Charles Sturt

Captain Charles Sturt (1795 – 1869) explorer, soldier and public servant
The person who opened up the Southern portion of Australia for free settlement was Captain Charles Sturt, one of Australia’s greatest and most heroic inland explorers. He was a man of courage and prayer, for “in many a scene of danger, of difficulty, and of sorrow he had risen from his knees calm and confident.”

The person who opened up the Southern portion of Australia for free settlement was Captain Charles Sturt, one of Australia’s greatest and most heroic inland explorers. He was a man of courage and prayer, for “in many a scene of danger, of difficulty, and of sorrow he had risen from his knees calm and confident.”

God spared his life on numerous occasions. He endured tremendous hardships when facing the harshness of the Australian inland, and, as Sturt completed his exploration with his men, who had complete confidence in and admiration for him, he “went down on his knees and with tears of joy offered his thanks to Almighty God.”

Charles Sturt loved the majesty of the bush and often “praised his God that He had done such wondrous things.” It was Sturt who in February, 1834 wrote to the Colonial Office. “He prophesied that the men of South Australia would one day people the heart of the continent and that the Australian colonies would emulate America. He urged them to convince the aborigine that the white man was coming as a brother. He urged them, too, not to give the aborigine trifling presents but to protect him against violence and aggression, until that day when as children of the same heavenly Father, they had all learned to look at each other with love and charity.”

Then there were men who believed God had a special purpose in the Christian settlement of Australia. Men such as the Permanent Under Secretary of the Colonial Office, James Stephen, who “believed that the government of men should conform to the government of God”, and encouraged Christian families to settle here, as well as being influential in the choice of Christian leaders in the colonising of the country.

Stephen’s desire was to establish our nation as “a Christian virtuous enlightened state in the centre of the eastern hemisphere and within reach of the Chinese, Hindu and Mohammedan nations.” Certainly we are seeing the continuing fulfilment of this great prophetic statement given to the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Dieman’s land more than 160 years ago, as we see China opening up to the printing of the word of God, and as we see missionaries continuing to be sent out from this nation.

Many Christians were instrumental in the formation of South Australia, amongst them was a man named Robert Torrens who stated in a speech in the House of Commons in 1827 that “we are co-operating in the scheme of Providence and are the favoured instruments in causing Christian civilisation to ‘cover the earth as the waters cover the sea!’ ”

As chairman of the Colonization Commissioners when they first met in May 1835, he expressed the hope that they would be performing “an act of mercy for the natives of southern Australia by bringing them the gift of their great civilization and their Holy faith.”

Almost all of the directors of the South Australian Company were lay preachers. Robert Gouger, who was appointed Colonial Secretary was a devout Evangelical and even Wakefield acknowledged that without Gouger South Australia would not have been settled. It was Gouger who wrote a “Sketch of a Proposal for Colonizing Australia”. He also organized the first public meeting for the free settlement of the South Australian Coast attended by 2,500 people in a Christian Centre, “Exeter Hall” in London.

George Fife Angas, who resigned as a Colonization Commissioner to take up a position on the board of directors of the South Australian Company, was also a committed Christian and the real father of South Australia’s religious liberties. “My great object was, in the first instance, to provide a place of refuge for pious Dissenters of Great Britain, who could in their new home discharge their consciences before God in Civil and religious duties without any disabilities.” It was Angas’ hope “that South Australia will become the headquarters for the diffusion of Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere”.

Complete article, references and more on the establishment of South Australia : http://www.chr.org.au/vol2/chp6.htm

refer also The Inland Explorers : http://www.link-zone.net/gordonmoyes/history/inlandexplorers.shtml

There are many reminders in the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on North Terrace, of links to South Australia’s early settlers including memorial tablets on the walls to people such as Sir James Hurtle Fisher and a plaque commemorating the role of Captain Charles Sturt as a church trustee.

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2008/05/17/2246598.htm
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