Place Names of South Australia - G
- Coach Services
- Early Settlement
- Jetty, Breakwater and Lighthouses
- The Old Gum Tree
- Public Buildings
- Railways, Tramways and Buses
- Sea Bathing
- Sport and Recreation
The name honours Lord Glenelg whose baptismal name was Charles Grant; born in Bengal, India in 1778 he went to England in 1790 and at the time of the founding of South Australia was Secretary of State for the Colonies; he died in 1866.
The "Choice of the Township of Glenelg" is in the Register,
9 February 1839, page 3b.
Reminiscences of 1838 are in the Observer,
3 April 1880, page 567c.
The settlement in 1839 is recalled in the Observer,
14 April 1877, page 12a.
The village is described in the Observer,
12 August 1843, page 5a,
2 February 1844, page 3b,
11 February 1845, page 3e,
8 September 1849, page 2d,
1 March 1851, page 1b (supp.),
24 February 1860, page 3a.
Also see Register,
10 October 1863, page 2e,
10 October 1863, page 2e,
24 October 1863, page 1e (supp.),
15 November 1865, page 3f,
11 and 14 September 1875, pages 4e and 7d,
10 October 1863, page 2e,
5 April 1888, page 7.
1 August 1906, pages 13-19.
A sketch is in Frearson's Weekly,
14 February 1880, page 3,
photographs of the 1890s are in the Observer,
5 January 1929, page 37.
Information on bridges over the River Sturt is in the Observer,
14 July 1849, page 3a.
A comment on the oyster industry is in the Commercial Advertiser,
9 March 1850, page 1d (supp.),
26 November 1866, page 2d; also see
7 December 1866, page 2c.
"The Oyster Barge at Glenelg" is in the Observer,
4 June 1864, page 1f (supp.),
1 June 1864, page 2f.
Also see South Australia - Oysters and Crayfish
"Something About Glenelg" in 1853 is in the Chronicle,
9 December 1882, page 22d.
An informative editorial is in the Observer,
28 April 1866, page 6d.
See the Register of
7 and 16 December 1853, pages 2e and 3b respectively in respect of comments made by John Finlay Duff, former captain of the Africaine, in respect of Holdfast Bay as a port vis-a-vis Port Adelaide.
See Parliamentary Paper 120/1861 for an interesting account on the activities of Captain Duff in early colonial days;
also see Place Names - Woodforde.
Information on a bridge "over the creek at St Leonards to the peninsula opposite" is in the Register,
11 March 1857, page 2e,
14 March 1857, page 6h.
The corporation seal is described in the Register,
11 November 1856, page 2f,
18 March 1899, page 33e.
Information on a proposed rifle corps is in the Observer,
19 June 1858, page 3c,
on a rifle range on
19 July 1879, page 3d.
Rifle shooting is reported upon in the Register,
2 January 1858, page 3g.
A rifle club is discussed in the Observer,
9 July 1881, page 34c.
Information on a rifle range is in the Register,
17 August 1903, page 5e.
Also see South Australia - Defence of the Colony
A feature article entitled "How to Spend a Week at the Bay" is in the Register,
27 April 1859, page 3a.
The transmission of the first message from Adelaide on the telegraph is reported in the Advertiser,
5 September 1859, page 2f.
Also see South Australia - Communications
A kangaroo hunt is described in the Register,
11 August 1862, page 2h.
Also see South Australia - Flora and Fauna - Marsupials and Mammals
"Nuisances at the Bay" is in the Observer, 13 February 1864, page 8d:
The carcases of dead dogs are allowed to float in the shallow water or fester on the sands day after day...
15 May 1865, page 2d.
The Editor of the Register on
20 April 1866, page 2f opined, inter alia - "... the one drawback is that there is no vegetation. Not a solitary tree is to be seen near the coast." This feature also talks of a proposed tramway, the Bathing Company, etc; also see
18 and 19 January 1864, pages 2h and 2e,
16 and 18 January 1864, pages 2d and 2e,
1 August 1878, page 2c.
A proposed working man's club is discussed in the Observer,
22 April 1865, page 1d (supp.).
"Improvements at the Bay" is in the Register,
15 March 1866, page 2d.
A meeting called to discuss police protection is reported in the Register,
24 January 1868, page 3d,
26 August 1871.
Also see South Australia - Police
"Wanton Mischief" at Glenelg is discussed in the Register,
13 January 1869, page 2g - "The stupid fellows deserve exposure and some degree of punishment."
"Young Robinson Crusoe" is in the Observer,
12 August 1871, page 8b.
"Glenelg as a Mail Station" is in the Register,
6 June 1871, page 5e;
17 June 1871, page 12f,
24 February 1872, pages 11a-13b.
A sketch of the first mail being landed is in the Australasian Sketcher,
21 March 1874, page 212.
Also see essay at the end of this section.
"Mail Arrangements" is in the Express,
4 and 7 January 1875, pages 2c and 3d; also see
18 September 1876, page 3b,
8 and 15 January 1876, pages 8d and 4c,
24 June 1876, page 14b,
2 June 1877, page 11a.
Also see South Australia - Communications - Sea Mail
The proposed removal of mail steamers to Semaphore is discussed in the Chronicle,
28 July 1877, page 9c,
30 January 1886, page 26a,
13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24 and 27 August 1886, pages 5b, 7e- 6d, 7h, 7d, 7e, 6h and 4g.
The history of Glenelg as an overseas mail terminal is in the Register,
23 March 1888, page 5f.
"When Glenelg Was a Port of Call" is in The News,
15 May 1935, page 6g.
The landing of mails is commented upon in the Express,
11 August 1885, page 3d,
11, 12 and 19 August 1885, pages 6f, 4h-7g and 4h,
1, 2, and 9 February 1886 pages 3g, 6g, 4g,
25 and 28 October 1886, pages 5a-6e and 4h,
25 February 1888, page 3g,
21, 23 and 25 February 1888, pages 7e, 3g and 5a-6d,
3 and 23 March 1888, pages 4f-5h and 5f,
10 March 1888, page 7f.
The subject of "Public Stenches" was of some concern in the city and suburbs in 1871 and in respect of Glenelg a correspondent says on 22 July, page 5f in the Register:
At present there seems to be no particularly offensive smells at the bay except the creek at low tide when a north wind is blowing, and then, despite what good Dr Bayer said about "ozone" and so forth, I prefer Bagot's boiling place ten times over to the Glenelg Creek.
23 August 1871, page 3e,
26 August 1871, page 10d,
3 July 1875, page 7g,
2 and 3 March 1915, pages 6d and 6e.
Also see Adelaide - Water Supply
A torpedo experiment is described in the Register,
20 and 21 January 1873, pages 3f and 7c.
Building improvements made during 1873 are discussed in the Chronicle,
10 January 1874, page 6c.
"Conservation of Glenelg Reserves" is in the Register,
20 April 1875, page 6d,
24 April 1875, page 11a,
1 and 15 May 1875, pages 10a and 7g;
20 April 1875, page 3d.
Glenelg's Reserves - A Question of Ownership
The reserves within the township of Glenelg were supposed to have been included in the land granted to Mr Finke and it is known that, in addition, he made a further two - one occupied by St Peter's Church and the other by Government Cottage; the former was conveyed to trustees and the other dedicated for public or corporation purposes. The government, however, ?put their paws upon it and... wanted to do the same with others.?
When the government wished to put up a telegraph station, having no land for the purpose, they applied to the Mayor of Glenelg, Mr Monteith, for leave to put it on the corner of this reserve and this request was granted. It was then that it ?got in the thin edge of the wedge, which they... endeavoured to drive home, to the great detriment of the corporation...? Some time later the government was pressed to build a police station and asked permission to erect it on one end of the reserve, to which the corporation again unwisely consented, but by these actions it was reasonable to assume that the reserves were the property of the corporation.
