Governor Robe

In 1841 Governor Grey had been of the greatest service to the colony in changing the state of its prospects, but he was not permitted to see more than the commencement of its great prosperity; for in 1845, he was sent to govern New Zealand, and his place was filled by Colonel Robe, a military gentleman, of what is called the “old school”, honourable and upright, but inclined to think that everything ought always to be as it has been. He disliked all innovation and did what he could to prevent it, much to the discontent of the young and thriving colony, which was, by necessity, the scene of constant and rapid changes. He passed a very troublous time for three years and in 1848 was heartily glad to be recalled.

Governor Young

Following Governor Robe’s departure, the colony was placed under the care of Sir Henry Young, whose policy was completely the reverse. He sought by every means in his power to encourage the ceaseless activity of the people. His failing was, perhaps, an unwise zeal for progress. For instance, in his desire to open up the river Murray to navigation, he wasted large sums of money in schemes that proved altogether useless. He made an effort to remove the sand bar at the mouth of the river, but fresh deposits of sand were constantly being brought down by the current and lashed up into a new bar by the waves that rolled ceaselessly in from the Southern Ocean.

He spent about £20,000 in trying to construct a harbour called Port Elliot, near the entrance to the Murray ; but there are now only a few surf-beaten stones to indicate the scene of his fruitless attempt. He offered a bonus of £4,000 to the first person who could ascend the Murray in an iron steamer as far as the River Darling ; and a man called Cadell made the effort and succeeded. He obtained the reward, but it was not enough money to pay his heavy expenses; and when he tried afterwards to carry on a trade, by transporting wool to the sea in flat-bottomed steamers, he found that the traffic on the river wasn’t sufficiently great to repay his heavy outlay and in a short time, he was almost ruined. The attempt was premature; and though, in the following years, the navigation of the Murray was successful, at the time it led to nothing but loss.