John Hart

John Hart 1865 (SLSA)

Captain John Hart, born in 1809 in England, went to sea for the first time at the age of twelve when he sailed in the Favorite for San Domingo.

In 1828 he sailed the waters around Australia and reached Hobart. After having been promoted to second mate he visited Western Australia in 1829 on the Britannia. He visited South Australian waters and Kangaroo Island in 1831 as Master of the Elizabeth, a schooner owned by John Griffith of Launceston.

Between 1831 and 1834 he worked as a whaler and sealer and organised whaling stations around the coast even before South Australia was established in 1836.

While back in England in 1836 he assisted the Colonization Commissioners for South Australia with his knowledge of the coastline and a year later took a shipload of live stock from Launceston to Adelaide.

He landed Edward Henty at Portland Bay and overlanded stock in 1838 from that area to Adelaide. In 1839 he sailed for Denial Bay but eventually settled in Adelaide where he became involved in all kinds of business ventures and politics. In 1840, as Captain of the Rapid, he made an exploratory trip along the coast to the western limits of South Australia to look for suitable land and harbours for people interested in Special Surveys of that area. During the 1840s he was a director of the Montacute, North Kapunda and Paringa mining companies.

For a short time he also ran a whaling station with Baker and Hagen. In 1850 he became a member of the Provisional Committee of the City of Adelaide Gas Light and Coke Company, committee member for the establishment of a South Australian High School and a director of the Britannia Mining Company. In 1851 John Hart was a member of the first elected Legislative Council and started a long and successful career in politics.

Hart's Mill Port Adelaide 1880 (SLSA)

While a member of parliament he built the largest flour mill in South Australia at Port Adelaide, and became also a successful flour-miller and wheat merchant. During his varied career he was also a ship, mine and land owner, bank director, member of the Adelaide Club, member of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the South Australian Railway Commission, Treasurer, and finally three times Premier of South Australia. During his long career he had shown a never failing interest in mining, agriculture and the general economic development of the colony.


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