November Members’ Meeting

Friday 6 November 7.30pm Dr Susan Marsden

Mr Hill’s History Painting: exploring the histories in Charles Hill’s painting ‘The Proclamation of South Australia at Holdfast Bay 1836’

1836 culminated in the arrival by ship of the first official settlers and the Governor’s first proclamation. This illustrated talk will explore the histories implicit in Charles Hill’s celebrated painting of that event, titled, ‘The Proclamation of South Australia 1836’ (Art Gallery of SA). Hill’s painting of 1857 was itself a historical reconstruction of the setting, participants and observers (many named in a key) at the Proclamation of government and of the rights of the Aborigines at Holdfast Bay on 28 December 1836, marking formal British settlement of the new province of South Australia.

The painting is unusual in such nineteenth century images in depicting this as a family event with women and children, including amongst the Aboriginal observers. The painting will provide a starting point, narrative line and overarching structure for a book Susan has been writing for several years (Mr Hill’s History Painting) that will provide a fresh look at the best‐known event in South Australia’s history. This project will connect the picture, people, proclamation and place depicted in the painting in developing a compelling story about the founding of a free British province on the far side of the world.

Susan is a former President of the History Council of SA and an appointed member of the State Records Council and the Register Committee of the SA Heritage Council. Past employment includes seven years as SA’s State Historian, Visiting Fellow in the Urban Research Program at the ANU, and National Conservation Manager at the Australian Council of National Trusts.

Susan has authored and co‐ authored more than 120 books, articles, internet publications and reports. Recent work includes commissioned books, heritage studies, a website and oral history interviews, including those recorded as an ongoing interviewer for the National Library of Australia.


Registration for meetings is now available via Eventbrite. Pre-registration will help create a record for contact tracing and speed up the registration process to avoid congestion at the entrance.

The registration for the November meeting can be found by clicking here.