Moreover, when the Glenelg Railway Bill was before parliament, and the company was applying for the piece of the land between the police and telegraph stations, the Attorney-General of the day insisted that there should be a clause to the effect that in the event of the government giving up that piece of land it should revert to the corporation. Later, a movement was started for the erection of the Institute, for which purpose the corporation agreed to give part of the reserve; but their solicitor, in examining the deeds, found the land grant to Mr Finke only extended to the terrace and that the land was really Crown land. However, in due course the government yielded to representations from the council.
In February 1875 the corporation, having discovered its position, presented a memorial to the government and the reply received ?was nothing less than an insult?:
Taking into the consideration the growing importance of Glenelg, both as a terminus of a railway and the shipping place of mail steamers and other vessels, it is considered undesirable to divest the government of the land at present available for government purposes... I am, however to state, that there would be no objection... to hand over the reserves in question to the corporation for conservation, fencing or planting...
In May 1875 the government excepted for itself 150 feet of the reserve fronting Victoria Place upon which were erected the telegraph, railway and police stations and which included the piece of land conveyed to the Institute committee to which the government also undertook to transfer to the Institute a further 50 feet frontage to the sea.
"Disreputable Doings at Glenelg" is in the Observer,
2 January 1875, pages 9g-13d.
A description of the gas works and information on the town's lighting appear in the Register,
17 August 1875, page 6b; also see
21 August 1875, page 10a,
13 August 1892, page 5b.
Also see Adelaide - Lighting the City and Homes
Gas and Water Supply
A newspaper report of 17 August 1875 says:
The rapidly rising seaside town of Glenelg is now in possession of another of the conveniences of modern life. It is only two or three weeks since we mentioned that the Bay was in connection with the Adelaide waterworks, and now we have to chronicle the pleasing fact that the residents are able to exchange the glimmering of candles and kerosene lamps for the more brilliant flame of gas. On Saturday night, August 14, the gas was turned on for the first time and Glenelg was brilliantly illuminated. Over the two government buildings - the Post and Telegraph Office and the Police Station - the letters ?VR? were displayed, while the words ?Pier Hotel, Glenelg? were shown in jets over the inn of that name and there were several stars in front of other public houses.
A number of ratepayers gathered on the night of 25 July 1879 to celebrate the lighting of portion of Jetty Road by eight gas lights and the initial expense was, in the main, obtained from £50 levied upon the railway company for running their trains along this thoroughfare.
As for the town's water supply, in his reminiscences David Shepard recalled that:
There was no water service to the town. The people had to depend on two men that carted water from a well that was sunk on the bank of the Sturt Creek by T.P. Jones close to the Old Gum Tree. They charged fifteen pence to fill your cask - very often people ran out of water and had to borrow from neighbours and send an urgent message to the water cart man. They were always easily found, for when they were not carting water they were at the Berkshire Hotel. They were noted boozers.
31 March 1876, page 7a,
21 April 1876, page 5d,
22 April 1876, page 3f;
it is discussed in the Register,
17 October 1891, page 5a,
6 August 1892, page 5b,
12 March 1894, page 5b,
31 January 1903, page 3i and
2 February 1903, page 4c.
Also see Adelaide - Fires and the Fire Brigade
The Fire Brigade
On 30 March 1876 about 30 gentlemen met at the Pier Hotel to consider the advisability of forming a fire brigade, when Mr J. Lee, one of the originators of the proposal, referred to a recent fire at Thomas Elder's model farm. Information received suggested that the probable cost of a brigade comprising two reels with 500 feet of hose would be £220. On 20 April 1876 a deputation representing the newly-formed volunter fire association waited upon Sir Henry Ayers and asked him to accept the position of Patron to which he agreed.
In 1891 it was decided that the brigade be brought under the control of the Central Board in accordance with the Fire Brigades Act of 1890 and, following that move, sleeping accommodation was provided for two firemen, namely, E. Broomhead, who for some years was connected with the Geelong Fire Brigade, and Clarke Thompson, a well known member od the local yacht club. The station was centrally located on the premises of Mr J.S. Liddle, blacksmith, near Miller's Corner, and he was also foreman of the brigade:
The firemen can now be controlled by two fire alarms, one at Bell's corner, opposite the Jetty Hotel and the other at the corner of Liverpool Terrace and Shannon Street, near Justice Boucaut's residence.
Glenelg at one time had to rely upon the services of a handreel to combat the fire fiend and it has been said that the old brigade was a replica of the famous Darktown reel, but of course that was a libel. The unfortunate man who had to drag the cart put up some records on the roads, but upon reaching a fire he was generally so exhausted that he was forced to beg a few minutes in which to recover his breath.
This aristocratic place boasts of two wheels, some 6 or seven feet in diameter, with a line of hose. On the occasion of our visit an alarm was given and in about half a minute the stalwart form of a fireman, fully dressed, made its appearance, dragging after it some seconds later an alleged fire reel. The party had compassion on the poor fellow and did not ask him to drag the cumbersome machine far. He simply had to go to the nearest fireplug and throw up a stream of water. All this occupied but 2 mins. 24 sec. but had the man to run with the reel half a mile or so he would be utterly unfit for his work. . There is plenty of room for a horsereel and although the expense might be considerably more the Glenelg authorities might well try to meet this, and thus provide the town with proper precautions against fire. As at present constituted a couple of buckets of water in every house would probably be as efficient as the ?Glenelg firereel.?
Accounts of local flooding are in the Register,
28 and 29 June 1875, pages 5d and 6c,
28 March 1877, page 5e,
26 May 1877, page 5e,
29 September 1877, page 20d,
12 July 1879, page 14a,
25 June 1883, page 6d,
18 April 1889, page 6b,
"Glenelg and Floods" on
11 November 1924, page 10f.
Also see South Australia - Natural Disasters - Floods
"The Overflow of the Sturt" is in the Register,
3 September 1875, page 5d.
Also see Sturt River
A poem titled "Men and Manners at Glenelg" is in the Register,
15 February 1876, page 5f.
"The Liedertafel at Glenelg" is in the Register,
15 March 1876, page 5a.
"Glenelg on New Year's Day" is in the Register,
3 January 1877, page 5b.
A boating accident is reported in the Observer,
21 April 1877, page 4c.
Information on a proposed volunteer force is in the Register,
21 and 26 May 1877, pages 6b and 6e,
31 October 1877, page 1g (supp.),
8 December 1877, page 5c; also see
5 July 1881, page 5a.
Also see South Australia - Defence of the Colony
"Mysterious Death at Glenelg" is in the Observer,
16 and 23 June 1877, pages 6g and 20a.
A tradesmen's dinner is reported in the Register,
26 October 1877, page 6b.
A gale and an accident are discussed in the Observer,
3 November 1877, page 6b.
"The New Fountain" is in the Register,
23 October 1877, page 5g.
A sketch of a fountain presented by William Townsend is in the SA Figaro,
3 November 1877 (supplement).
The Townsend Fountain at Glenelg
The fountain, a replica of the Formby Fountain at Port Adelaide was opened by the Mayor on 20 October 1877 who said it had been placed in its position at the centre of the reserve running parallel with the northern seawall because thousands of people passed that way on the way to the baths and the ?thanks of little children who slaked their thirst on that spot would ascend to Him who had said ?Whoever giveth a cup of cold water in My name shall not lose his reward?.? Further, Mr Townsend was commended for his many public and private acts of charity which were all well known within the community. In an address to the assembled citizens Mrs Townsend said that:
When I first knew Glenelg the two best buildings were the St Leonards Inn and the church. There were few if any gentlemen's residences then; now there are many handsome houses, many places of worship, fine hotels, a noble pier, good bathing houses and above all the splendid Institute... I can remember the time when there was not an Institute in Adelaide and no doubt some present will bear me witness that 24 years ago the best building in Adelaide was the Post Office, now the Police Station.
