Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kapunda Biographies: John Hill

Kapunda, A town of mystery, a town of history and town with a past like no other...today we are starting a new edition to our blog highlighting some of the people who lived, worked, played, loved and built this town.

Some of the Ladies and Gentlemen we will profile over coming months have long left us, some are living in this town right now, you may have passed them in the street and not known what they achieved in their lives, right here in Kapunda, with this blog, we aim to change that!

To get us started we are going to profile a Gent who passed long ago, one who crossed the sea to play an important role in South Australia's History, who eventually would call Kapunda home, and be buried here in the Clare Road Methodist Cemetery.

John Hill 
Mr Hill served as boatswain ( The Foreman of the “unlicensed” crew) in His Majesty, King William's Ship, The Buffalo. [1]

John Hill was born on the 3rd of June 1808 in Cheshurst, Hertfordshire England. Mr Hill was a skilled thatcher before serving for his King in the English Navy.

John Hill's most notable mark in South Australian history, other than coming to our fine shores aboard the Buffalo, under the soon to be Governor of South Australia, Captain John Hindmarsh, was to unfurl the flag at proclamation day ceremonies at Glenelg.

As the proclamation, declaring South Australia a British colony was read aloud to the gathered sailors and dignitaries, John Hill raised the British Flag, thus marking his place in South Australian history for all time. He was aged 29 at the time.

Mr Hill was soon engaged to thatch roofs for the newly colonised State, the only skilled Roof thatcher available he was very busy and was summoned to thatch the roof of the Governors house.

Mr Hill lived much of his middle years in Wilpena before settling in Kapunda with his family, where he died at the age of 77, after fighting an illness for four months. Mr Hill died on the 2nd of April 1885 and was interred in The Clare Road Cemetery.

Mr Hill's Wife and Family were very proud of the fact that their Husband, and Father hoisted the flag on proclamation day and marked the significance upon his tombstone.

His grave also feature a very distinct and different marking. It features as the centre piece the “British Standard” with Gum tree carved into Headstone.

Mr Hills obituary appears in the South Australian Register on page 2, Aprill 11th 1885 and reads:

Deaths of Pioneers.— Our Kapunda correspondent mentions that bluff, hearty old John Hill the boatswain of the Buffalo,who hoisted the flag at Glenelg when the colony was proclaimed, died on Thursday evening, after an illness of four months. He was 77 years of age, and during his life enjoyed the very best of health until recently,when he was attacked by bronchitis. Daring his illness he suffered a great deal. He leaves  a widow, who is somewhat older than himself 

Researched and Written
Allen Tiller
Kapunda Community Link

[1] The “Buffalo” was originally named “The Hindostand” in 1813 when it was built it was sold in that same year to the United Kingdom Navy and renamed “The Buffalo” where it began to ship mast timbers across the globe. It eventually was used to ship English female prisoners to Sydney (187) then travelled to South Africa. The ship was recommissioned in 1835 where it was fitted to house emigrants for transport to Australian Colonies.

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