Maria Gandy

People of Adelaide

Suffrage maria gandy map

Maria Gandy (1811–1847), one of Adelaide’s founding females, was born in England. In 1832, she became the partner of Colonel William Light, the first surveyor-general of South Australia, who had recently separated from his second wife, Mary Bennet.

Gandy and her two brothers travelled with Light and his small survey party to South Australia on the brig Rapid, arriving at Kangaroo Island on 17 August 1836. They lived in Adelaide until 22 January 1839 when Light’s hut and survey office on North Terrace burnt to the ground. They then moved to a cottage in Thebarton, where Gandy nursed Light until his death from tuberculosis on 5 October 1839.

Gandy, who had been shunned by society, was the sole executor and beneficiary of Light’s estate. In 1840 she married Dr George Mayo and they had four children. In 1847 aged 36, she died of tuberculosis and was buried in West Terrace Cemetery.

Celebrating 125 years of women's suffrage in South Australia.

Image: Hand drawn coloured plan of City of Adelaide S.A. by W. Jacob, Assistant Surveyor, 1837, CC001383/1, Civic Collection, City of Adelaide Archives