I now declare the fountain open to the Mayor, burgesses and the public generally, and as we learn from the best authority that cold water is to the thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country, so often while people are drinking the water here they will see the mail coming in bringing news from the far countries.
Chaste in design it must be fairly considered an ornament to the town. It cannot fail to be a boon to all during summer months, for red hot water will be dispensed gratis, or it will at least be procurable at a temperature of 160. This comforting beverage is produced by confinement in the pipe between earth and tap, under the influence of the blazing sun. The heating process will commence about 4 o?clock in the morning, thus by noon it must be delightful. To be serious however - alter it by making a running stream instead of subjecting it as at present to a motion of the thumb upon a spring underneath the tap.
15 November 1877, page 2c.
A complaint about "The Dead House" [morgue] is in the Register,
4 March 1878, page 3g.
A public meeting in respect of public health and other matters is reported in the Register,
11 June 1878, page 6c.
"Glenelg by Moonlight" is in the Advertiser,
10 January 1879, page 5e.
"Storm at Glenelg" is in the Chronicle,
3 May 1879, page 9a.
"The Storm in the Gulf" is in the Register,
23 January 1884, page 7a.
Photographs of the aftermath of a storm are in the Chronicle,
9 January 1904, page 42,
22 May 1915,
22 May 1915, page 27,
20 October 1923, page 27,
13 October 1928, page 35.
"The Drainage of Glenelg" is in the Register,
23 and 24 June 1879, pages 4c and 6a.
Information on deep drainage is in the Register,
23 February 1900, page 7i,
11 and 21 July 1903, pages 7c and 4g,
9 and 14 April 1904, pages 11d and 4f,
11 and 15 June 1904, pages 6f and 6f,
31 October 1904, page 4e,
9 April 1904, page 8g and the sewage works in the Register,
11 March 1905, page 9d.
The lighting of Jetty Road is discussed in the Register,
26 July 1879, page 5b.
An amusing and informative letter headed "Who Would Not Want to Live at Glenelg" is in the Register,
29 September 1879, page 7b.
"Diphtheria at Glenelg" is in the Register,
20 October 1879, page 6e.
Also see South Australia - Health - Diptheria
"Holdfast Bay in the Olden Times" is the subject of comment in the Register,
23 March 1880 (supp.), page 1g.
Information on promenade concerts is in the Express,
12 February 1881, page 2b,
on a literary society on
7 and 20 April 1883, pages 2e and 3d.
A fire at the gasworks is reported in the Register,
26 and 28 April 1882, pages 5b and 7b,
29 April 1882, page 28e.
The arrival of HMS Nelson is reported in the Observer,
2 December 1882, page 32a.
"Fatal Accident - Killed by a Rocket" is in the Register,
4 January 1884, page 5a-b.
An annual inspection of the town is reported in the Register,
5 March 1884, page 7b,
20 February 1886, page 7b.
"The Sanitary State of Glenelg" is in the Register,
30 April 1884, page 7d,
1 and 10 May 1884, pages 7f and 5c,
24 January 1885, page 4h.
"Glenelg's Sanitary Problems" is in the Observer,
15 February 1908, page 46a.
"Municipal Elections" is in the Register,
19 and 21 November 1884, pages 6e and 6e.
"Local Option at Glenelg" is in the Express,
21 February 1885, page 4a.
Also see South Australia - Social Matters - Temperance and Allied Matters - Local Options
Public meetings called to discuss local defence needs are reported in the Register,
2 and 18 April 1885, pages 6d and 7a; also see
27 April 1885, page 4h-6h,
6 May 1885, page 5g,
2 and 18 April 1885, pages 7a and 7b.
"The Defence of Glenelg" is in the Express,
18 April 1885, page 3e;
a military camp is described on
9 and 11 May 1885, pages 3d and 3d.
Also see South Australia - Defence of the Colony.
The proposed fort near Glenelg is discussed in the Register,
29 May 1885, page 5b,
30 May 1885, page 30d,
21 April 1888, page 30e,
18 May 1889, page 29b,
16 and 20 August 1888, pages 4e and 7h,
3 October 1888, page 7g,
28 June 1888, page 4c,
3 July 1888, page 2c,
3 October 1888, page 6e,
25 May 1889, pages 5b-6f.
See essay at end of this section.
A Field Naturalists excursion is reported in the Register,
4 August 1884, page 7b,
30 May 1885, page 36a.
"The Sandbag Battery at Glenelg" is in the Register,
26 June 1885, page 5b.
A meeting called with a view to forming a brass band is reported in the Register,
12 November 1885, page 5d,
23 November 1894, page 7e,
6 September 1921, page 6d.
A photograph of the Holdfast Bay Model Band is in the Observer,
24 July 1926, page 34.
The opening of a bandstand is reported in the Register,
17 May 1926, page 12g.
A photograph is in the Chronicle,
29 May 1926, page 39.
The first brass band formed at Glenelg followed a meeting held at the Berkshire Hotel, St Leonards on 10 November 1885 when about 40 persons attended. From this number Bandmaster Hoddy chose 22 to form the Glenelg Brass Band. Mr Bickford was elected as secretary and ?Host? Keeler chairman and treasurer.
It is apparent that this band had but a short life for in 1893 ?a dozen residents of Glenelg undertook the formation of a brass band? to which the corporation offered assistance by ?lending them a few of the instruments which belonged to a former band.? At a meeting of the Holdfast Bay Model Band in 1894 the suggestion was made that the band should be under the control of the corporation, but this was not to eventuate until 1920.
In 1920 the Storrie Memorial Bandstand was removed from in front of the Town Hall and re-erected on Colley Reserve which was considered to be ?a more suitable spot away from the noise of the train.? At the same time the band came under the control of the corporation and renamed ?Glenelg Municipal Band? and, to this end, it and the Adelaide Vice-Regal Band amalgamated and its 35 members, conducted by Mr Summerton, gave its first performance on 11 January 1920.
In 1921 an appeal was made for funds to enable the band to compete in an Australasian A-Grade band competition at Ballarat, Victoria; in 1920 it had won the B grade championship The band's musical director at this time was Mr W.H. May and its secretary, Mr F.G. Brown. In 1926 the corporation erected a bandstand on Colley Reserve and it was opened by the Mayor, Mr H.S Rugless, on 16 May 1926.
A holiday at Glenelg is described in the Observer,
2 January 1886, page 26d.
"Glenelg Fishermen and the Customs Act" is in the Observer,
20 February 1886, page 38a.
Also see South Australia- Sport - Fishing.
"Sunday at Glenelg" is in the Register,
18 and 19 January 1887, pages 6c and 6d.
Jubilee celebrations are reported in the Register,
8 December 1886, page 7c,
29 December 1886, page 5d.
The inaugural meeting of the local branch of the St John's Ambulance Association is reported in the Register,
29 July 1887, page 5d.
"A Suburban Corporation in Difficulties" is in the Register,
11 February 1888, page 5b-c.
A corporation jubilee is reported upon in the Register,
11 December 1905, page 6e.
Also see South Australia - Miscellany - Local Government
The unloading of guns from the Star of Greece and information on the proposed fort are reported upon in the Register,
27 and 28 June 1888, pages 5c and 5a,
7 and 10 July 1888, pages 4g and 4h,
16 and 20 August 1888, pages 4e and 7h; also see
3 October 1888, page 7g,
18 and 21 May 1889, pages 6c and 7b,
20 and 28 August 1889, pages 5a and 4h,
31 July 1894, page 4h - this report announces the sale of the guns "which had been laying in the sand at Glenelg since 1888",
26 September 1894, page 5a; also see
21 May 1889, page 4c,
14 August 1889, page 4c,
18 September 1889, page 6c.
A history of its loss is in Geoffrey H. Manning, The Tragic Shore.
