Thursday, 21 June 2007
Pardon, Monsieur, où sont les toilettes?
Vous devez demander au Colonel!
Colonel William Light (1786-1839) was the Surveyor-General of South Australia. He was born in Kuala Kedah, Malaya in 1786, an illegitimate son of Captain Francis Light, the Governor of Penang, and Martina Rozells, of mixed Siamese and Portuguese descent. He died in Adelaide, South Australia, from tuberculosis.
In 1835, Light was appointed Surveyor-General of our new colony. He sailed for South Australia with his mistress Maria Gandy (his second wife having left him for another man) and some of his staff on the Rapid.
Here, Light laid out the street plan of Adelaide, which persists to this day. His role in founding the South Australian capital is remembered as "Light's Vision", and commemorated with this statue on Montefiore Hill pointing to the City of Adelaide below. Light's design for Adelaide is noted as one of the last great planned metropolises; the city's grid layout, interspaced by public squares, has made it an ideal modern city, able to cope with traffic, and the Adelaide Parklands that surround, provide a "city in a park" feel.
Light resigned from his position in 1838 after refusing to use less accurate surveying methods for country surveys and formed a private company. In January 1839 the Land and Survey Office and his adjoining hut burned down, taking some of the colony's early records and many of Light's diaries, papers and sketches with it.
Light spoke several languages and was an artist. Many of his sketches were published in London in 1823 and 1828.