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Proclamation Day and The Old Gum Tree
Glenelg is recognised as the oldest European settlement on mainland South Australia. Each year on 28 December, the Proclamation document is read at the site of the Old Gum Tree.
It all began on 28 December 1836 when a flotilla of ships had already landed along with the Colonial Secretary Robert Gouger. A makeshift camp of tents and transportable huts had been established just beyond the sand dunes, near a freshwater creek now known as the Patawalonga. At 2pm and with the temperature hovering around 40°c, the Cygnet and Buffalo vessels sailed into Holdfast Bay against a backdrop of fires in the Mount Lofty Ranges. In the first boat sat Governor Hindmarsh, his Secretary George Stevenson, the Resident Commissioner Hurtle Fisher and their families.
The official Vice Regal Party entered Gouger's tent where the commission was read and the oaths administered to the Governor and his Council. They then emerged, and in open woodland beneath a distinctively arched old gum tree, Stevenson read the document known as the ‘Proclamation of South Australia’.
In 1857, just after Glenelg had become a municipality, John Hector, owner of the land on which the gum tree stands gifted the land to the Glenelg community.