An amusing and entertaining letter from W.R. Wigley in respect of early Glenelg history and "Government House" is in the Register,
8 October 1886, page 7f; also see
14 October 1886, page 3f,
2 October 1888, page 3e,
21 May 1889, page 6f.
Information on and an objection to Sunday concerts is expressed in the Register, 17 January 1889, page 7e:
Our Sunday Schools will be deserted and thousands of people will flock to the seaside [and] clever musicians will introduce Continental observance of the Sabbath of which, alas! our rising generation are already showing too much coldness...
(Also see Register, 18 January 1889, page 3f)
A person can be religious at home or in the bush equally as well. I with many others think the correct way to do it is to act honourably. Do what is right, love our neighbours as ourself and inwardly as well as outwardly worship God... What does [he] think of the Salvation Army that are allowed to parade our streets and send forth most discordant sounds to the annoyance of many? Is that religion?
"Christmas Cheer at Glenelg" is in the Register,
3 January 1891, page 5a.
Also see South Australia - Christmas in South Australia.
A poem titled "To Glenelg" is in the Observer,
13 June 1891, page 44b.
The Vosz Homes are described in the Register,
10 August 1891, page 7d.
Also see Adelaide - Housing, Architecture and Ancillary Matters - Cottage Homes
Early closing is discussed in the Register,
4 and 11 May 1892, pages 5b and 5c.
The opening of a Children's Convalescent Hospital is reported in the Register,
28 May 1894, page 3h.
Information on the location of the guns of the Buffalo at Glenelg is in the Register,
31 December 1894, page 7a.
Information on and a sketch of Adam Lindsay Gordon's home is in the Express,
16 February 1895, page 3e.
Also see Place Names - Dingley Dell.
"A Ghost at Glenelg" is in the Advertiser,
17 June 1895, page 4h.
Also see South Australia - Miscellany - Ghosts
"The Glenelg Sandhills" is in the Register,
16 May 1892, page 5c,
21 May 1892, page 30b.
The planting of marram grass is reported in the Register,
17 August 1895, page 5b.
An essay on marram grass is to be found under Adelaide - Beaches & Bathing
A humorous account of a police chase through the sandhills and elsewhere after a band of "two-up" players is in the Register,
28 November 1898, page 5a.
A complaint about this illegal pastime appears on
7 October 1911, page 17d;
A raid on a two-up school in the sandhills is reported in the Register,
28 October 1919, page 6c,
25 November 1919, page 5d.
Also see South Australia - Social Matters - Gambling.
A report on Mark Twain at Glenelg is in the Observer,
4 January 1896, page 44b.
"The Attractions of Glenelg" is in the Register,
8 February 1896, page 5b.
"A Gale on the Coast" is in the Register,
11 April 1896, page 5g.
Information on local shops is in the Register,
7 July 1896, page 6e.
"Cyclists in Trouble" is in the Register,
11 August 1897, page 4g.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Cycling
A "Native Corroboree" on Colley Reserve is reported in the Register,
29 January 1898, page 5b,
31 January 1898, page 6e.
Information on an Aborigines' camp on the banks of the Patawalonga and their ultimate fate is in the Register,
26 August 1899, page 5a,
2 September 1899, page 51b.
A photograph of Colley Reserve is in the Chronicle,
4 January 1896, page 5b,
Chronicle 29 May 1926, page 39.
Also see South Australia - Aboriginal Australians
The sea frontage at Glenelg extending northward from the jetty was named ?Colley's Reserve? in 1876 in honour of R.B. Colley, the first Mayor, and at that time it was levelled and planted with couch grass, the expense being mainly borne by the owners of land in Victoria and Althorpe Places. In this regard the Hon. Thomas Elder contributed fifty pounds.
By 1911 this fine recreation reserve ground was useless, owing to some absurd by-law formulated by a previous council, while the object for which it was devoted was defeated. The local football team had to play at Plympton and the lacrosse club played two teams upon the one area - the Glenelg Oval - each Saturday. To the council of the day thanks were due for attempting to put Wigley Reserve in a fit playing condition, but it was suggested that it ?[would] be many years before that [was] a success.? The Glenelg gymnasium adjoined the reserve and the paucity of support obtained by this excellent institution was mainly owing to the suppression of all manly games on Colley Reserve. Senior cricket was the only sport that could have involved the slightest danger to passersby.
On 19 November 1920 a ceremony took place on Colley Reserve when Brigadier-General Leane unveiled a captured German gun which had been presented by the War Museum to the 5th (Glenelg) Battalion of the 27th Regiment Infantry Forces.
In January 1936, on the green turf of Colley Reserve, old-time runners gathered to watch modern athletes dash over the sprint distance that would have been considered phenomenal in their day. In the 1880s several of them were competitors in the Bay Sheffield, run on the same spot, but under different conditions, for the track was pegged out on sandhill country and Aborigines were among the competitors. One of the veterans who saw this race was Mr A. (Andy) Wight. He was ?run out? in his first Sheffield and two years later made another attempt when the race was won by George Webb who, in 1936, was a trainer with the Norwood Football Club. Among his contemporaries was S. Allister who trained for long distance events by running alongside the Hill & Company's mail coach from Two Wells to Adelaide.
Biographical details of a police Sergeant Allchurch are in the Observer,
29 October 1898, page 15d.
An open-air cinematograph is reported upon in the Register,
14 February 1898, page 4i.
"The Beach Theatre" is in the Register,
30 November 1910, page 9a,
"Pictureland at Glenelg" is in the Register,
11 and 18 February 1911, pages 11e and 15c.
"Glenelg's New Theatre" on
3 September 1917, page 9d; also see
8 July 1927, page 10g.
"Unique Theatre for Glenelg" is in the Advertiser,
28 October 1937, page 12e.
Also see South Australia - Entertainment and the Arts - Moving Pictures and Television
Details of a Mayoral chair made from timber from the wreck of HMS Buffalo are in the Observer,
4 March 1899, page 15e,
24 October 1899, page 4h and
4 November 1899, page 4h,
29 December 1900, page 4b.
The opening of a telephone exchange is reported in the Express,
2 October 1901, page 2f.
Register 23 September 1925, page 11g,
21 October 1925, page 10i.
"The Telephone - Glenelg's Now Automatic" is in the Register,
12 December 1927, page 9c,
"Growth of Glenelg" on
26 and 27 December 1927, pages 4 and 12.
Also see South Australia - Communications - Telephones
The formal opening of the Glenelg Telephone Exchange took place on 1 October 1901 and the Mayor, Mr A.J. Roberts, spoke the first message and after several other guests had spoken an adjournment was made to the Mayor's parlour where 'success to the new exchange?' was proposed by the Mayor and responded to by Sir Charles Todd. It was
converted to an automatic system at midnight on Saturday, 10 December 1927.
Information on and photographs of F. Turner's shop are in The Critic,
14 September 1901, page 33.
Biographical details of a Mayor, A.J. Roberts are in the Register,
30 December 1901, page 4h,
of E. Broomhead on 8 December 1913, page 8h.
A find of Aboriginal skulls in the sandhills is reported in the Register,
7 November 1902, page 4g,
26 February 1915, page 4g.
Information on deep drainage is in the Advertiser,
9 April 1904, page 8g and
the sewage works in the Register,
11 March 1905, page 9e.
Information on and photographs of a fancy dress ball are in the Observer,
13 August 1904, page 24, (Also see South Australia - Social Matters - Dancing and Other Sine)
of council members on
7 January 1905, page 24.
Information on "Seafield Tower" is in the Register,
29 November 1904, page 4g.
"Tragedy at Glenelg - A Woman Shot" is in the Chronicle,
25 November 1905, page 39a,
"Tragedy at Glenelg" on
5 February 1910, page 41a.
"A Popular Resort - Glenelg's Sanitary Problems" is in the Register,
12 February 1908, page 7a.
15 February 1908, page 46a.
"Buried Alive" is in the Register,
28 December 1906, page 4g.
"Electric Lighting for Glenelg" is in the Register,
12 October 1907, page 5f,
2 November 1909, page 4g.
"Lighting the Glenelg Beach" is in the Register,
20 and 21 February 1914, pages 6f and 7f.
