Biographical entry Nixon, Henry (1805 - 1843)


Lieutenant Henry Nixon, late of 96th Regiment of Foot, was selected by the Colonization Commissioners in London to be sent out to South Australia as a surveyor in Colonel Light's department. The Minutes of the Board (Nov. 15 and 18, 1837) (South Australia, 1839, p.31) refer to this gentle man as "J. R. Nixon, late of the Ordnance Survey". Lt. Henry Nixon arrived in the Navarino with his wife and child in December 1837 as a private settler and was appointed as an assistant surveyor in Colonel Light's Department.

On June 22, 1838, Colonel Light in a letter to the Colonization Commissioners for South Australia declined to perform a running survey, as directed by them, setting outs blocks of land for selection around Adelaide. On 2 July 1838 most of Light's survey officers also resigned (South Australia, 1839, p.35). These included the following; B.T. Finniss, G.O. Ormsby, W.L.L. Pullen, William Jacob, B. Pratt Winter, John Woodforde, Surgeon Survey, Alfred Hardy, John Cannan, A.F. Lindsay and R. G. Thomas.

George Kingston continued to conduct the survey with the remainder of Light's original team which included Nixon, while Light and Finniss went into partnership as independent surveyors. They were later joined by Henry Nixon in early 1839. Nixon later became an Emigration Agent. Nixon died on 15th April 1843 (South Australian Register, 1843) at the young age of 38. He was buried in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

The map of Adelaide 'Plan of the preliminary country country sections in the district of Adelaide, South Australia: from the surveys of Wm. Light Esqr. Suryr. Genl. and assistant surveyors / drawn by Henry Nixon., from information gathered by Colonel Light's surveyors prior to the above events. A facsimile of this map is available from the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia.

Related entries

Institutional and Other Holdings

State Library of South Australia

  • Plan of the preliminary country sections in the district of Adelaide, South Australia [cartographic material]: from the surveys of Wm. Light Esqr. Survr. Genl. and Assistant Surveyors/ drawn by Henry Nixon, c. 1837, C 246; State Library of South Australia. Details

Published resources

Newspaper Articles


  • South Australia, Third Annual Report of the Colonization Commissioners, 13 May 1839. Details