliminary land orders which had been purchased in London, entitling the holder, for the sum of £80, to become possessed of one town acre, and one country section containing 134 acres.

Most of the original grants of town acres bear the date 23rd December, 1837, showing that holders of orders had not long to wait before being placed in possession of a part of their property; but, owing to delays in survey matters, caused by lack of transport for camp equipage, and by disputes between those highest in authority, the first country sections were not ready for selection until May of 1838.

Colonel Light resigned in July following, and Mr., afterwards Sir George Kingston, then Deputy Surveyor-General, occupied his position until October, when he also resigned. Mr. Ormsby had charge of the department until March, 1839, when Captain Sturt was appointed Surveyor-General, but shortly after accepted another office; and Captain Frome, R.E., was gazetted Surveyor-General on October 2nd, 1839.

Colonel Light died on October 2l8t, 1839, and was buried in the public square bearing his name.

A map accompanying the third annual report of the Colonisation Commission ordered by the House of Commons on the 13th May, 1889, to be printed, shows the progress of the survey at that time; it gives also the names of selectors, with the sections taken up.

The early settlers appear to have dispersed themselves from the city as a centre, to localities where the soil offered the best inducements for agricultural pursuits; and, as a consequence, surveys

had to be made upon short notice, in many places wide apart. Districts were marked upon maps as A, B, C, D, E, F, but these soon gave place to the more convenient divisions of counties and hundreds. On June 2nd, 1842, the following nine counties were proclaimed in the Government Gazette : Adelaide, Hindmarsh, Flinders, Light, Crawler, Sturt, Eyre, Stanley, Russell, the names given to them being commemorative of men intimately associated with the early history of the colony. In like manner, it has been an invariable rule up to the present time to perpetuate the names of governors and acting governors by naming a county after each one soon after His Excellency's arrival in the province, and of South Australian notable men by naming hundreds after them.

Colonel Gawler brought with him authority to combine with the office of Governor that of  "Resident Commissioner for the sale of Crown Lands," a position previously held by Mr., afterwards Sir James Hurtle Fisher.

In this capacity the Governor gave instructions direct to the Surveyor-General, and conducted a good deal of correspondence with the public upon matters connected with the occupation of Crown lands. Each Governor in succession exercised this power until constitutional government was granted to South Australia ; since which time Governors have had directly but little to do with such matters, beyond formally placing their signatures to various grants and leases issued by the Crown.

During 1839, 179,841 acres were sold, and in 1840 and 1841 the survey was effected of thirty-five special surveys, consisting of 4,000 acres each, in various localities outside the districts referred to. Colonel Frome and his surveyors were assisted in this by a strong party of sappers and miners.

An important feature associated with these surveys was the Triangulation commenced by Colonel Light ,upon the Adelaide plains, and extended by his successors for the purpose of mapping. the country, and connecting the detail surveys of sections, until, by the end of 1842, it embraced a strip of country stretching from Cape Jervis and the Murray mouth as far north as Mount Bryan and Mount Remarkable.