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Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The plaque commemorates James Cronk who was a pioneer of the Modbury area who arrived in South Australia on the ship Africaine in November 1836.

He landed on Kangaroo Island on November 2, 1836, and came to Holdfast Bay a few days later.  He was present at the proclamation of the Province, and a day or two after landing the settlers found some difficulty in getting water, so Mr. Cronk sunk a well near the beach, and got a good supply. This was the first well sunk in South Australia.

Mr. Cronk had the ability to gain the confidence of the Aboriginals, and he was often out with them looking for stray horses. He learned their language, and constructed a useful vocabulary of words in most frequent use.

When Dr. Wyatt. was appointed Protector of Aborigines, Mr. Cronk was selected as his assistant, but three years after he resigned the position. He bought land in Modbury where he started farming.

Modbury, July 5,
Mr. James Cronk, an old and respected resident, passed away this morning at the age of 93 years. He left 3 daughters and 3 sons, 47 grand-children, and 40 great grandchildren. Mr. Cronk,who was born at Tottenham, near London, on February 17, 1811, was apprenticed to the sea, and made many voyages to the Cape of Good Hope, Sydney, and Tasmania. He left his ship in Tasmaniain 1829, and resided there until 1835, when he returned to London in the barque Lotus, from Launceston.  He stayed seven months in England, and then agreed with Mr. John Brown, who was an emigration agent at that time, to come to this State with him in the Africaine.

On November 7, 1836, he landed in Holdfast Bay, and he was present at the proclamation of the colony on December 28, 1836. A day or two after landing there was a difficulty about obtaining water. He sank a well with the assistance of shipmates, and secured a moderate supply at 14 ft. This was the first well sunk in the colony. Mr. Cronk afterwards sank two wells in Halifax and Gilles streets. These brought him in about £3 per week, as he charged 1/ per week for each house he supplied with water. In 1841 he bought land at Modbury, where he has lived ever since with the exception of a few months spent on the Victorian goldfields, where he was fairly successful.
Chronicle (Adelaide), 9 July 1904.




Address:Grand Junction Road, Hope Valley Cemetery, Hope Valley, 5090
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.844297
Long: 138.695564
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Dedicated to James Cronk

17. 2. 1811 to 5. 7. 1904

Arrived Africaine
Holdfast Bay 13. 11. 1836

Present at Proclamation
28. 12. 1836

Pioneer of the Modbury area
1841 - 1905

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