Also see Adelaide - Lighting the City and Homes
In a letter dated 4 October 1907 the Adelaide Electric Supply Co. Ltd. informed the Glenelg corporation of certain information in respect of the supply of electricity to the town:
At our interview yesterday we explained to you in detail the reasons which have hitherto prevented our making a start with an electric supply to Glenelg as soon as we intended... The chief reason was the magnitude of the work we have undertaken in initiating an electric supply scheme in Adelaide and its suburbs... and one which it has taken the gas undertaking about 50 years to cover... We will shortly be in a position to quote for public lighting in Glenelg...
From time to time complaints are received of rude behaviour on the part of certain of the larrikin element... At night too, those who enter the water frequently experience considerable difficulty in finding their clothes... A large number of people, too, have a dislike to having a dip at night on account of the eerie feeling engendered by coming in contact with the waves in the dark. This objection will at once fade under the influence of half a dozen good lamps... As the corporation employs an official during the summer months to parade in order to see that decorum is maintained, the control of lights may well be left in his hands... The scheme should have the support of every advocate of decent behaviour, since any bather acting indecorously could at once be 'spotted? and made an example of.
"Murder at Glenelg" is in the Chronicle,
4 April 1908, page 41,
"A Seaside Sensation - Man Shot at Glenelg" in the Express,
25 January 1910, page 4f.
"Shooting on the Sandhills" is in the Register,
25, 26 and 29 January 1910, pages 5a, 7c and 13d.
A proposed fish market is discussed in the Register,
26 September 1908, page 8h.
Also see Adelaide - Markets - Fish Market
A meeting of the local branch of the District Trained Nurse Services Association is in the Express,
10 August 1909, page 1h.
Also see South Australia - Women - Nursing and Female Doctors
"Shopkeeper Garotted" is in the Observer,
25 December 1909, page 42a.
"Sea Serpents at Glenelg" is in the Advertiser,
20 January 1910, page 8f.
The town's 50th birthday celebration is reported in the Register,
23 August 1910, page 6b.
"The Story of Glenelg" appears on
29 July 1911, page 8.
"Crackers and Constables - Glenelg's Annual Riot" is in the Register,
7 November 1910, page 4g.
"Glenelg's Merry-Go-Round" is in the Register,
29 November 1910, page 5d.
"Colley's Reserve" is in the Register,
25 April 1911, page 5g.
"Glenelg's Life-Saving Crew" is in the Register,
13 November 1911, page 6g. (Also see South Australia - Maritime Affairs)
A photograph of a lifesaving competition is in the Chronicle,
20 December 1934, page 31,
of a sandcastle competition on
24 January 1935, page 32.
"Auction of Beach Sites" is in the Register,
16 November 1911, page 12g.
The opening of a new post office is reported in the Express,
30 April 1912, page 1d.
"A Glenelg Mystery" is in the Register,
24 June 1913, pages 4e-6f.
"Boat Harbour Coming" is in the Observer,
9 August 1913, page 52d.
"Trading on the Beach - Heavy Fines Imposed" is in the Express,
30 January 1914, page 3e.
30 January 1914, page 6h.
"Eviction of Mrs Dally" is in the Register,
29 December 1914, page 4e.
Photographs of a visit by the Royal Australian Navy are in the Observer,
21 February 1914, pages 30-31,
of the town on
6, 13 and 27 March 1915, pages 26-27, 28 and 29.
Also see South Australia - Maritime Affairs
The first meeting of the Glenelg Patriotic Committee is reported in the Register,
31 August 1914, page 11f.
A patriotic carnival is described in the Register,
1 and 4 March 1915, pages 8e and 6d,
12 February 1917, page 6d;
photographs are in the Chronicle,
17 February 1917, page 28.
Proposed improvements to the town are traversed in the Register,
19 October 1914, page 6g.
"Glenelg Foreshore Scheme" is in the Observer,
2 January 1915, page 35b.
"German Aeroplanes at Glenelg - The Mystery Solved" is in the Advertiser,
24 February 1915, page 8e.
A proposed abbatoir is discussed in the Express,
31 October 1913, page 2g;
its opening is reported in the Advertiser,
25 August 1915, page 12b.
Also see Adelaide - Public Health - Slaughterhouses and Abattoirs
"Carnival for Soldiers " is in the Register,
19 October 1915, page 4e.
Biographical details of E.J. Wheeler are in the Register,
22 March 1916, page 6g,
of W.W. Winwood on 2 and 3 March 1917, pages 7b and 11c, 30 July 1917, page 4g (obit.),
of Joseph Morris on 9 May 1918, page 4g, 8 May 1920, page 9c,
of J.W. Hillman on 17 May 1918, page 4f.
The diamond wedding of Mr & Mrs W.W. Winwood is reported in the Observer, ,
6 January 1917,page 30c.
The golden wedding of Mr & Mrs William Burford is reported in the Register,
10 November 1917, page 6g,
of Mr & Mrs J. White on 5 August 1919, page 4h.
Biographical details of a Mayor, John Mack, are in the Register,
19 November 1917, page 4f,
of S.M. Pudney on 11 November 1919, page 7b,
of Frank A. Lewis, town clerk, on 27 September 1923, page 6g.
"Victor Mansions - Memorial Flats for Glenelg" is in The Mail,
7 June 1919, page 10e,
4 December 1919, page 5c.
Photographs of a carnival are in the The Critic,
9 February 1916, page 16,
1 and 15 March 1919, pages 24 and 25,
of the opening of the RSL building on
29 November 1924, page 32.
"Unfit Habitations" is in the Register,
17 September 1919, page 4e.
"Band Music at Glenelg" is in the Register,
12 January 1920, page 9d.
A proposed soldiers' memorial is discussed in the Register,
13 February 1920, page 8g,
12 November 1920, page 6g,
5 and 8 October 1921, pages 6g and 6g.
"A Unique Memorial" appears on
3 December 1920, page 6g,
20 May 1921, page 8a,
20 June 1921, page 6h,
14 October 1922, page 12b.
A cooking competition to raise funds for the memorial is reported in the Register,
7 February 1922, page 6d and
a fair on
29 January 1923, page 7h; also see
8 October 1923, page 10f,
24 November 1924, page 13b.
Also see South Australia - World War I - Memorials to the Fallen
Glenelg Soldiers? Memorial Hall
Glenelg residents were proud of the fact that the district sent about 1,000 men to the front during the Great War of 1914-1918 and how to adequately commemorate the services of those soldiers exercised the minds of the municipal authorities. In February 1920, when the Town Hall had become totally inadequate for the requirements of Glenelg, it was decided to enlarge it. However, at a public meeting held on 18 May 1921 the Mayor, Mr Frank Smith, advised the audience that the proposal had been delayed because the corporation had been unable to obtain a piece of land to the east of, and adjoining the Town Hall and, accordingly, the whole proposition needed to be reconsidered.
By June 1921 it had been decided that a memorial building would be erected on land at the rear of the Town Hall and abutting Colley reserve and the Mayor was pleased to advise that ?already applications have been received fro the leasing of the new hall and a large kiosk which was to be erected on the ground floor.?
In February 1922 a fund raising event in the form of a cooking competition was held when members of the ladies? committee approached the proprietors of Anchor Self-raising Flour. G. Wood, Son & Co. Ltd who kindly donated £25 in prizes. By this and other means £3,000 were raised, culminating in a Chinese Fair in Moseley Square in January 1923. On 7 October a memorial tablet was unveiled by the Governor-General, Lord Forster, in the presence of a large number of citizens and on 22 November 1924 it was opened by Mrs G. Heithersay, ?a lady who sent more sons to the front than any other lady in the district.?
