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The Road to Botany BayAn Exploration of Landscape and History$
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Paul Carter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816669974

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816669974.001.0001

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Elysiums for Gentlemen

Elysiums for Gentlemen

(p.202) 7 Elysiums for Gentlemen
The Road to Botany Bay

Paul Carter

University of Minnesota Press

Some thirty years after Flinders’s Spencer Gulf survey, Edward Wakefield formed the South Australian Land Company in London to initiate a grand experiment in colonization and the formation of a community. One of the curious features of the experiment was that the colonizers set sail for the general region of Spencer Gulf’s eastern shores with no clear idea of where they would settle. The idea was that their surveyor, William Light, would examine the coast to find a suitable location for the capital of the future province. While Light’s selection of what was to become Adelaide on plains near the mouth of the River Torrens on St Vincent’s Gulf drew hostile comment, his town plan was met with approval. This chapter examines the grid plan in the context of spatial history, showing that, however much the grid might in theory preserve the uniformity of space, in practice it was perceived as a network instinct with qualities of convergence, divergence, centre, edge, direction and promise. As the matrix of physical progress, it shared the qualities of the explorer’s track and the appeal of the picturesque view.

Keywords:   Edward Wakefield, South Australian Land Company, Spencer Gulf, colonization, settlement, Australia, grid plan, William Light

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