While to the rest of the inhabited earth to-day is if anything the feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas), to-day, the 28th of December, is Proclamation Day to the good people of South Australia (to which day the holiday is transferred this year; normally they get the actual holiday on Boxing Day), the anniversary of the establishment of their State as a British colony back in 1836, shortly after the arrival of the first free settlers; the Letters Patent of King William IV granting the power, the proclamation was read, which reading has been repeated at the official ceremony marking this event ever since:
By His Excellency John Hindmarsh, Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, Governor and Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Province of South Australia:
In announcing to the colonists of His Majesty’s Province of South Australia, the establishment of the Government, I hereby call upon them to conduct themselves on all occasions with order and quietness, duly to respect the laws, and by a course of industry and sobriety, by the practice of sound morality and a strict observance of the Ordinances of Religion, to prove themselves worthy to be the Founders of a great free colony.
It is also, at this time especially, my duty to apprize the Colonists of my resolution, to take every lawful means for extending the same protection to the Native Population as to the rest of His Majesty’s subjects and of my firm determination to punish with exemplary severity all acts of violence or injustice which may in any manner be practiced or attempted against the Natives who are to be considered as much under the safeguard of the Law as the Colonists themselves, and equally entitled to the privileges of British subjects. I trust therefore, with confidence to the exercise of moderation and forbearance by all Classes in their intercourse with the Native Inhabitants, and that they will omit no opportunity of assisting me to fulfil His Majesty’s most gracious and benevolent intentions toward them by promoting their advancement in civilization and ultimately, under the blessing of Divine Providence, their conversion to the Christian Faith.
By His Excellency’s Command,
God Save the King!