Information on and a photograph of Glenelg's war trophy are in the Observer,
26 November 1921, page 26.
"Flying at Glenelg" is in the Register,
1 March 1920, page 6g.
Also see South Australia - Transport - Aeroplanes
The opening of a new Palais Royal is discussed in the Register,
28 December 1920, page 5g; also see
7 and 21 January 1921, pages 6b and 6h,
24 January 1922, page 9c.
"A Peeping Tom Caught" is in the Register,
29 January 1921, page 7c,
5 February 1921, page 29e.
"Survey of Bay Road" is in the Register,
2 and 6 December 1921, pages 9e and 4g,
Also see Anzac Highway
Information on and a photograph of Glenelg's war trophy are in the Observer,
26 November 1921, page 26.
A photograph of the Tennant family home, "Essenside" is in the Register,
8 December 1921, page 4c.
"A Drowning Mystery - The Case of Mrs Williams" is in the Register,
1 March 1922, page 7b.
Biographical details of Hugh P. McLachlan are in The Critic,
15 March 1922, page 5,
of Michael JO?Grady on 11 October 1922, page 5.
"New Hotel for Glenelg" is in the Register,
2 November 1925, page 9d,
"Jetty Hotel" on
2 November 1925, page 9d.
"Progress of Glenelg" on
1 January 1926, page 8a.
"Chocolate Town - Glenelg's New Craze" is in The Mail,
27 January 1923, page 2f.
Photographs of a Chinese Fair are in the Observer,
3 February 1923, page 29.
Biographical details of Mrs Arthur Langsford are in the Register,
22 December 1924, page 8f,
of Alexander D. Sawers on 6 October 1925, page 9g,
of E.J. Wheeler on 2 January 1926, page 10f,
of H.D. Gell on 18 April 1927, page 6f,
of William A. Campbell on 11 June 1927, page 11b,
of Mrs Ann Rendell on 21 February 1928, page 11e,
of Hubert H. Sando on 7 September 1928, page 10g,
of P.W. Francis on 25 November 1929, page 6e.
The opening of the Maison de Danse is reported in the Register,
23 December 1924, page 13e; also see
21 July 1928, page 16f.
"Premier Seaside Resort" is in The News,
25 March 1925, page 8c.
"Games at Glenelg - New Ways to Pleasure" is in The Mail,
27 November 1926, page 1b.
"Progress of Glenelg" is in the Register,
1 January 1926, page 8a.
"Growth of Glenelg" is in the Register,
26 and 27 December 1927, pages 4 and 12.
An 1875 sketch of Moseley Square is in the Chronicle,
31 December 1927, page 48.
A proposal to remove seafront shacks is in The Mail,
2 June 1928, page 10g.
A "Glenelg to Adelaide Run" is reported in the Advertiser,
16 July 1928, page 14a.
Information on the Optimists' Society is in The News,
15 and 22 May 1928, pages 13c and 11g,
10 and 12 July 1928, pages 13c and 7b,
20 and 21 July 1928, pages 11c and 14-17.
A photograph is in the Register,
7 June 1928, page 15,
28 July 1928, page 52.
The golden wedding of Mr & Mrs A.H. Le Messurier is reported in the Register,
5 July 1928, page 11c,
of Mr & Mrs S.J. Jacobs in theObserver,
8 December 1928, page 57a.
The Glenelg Boy Scout Group is reported upon in The Mail,
23 February 1929, page 30c.
The 3rd Glenelg Troop of Boy Scouts celebrated its fifth birthday in February 1929 in St Peter's Parish Hall. Mr Ernest Lake was scoutmaster with assistance from Mr C.B Eyres. The troop was started in 1924 by Mr T. Webb and was followed by Mr Eyres who relinquished the position when he went to Queensland. In 1929 the membership was 24, divided into three patrols, while a strong committee of parents supported it with raising funds to construct a Scout hall on land owned at Edison Street, St Leonards and until this was erected meetings were held in a disused church hall in Edison Street.
The Anzac Hostel
"The Anzac Hostel" is in the Register,
7 June 1920, page 8g,
12 June 1920, page 13a.
A photograph of the Anzac Hostel is in the Observer,
9 July 1921, page 26,
20 November 1923, page 29.
"Anzac Hostel to Close" is in the Advertiser,
12 June 1929, page 8h.
In 1920 Glenelg was proud of the fact that it had been selected as the site in South Australia for an ?Anzac Hostel? The house selected for the purpose fronted The Mall with Bate Street on the south side and Margate Street at the rear. It was formerly the residence of Mr Jury who ?parted with it for a moderate sum as an earnest appreciation of the men who had placed their all at the service of their country. He had already given a son to that country and his name should be perpetuated as one of the patriots of South Australia.? Matron O?Donnell, author of ?Letters of an Australian Army Sister?, was put in charge and had as assistants, Nurses Stacey, Perrin, Magarey, Jackson and Dorsch.
The Anzac Hostel provided special accommodation for men suffering from the effects of war service who did not require hospital treatment. About 20 men were kept there for some time, but, owing to deaths and other causes, that number was reduced to six for which a staff of eight was required. It closed as from 31 July 1929.
The planting of tamarisk trees on the beach is discussed in The News,
28 September 1934, page 4e.
A photograph of a lifesaving competition is in the Chronicle,
20 December 1934, page 31,
of a sandcastle competition on
24 January 1935, page 32.
Information on the Bristol Court flats is in The Mail,
5 December 1936, page 36,
on McDonald Court on
6 March 1937, page 26e,
on Beacon Lodge on
3 July 1937, page 30c.
The opening of the Ozone Theatre is reported in The Mail,
6 November 1937, page 7c,
5 November 1937, pages 7-10.
Mr W.H. Gray and the Glenelg Fort
(Taken from an unpublished manuscript by Geoffrey H. Manning, The Russians are Coming)
The subject of forts along the coast of St Vincent Gulf was first mooted in 1858 when a newspaper editor suggested that ?at present all we require at present is the formation of small forts at certain defensible points of our coastline, which points we presume to be the two horns of the Bay at Glenelg.? It was not until 2 October 1880 that Fort Glanville was opened while on 19 April 1884 the guns at Fort Largs were first fired:
Both were travesties of forts, for their designers, relying implicitly, apparently, on a problematical enemy playing fairly and attacking only from the front, had left the back unguarded so that the gunners on barbette were exposed to fire from the dunes. Largs, certainly, had a picket fence and Glanville, a caustic
suggested, should be safeguarded by a notice - ?This fort must not be attacked the rear.?
A proposed fort at Glenelg was talked about for more than twice the length of time required to build it and to bring it into action. In the first place, a conflict of military opinion arose as to the wisdom of having any fort at all at Glenelg. Both General Owen and Captain Walcot agreed that without such a protection an enemy's ship could easily shell Adelaide from below Henley Beach. Although the latter suggested that the bombardment would not last long, and possibly be resorted to extort an indemnity, it was clear that the national disgrace would be as great in this case as if the enemy's guns were to decimate the population of the city.
Sir William Jervois, who was specially consulted on the matter, also declared in effect that the fort was necessary. Though General Downes had written against it, the ground he really took was that more effective substitutes could be found for it - substitutes which would have proved more costly in the end. To all this procrastination an editor of the morning press elected to castigate the Premier:
If the foe be considerate enough to postpone a hostile
visit for a few years it is possible he will find
the Glenelg fort ready to give him a fitting reception,
but there is no assurance of this. The airy persiflage
indulged in by the Premier last year in response
to the appeals of those in favour of immediate action
betokened the incapacity of the Hon. Gentleman to
appreciate the seriousness of the question. " What's
the good of a fort?", he in substance asked. ?If
we put expensive guns there today new inventions
in longer-range weapons will probably render them
comparatively useless in a year or two, for the enemy
will be able to lie out of reach and shell the city
If this sort of reasoning were to prevail people would never start gasworks, because presently electric light might supersede gas illumination, and pioneers in a new country would never have teams upon their roads for fear of the ultimate incursion of railways compelling them to sell their horses.
