State Library of South Australia logoThe Foundation of South Australia 1852 - 1883
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future


  • 10 January: First lighthouse in South Australia, at Cape Willoughby, Kangaroo Island, near entrance to Backstairs Passage, begins operating (then known as the Sturt Lighthouse).
  • 28 January: Bullion Act allows gold from the Victorian goldfields to be smelted at the Treasury Buildings in Adelaide to relieve the shortage of money in South Australia caused by the gold rush.
  • Police commissioner Alexander Tolmer escorts gold from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide.
  • Central Board of Education established in South Australia to administer grants to state (non-denominational) schools.

For more information see The Foundation of South Australia: 1852-1883, Key events and issues.

Dingley Dell
Title : Dingley Dell Dingley Dell
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Source : B 19008
Date of creation : ca. 1880
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Dingley Dell cottage at Robe was occupied by Alexander Tolmer of Gold Escort fame - later Chief Commissioner of Police. Subsequently the cottage was converted to a shearing shed for R Dawson's property where Waite Research experiments were conducted.

Alexander Tolmer (1815-1890) was born in England of French refugee parents, He pursued various occupations in his lifetime, including soldier, magistrate, police officer, police chief, public servant, and writer. Tolmer migrated to South Australia in 1840 and became a police inspector. His duties saw much time in the bush pursuing cattle thieves, murderers, smugglers and seeking illicit stills.

The bullion Act of 1852 prompted Tolmer to suggested an overland gold escort service from Victoria to South Australia. It was designed to reverse the drain of currency from South Australia to Victoria during the gold rush. He accompanied the first escort on 10 February. The service continued through to December 1853. Tolmer published Reminiscences of an Adventurous and Chequered Career at Home and at the Antipodes in 1882 and retired in 1885.

Related names :

Tolmer, Alexander, 1815-1890

Coverage year : 1880
Place : Robe
Region : South East
Further reading :

'Death of Captain Tolmer', Adelaide Observer, 15 March 1890, p. 7, col. b-e

Some adventures of Alexander Tolmer in colonial South Australia 1840-1856 : selected from his "Reminiscences of an adventurous and chequered career at home and at the antipodes" / edited, with additional text, by Murray Tonkin, [Adelaide: M.P. Tonkin], 1985

Tolmer, Alexander. Reminiscences of an adventurous and chequered career at home and at the antipodes, Adelaide, [S. Aust.]: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1972

Internet links :

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online: Alexander Tolmer

Professional Historians Association SA 175 Gold Escort



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