Salute to early settlers

HISTORY: The first settlers landing re-enactment at Happy Valley. Settlers from Hawson's 'Abeona' after the flag raising ceremony in 1839 cheering for Queen Victoria.
HISTORY: The first settlers landing re-enactment at Happy Valley. Settlers from Hawson's 'Abeona' after the flag raising ceremony in 1839 cheering for Queen Victoria.

Over the years, the initial settlement of Port Lincoln and subsequently the 'Port Lincoln peninsula' has been celebrated in various ways.

In both 1939 and 1989 the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the first landing were marked by re-enactments of the arrival of the first three vessels. 

Since 1974 when Perce Baillie, who was then chief of the Port Lincoln Caledonian Society, established the first landing celebration as a regular event.

The ceremony has been held at the first landing reserve around the monument and flagpole at the mouth of Happy Valley, on an annual basis in most years.

A few years ago inclement weather obliged us to accept the offer by the Axel Stenross Museum to stage the event inside the museum.

Use of that venue continued until last year when building work at the museum was being undertaken and again this year when increased numbers of cruise ships made that arrangement unworkable.

As a result it was decided to return to the reserve at the flagpole this year for the 180th anniversary of the first landing.

However, the concluding sausage sizzle will still be provided by Axel Stenross Museum personnel in the museum verandah. 

This year's free program, apart from the gold coin donation for the sausage sizzle, is presented by the Port Lincoln Caledonian Society, the Port Lincoln History Group and the Axel Stenross Museum.

It will include music by the Port Lincoln City Band, a guard of honour and symbolic flag raising by navy cadets, brief readings by the president of the history group - Jo Utting and a navy cadet - which will set the scene for the guest speakers.

The speakers will be Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey and the Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty who will relay some of the experiences faced by the initial settlers upon arrival and during the hardships of the early years until the settlement became reasonably consolidated and more self supporting. 

The morning will conclude with the customary sausage sizzle and chat with friends. 

The celebration will be held this Sunday, March 17 at 10.15am at the first landing monument on the Lincoln Highway, above Axel Stenross Maritime Museum.

Park at the museum.