Glenelg people flocked on to the jetty to await the arrival of the mystery vessels and, after the excitement had spread to Adelaide, trainloads of people sped down to watch. Many were the telescopes directed at the little fleet of three vessels when they appeared above the horizon, and even more considerable the surprise when it was seen that they were men-of-war, and foreign at that. There was nothing to be done but to await their arrival; but it was just a friendly call and the commander, noticing the suspicion of the colonists, feigned ignorance of the English language so that he would not say anything out of place.
In his reminiscences Major-General Downes recalled that:
The Australian is very apt to be hysterical in times of excitement and the newspapers were full of all sorts of crazy letters of advice to the government, as to what preparations should be made to resist a Russian attack; one, I remember, was that the road from Glenelg should have pipes laid underneath the surface [and be] filled with dynamite in order to blow up the Russian troops...
Following this ?Russian scare? a sandbag battery was formed on the northern side of Patawalonga Creek but, late in June 1885, due to the pending construction of the fort, it was demolished and the two 24-pounder guns, relics of 1852, removed to Adelaide and it was heavy work getting the howitzers across the sandhills They were taken to their old quarters in the city where they had been previously for 14 years before the war scare brought them into temporary prominence.
Steps were taken on 25 April 1885 for the defence of Holdfast Bay, but it was agreed by Glenelg's inhabitants they would require a great deal more before they were satisfied. They were hardly likely to be satisfied with a couple of sandbag batteries armed with ancient 24-pounder howitzers. However, those guns if properly manned and served could have been made useful, especially if a local battery of artillery were raised and provided with plenty of practice.
The ill-fated Star of Greece, a fine-looking full-rigged ship, had the honour of landing the first of the ?big guns? for the fort at Glenelg at Port Adelaide in June 1888; the Guy Mannering, which arrived on 25 June 1888, brought the second gun, together with a large quantity of fittings and military stores. It was proposed to mount these guns in the centre of the Glenelg fort and to have two smaller guns of six tons on either side. The task of lowering a gun into barges for Glenelg was completed without mishap on 25 June and during the night it was towed away by the tug Ariel, while the SA Stevedoring Company contracted to deliver it on the beach opposite the fort site at high-water mark. The military road could not be used because the bridges en route would not have supported the load.
Major Gordon, with about thirty of his men and five trollies containing stores, provisions, etc., left Fort Glanville during the evening, arriving the next morning at 6 am. It was then discovered that the Ariel had overshot the mark, but a skyrocket and a few blue lights soon brought her into proper position. The barge was then run aground and, as the tide was ebbing, Captain Legoe of the SA Stevedoring Company decided to postpone further operations until high water. The permanent forces soon made themselves at home and preparations for a good substantial breakfast were proceeded with.
At high water, all arrangements being completed, the men gave one heave and the huge gun case slid down the slippery road prepared for it and settled down amidst unsuppressed cheers. The men worked throughout the night in order that the gun should be found beyond the reach of water on the returning tide. The second gun was landed on 10 July.
Although it was a few years since the fort had been decided upon the guns were not be mounted for some time. The site decided upon was originally fixed by Major Jervois, and not the one favoured by General Owen, and was situated about three quarters of a mile north of the Patawalonga bridge, where it was anticipated that the guns would command an all-round fire from Henley Beach to Marino, and also have a range over the plains leading to Adelaide.
The question of the fort had been talked about and played with for years and the shilly-shallying way of treating so important a project was, unfortunately, only too in keeping with the past action of the legislators in all matters affecting local defence. It might have been hoped that the periodical panics, which the prospects of European war had excited, would not have been without salutary effect in giving direction and stability to the aims of parliament in defence affairs, but the proceedings of the Assembly on 15 August 1888 dispelled this idea.
In reality, the members, and ministry most of all, made confessions of their own aimlessness and incompetency. It was well known that the erection of a fort at Glenelg was looked upon as a foregone conclusion - as a necessary feature in the colony's coast defences. So firmly established had this view been, the government, when meeting parliament, had proclaimed their determination to go on with the work and, further, it had obtained the necessary guns.
Surely, under these circumstances it must have been too late to turn back, but on that ?infamous day? in 1888 it was affirmed that all further steps in connection with the fort would be suspended until General Downes and Captain Walcot reported on the subject - the latter had, unmistakably, already expressed his approval of the undertaking and it was hardly likely he would go back on his own recommendations.
Mr W. Hooper, a resident of Glenelg, expressed his views and pointed out that the government had not even secured the land for the fort from the owner, Mr William Gray, and went on to say:
So the guns are laying on the sandhills, for how long I cannot say. Will these guns improve by lying there a few years (which it is just possible they may) if our members trifle the time away as they do and come to no decision? I suppose the people outside this farinaceous village read the parliamentary news? How they must laugh at us. The whole thing seems adjourned sine die. Let the guns become rusty - they will sell to the founder for old iron... Is it any wonder that we are hampered with nearly £20 millions of a debt? Is it any wonder that we are taxed beyond all reason to pay interest?.... Now Mr Playford says it is just possible that it may be necessary to bring in a Bill to take the land. For such want of judgment in legislation we pay £200 a year to each man and a free pass to Melbourne just when they please. Mr Duncan asked Mr Playford wisely, ?Why did you not have the site ready for you?? And a very sensible question to ask. So say I.
In October 1888 the report from General Downes and Captain Walcot was tabled in parliament; the former said that if he had been commandant in 1885, when the cry was first raised, he would have advised against it, while Captain Walcot stated that he was ?exactly of the same opinion as I was in 1885 when I advocated it.?
Admiral Tryon, during his visit to South Australia in 1886 in HMS Nelson, had strongly impressed upon the military authorities the need of having a fort at Glenelg. ?Without it?, he said, ?a hostile vessel would be able to lie out of range of the other forts and shell Adelaide.? His opinion was, naturally, made the most of by those who advocated the filling up of the hiatus in our first lines of defence, and it was noteworthy that the first duty the Admiral was called upon to perform upon his return in 1889 was to renew his caution and to add, ?I am sorry to learn that the guns are lying on the beach, and that no fort is erected to receive them. It is a pity that more attention has not been given to this coastline defence.?
There the matter rested until May 1889 when the members for Sturt, the Mayor of Glenelg and other prominent residents of Glenelg, waited upon the Treasurer. Mr Stock, MP, informed him that the guns still remained on the sandhills ?far from the world's ignoble strife? and, accordingly, said the delegation wished to know the government's intentions. Thomas Playford informed them that a sum had been put in the Estimates to provide for the fort's foundations, place the guns in position and build a magazine.
However, in respect of the land on which it was to be built, the Government Valuator had valued it at £750, but the owner declined and asked for £3,500. A counter offer of £1,400 was made together with an intimation if it was not accepted the government would have to act and compulsory acquire it. This offer was refused and Mr Gray, through his solicitors, asked for £2,000 and as a consequence the government proceeded to draft ?a Bill to acquire the land at a fair rate.?
A few days later Mr Gray's solicitors proclaimed in the morning press that they had had the land valued at £3,500 and took exception to the apparent underhand tactics and irresponsible statements of the minister:
[Mr Gray's] offer was subject to modification if the government would exclude the spring (the only surface water on his land to the west side of the Military road), at which 600 sheep can water daily without shepherding... Moreover, Mr Gray has voluntarily offered, if the site of the fort is slightly altered, to give over an acre of land for a road through to the sea, there being no available means of access by made road to the north shore, either for guns in the event of a threatened landing, or for the less important purpose of access by private individuals for the purpose of driving along the shore towards Henley Beach...
If the government will take the whole section at their own valuation our client will be happy to sell, but if they want a picked frontage of 12 acres, in all fairness they must pay a proportionately higher price and must also pay a reasonable sum for the severance and great depreciation to adjacent land caused by the erection of this fort... When the treasurer seeks to throw the odium of the delay and obstructiveness on a private individual, he should take care to properly refresh his memory of the facts and fully and accurately ...
