Captain Collet BarkerPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole

The memorial plaque commemorates explorer, Captain Collet Barker and was unveiled at the opening of the Newland Bridge in 1948. The plaque has been relocated from its original location on the bridge.

Collet Barker (1784 – 1831) was a British military officer and explorer. He explored areas of South Australia, Western Australia and Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory.

On 13 April 1831 Barker and his party arrived at Cape Jervis on the Isabella. He examined the coast and found that there was no channel. Barker discovered the Onkaparinga River on 15 April. He then explored the ranges inland, north of the present site of Adelaide, and climbed Mount Lofty where he sighted the Port River inlet, Barker Inlet and the future Port Adelaide, his most important discovery. He then moored Isabella near present Yankalilla Bay and went overland to explore the area around Lake Alexandrina and Encounter Bay. On 29 April the mouth of the Murray was reached. Barker swam across the narrow channel the next morning, went over a sandhill, and was never seen again. A few days later the party learned that Barker had been killed by the local Indigenous people who had mistaken him for a whaler or sealer, many of whom had abducted Indigenous women.

The opening of the new bridge over the Inman River on Friday, October 8, forges a new link in the chain of Victor Harbour. The bridge is to be called the Newland Bridge, as was the old one, named after the Rev. Ridgeway Newland, whose practical foresight, vision, and energy secured the original one, a great advance over the stepping stones and ford that had hitherto connected the Encounter Bay and Victor Harbour settlements. Then, too, on the bridge is to be placed a plaque in honour of Captain Barker, the explorer, who crossed the river at approximately that spot. This is to be unveiled at the same time by Sir Herbert Mayo, president of the S.A. branch of the Royal Geographical Society. The bridge is to be opened by Mr. Mclntosh, the Minister of Highways and of Local Government, to whose good offices we owe the beautiful structure; and a worthy one, for it is an important highway which will, as some one wrote in the local “Times” a week or two back, make easier the connection of Victor Harbour with Encounter Bay, Inman Valley, and indeed all those thriving districts and growing communities lying on that side of the river. It is indeed an historic occasion, and to mark it as such the corporation has invited to the opening the members of the various district councils concerned. Also, the corporation has had struck a number of buttons bearing photographs of the bridge, which are to be sold that day, the proceeds going the Victor Harbour War Memorial fund. It is fitting that those boys who came from the whole district, and fought and died for the safely of our land, should be remembered. 
Victor Harbour Times (SA), 1 October 1948.



Address:Bay Road, Carpark, Barker Reserve, Victor Harbor, 5211
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.557615
Long: 138.612035
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 8th October, 1948
Front Inscription

              In 1831
      (39th Regiment)
Passed Along The Neighbouring Hills
From Gulf St. Vincent To Murray Mouth.
     After Barker`s Death  
          John Kent
   Led The Party Back
Along The Valley Of The Inman.

The River Was Named In 1838 After
    Henry Inman
First Inspector Of Police

Unveiled 8 October, 1948


Source: MA,NRUM
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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