Colonel William Light's Vision

Colonel William Light is the celebrated surveyor-general who chose the site of the capital city for the colony of South Australia. Although controversy dogged his work in the 1830s, his vision for a planned city divided into north and south and surrounded by parklands was truly ahead of its time.

In 1892, a committee looked into creating a monument to Colonel Light. In 1904 it called for designs. A new monument was planned to replace the decaying sandstone one that marked Light’s grave in Light Square. This was unveiled in June 1905.

In December 1904, a second design for a statue by Scottish sculptor Birnie Rhind was chosen. It was difficult to confirm the proper uniform of Colonel Light’s Royal Engineers regiment in 1836 and the statue took much longer to be cast than expected.

In December 1906 a huge crowd gathered to witness the statue’s unveiling. It was at the centre of the roadway in Victoria Square, between Flinders and Franklin Streets. The statue was unveiled 70 years to the day since Colonel Light had decided on the site for the City of Adelaide.

In 1938, the Pioneers Association of South Australia suggested the city council move the statue to commemorate the centenary of Colonel Light’s death in 1939. The newly renovated lookout on Montefiore Hill was proposed. Association president Sir Henry Newland suggested the lookout be renamed “Light’s Vision”.

Light’s Vision is now a regular attraction for residents and visitors for its views over Adelaide and the surrounding hills.

Images

Unveiling of the Colonel Light Statue in Victoria Square, 1906

Unveiling of the Colonel Light Statue in Victoria Square, 1906

The statue of Colonel William Light remained in Victoria Square until 13 May 1938, when it was moved to Montefiore Hill. | Creator: National Trust of South Australia Photographic Collection ID: 12209 View File Details Page

Statue of Colonel Light, Montefiore Hill, 1973

Statue of Colonel Light, Montefiore Hill, 1973

Source: National Trust of South Australia Photographic Collection ID: 7801 View File Details Page

Light's Vision, Montefiore Hill, 2014

Light's Vision, Montefiore Hill, 2014

The view of the city from Light's vision has changed over the years, most recently with the major redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval precinct. | Creator: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

Colonel Light

Colonel Light

South Australian architectural firm Garlick, Sibley and Wooldridge designed the grey and red granite pedestal for the statue. | Creator: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

Pilgrimage to Colonel Light's Grave, Light Square, 5 October 1936

Pilgrimage to Colonel Light's Grave, Light Square, 5 October 1936

The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia organised a pilgrimage to Colonel Light's grave in Light Square in 1936. That year marked 100 years since the founding of the Colony of South Australia. | Source: State Library of South Australia, B 8348 View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Colonel William Light's Vision,” Adelaide City Explorer, accessed April 26, 2017, http://adelaidecityexplorer.com.au/items/show/117.
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