In the aftermath of the government's procrastination the Glenelg people, realising the apparent helplessness of their town, asked that the Protector be stationed there, but Captain Walcot advised that ?the vessel would cruise at the entrance to Investigator Strait with a view to guard against possible surprise from that quarter.?
In a conciliatory move Mr Castine, MP, suggested that the ?Imperial government and the other colonies should join with South Australia in mounting the discarded piece of ordnance at Port Darwin?, which could have been an improvement upon the idea of simply selling the guns without any special regard as to its destination. The irate Editor concluded:
It is playing with the public for the Assembly one day to be hot and strong in favour of a certain policy in so important an affair as our defences, and the next day, at the instance of a distinguished military visitor whose opinion is casually asked, not only to turn its back upon that policy, but also to consider seriously how best and most promptly to obliterate all traces of it.
The irony of the whole furtive affair was that, but for Mr Gray's obstinacy, the guns would have been mounted! There were others, who in their satisfaction at the idea that Mr Gray had overreached himself in fighting for what was in some quarters considered to be an excessive price for his land, were more than content with the decision of allowing him to keep it, and others looked upon that gentleman as, in a sense, a public benefactor, because but for him an unnecessary expenditure would have been incurred.
In 1892 the Assembly, at the instance of Major Castine, decided to sell the two breech-loading guns that had lain in the sand at Glenelg since 1888. During the discussions the opinion was expressed by the Major that the guns would fetch from £15,000 to £20,000 but all the government was able to obtain was an offer of £11,500 from the English firm headed by Sir William Armstrong. This was accepted and ?as soon as possible [the guns will] be placed f.o.b. at Port Adelaide.? They had cost over £20,000, while interest and the cost of removal from Glenelg made the charge to the colony in excess of £25,000.
Glenelg - An Ocean Mail Port
- The Admella put in to Glenelg on 1 March 1859 for the purpose of taking up passengers... We hope it will become common especially as it would enable the Post Office authorities to keep the mail open for an hour or two later. If the steamers could call also at Glenelg on their inward voyages it would often save passengers the disagreeable necessity of remaining all night on board and would also enable the mail to be delivered in the evening instead of the next morning....
(Register, 2 March 1859, p. 2.)
Activities at Glenelg - 1874 to 1888
Also see South Australia - Communications .There was a certain amount of romance, no little danger and a great deal of exciting experience in connection with the early years of the ocean mail service in the days when the telegraphic and boarding arrangements were, to say the least, primitive. The men engaged in boarding steamers often had lively experiences of what wind and weather could do to make the duties difficult and dangerous, even in the comparatively sheltered waters of Holdfast Bay.
By the mid-1870s the vagaries of the elements were more effectively met by superior facilities for communicating between the city and the roadstead and the risk being less, the romance, what there was of it, had disappeared under the practical hand of progress. Old Adelaideans could remember the time when the Rangatira and other vessels belonging to the Australian Steam Navigation Company brought the mail every month from King George Sound and to ensure the utmost promptitude the proprietors of the Argus and Sydney Morning Herald arranged through the Register to charter a fast rowing boat to meet the steamers on arrival. ?Tom Shepherd (sic -Shepard?), a master mariner, had charge of the boat and he was never known to fail in the discharge of his duties.? When safely ashore they were taken to the telegraph office and initialled by the Stationmaster as a guarantee that, on arrival, the messages had precedence over all others.
Then came the road work - there was no railway at the time - and relays of horses were provided along the road for the speedy conveyance of news, as the old-fashioned coaches were not up to the express rates of travelling. The horses were hired from an old identity, John MacDonald, and a smart light-weighted lad who revelled in horseflesh, covered the distance to Adelaide in seventeen minutes - quicker time than the train did when it arrived on the scene.
One horse went to the Halfway House, where a relief horse finished the trip and an onlooker remembered that upon arrival in Adelaide they were ?dripping lather and almost ready to drop?, while, invariably, there was a small crowd outside to witness the arrival of the express courier charged with world-wide despatches for the newspapers, which spared no trouble or expense to secure the latest English news at the earliest possible moment. The telegraph office for part of the time was at Green's Old Exchange and great was the bustle when the mail arrived, it being thronged with eager pressmen.
The boarding officials were rarely caught napping for, in nautical parlance, they always kept an ?eye lifting? and often a false alarm on a dark and stormy night kept them on the qui vive. David Shepard recalls:
As the landing of the mails was done by contract for a specified time, different boatmen secured the contract as it was tendered for. Harry Pinnington secured it most times. The landing of the Despatch was not by contract; it was a permanent job for my father. The ?Despatch? was written papers containing the most important news from of England and Europe - such as cablegrams we get now.
In those days the submarine cable was not laid to our shores, hence the necessity for news to be carried by steamboats, which had to be watched, day and night, for a whole week before it was due. As a young boy I had to do more than my share of the watching and, if sighted, whatever hour of the night, run for my life from one end of Glenelg to the other to call up those of the boats? crews that preferred their beds to watching. I can say without contradiction that each time the mail steamer was sighted at night, it was I that sighted her ten times out of twelve.
The old hands told of many a wild night at sea and many a jolly evening's vigil in the Pier Hotel kept by the genial Henry Moseley, one of the old pioneers and a veteran of 1836. There were no special Custom officials and press representatives present in the early days and, consequently, the whole party put up at the Pier or watched on the jetty.
The steam launch, Fairy, a smart little seaboat, but not equal to the hard work of facing heavy weather when cautious captains anchored their vessels well out, was next used for boarding work; although a reliable boat, but too small for passenger service, she was succeeded by the Mermaid, a larger and stronger vessel. Bitter were the complaints of overseas passengers or their friends from the shore who made the trip, especially when they had to be slung aboard in chairs.
For passengers landing at Glenelg it is always a disagreeable and often dangerous business. When the weather is stormy they have to be swung from the steamer to the launch in chairs and they seldom escaped a ducking on their way to the jetty. While the lightship remained the steamers could anchor at least a mile and a half nearer to the jetty than they will be able to do in safety now.
The monthly mail service was followed by fortnightly and a small fleet of launches attended upon the huge steamers laid on by the P&O Company. South Australia always complained that it was shorn of the advantages of its geographical position and, before January 1874, did not appear to be of sufficient importance in the eyes of the powers that be for the small steamers to deviate. Indeed, the Government had to pay heavily for a branch steamer to meet the mail boat at King George Sound. However, after that date a new arrangement came into force and Melbourne was made the terminus, while Glenelg was the port of call for the delivery of mails.
The Government provided the hulk, Beatrice, in Holdfast Bay at a cost of about £300 per annum and put a light on the jetty, which was afterwards replaced by a lighthouse. The first outward bound steamer to call at Glenelg under the new scheme was the Pera, 2,118 tons and the occasion of her arrival at the Bay was made a holiday.
The want of arrangements was first seen on a Saturday evening in January 1875 when it was expected that the Ceylon would turn up during the afternoon and there was an unusually large number of passengers from the colony to sail by her. Most of them reached Glenelg with their heavy luggage before 6 o?clock, when their chattels were placed on trucks and taken to the end of the jetty, where they remained. The weary hours wore away and there was no appearance of the steamer.
The passengers wandered about the jetty keeping an eye on their luggage, utterly at a loss to know whether it would be safe to return to the city, or whether they should stay for the night at the Bay. At length the passengers gave up hope of the steamer's arrival, and some returned to town, while others sought indifferent accommodation as the Bay afforded:
The arrangements for allowing passengers to come ashore and spend a few hours are exceedingly defective. The charge for a passage by the Fairy is absurdly unreasonable... The idea which some of our neighbours have of us is that we are a slow ?one horse? colony, and that idea would be confirmed by our reception of the Ceylon and her passengers on Sunday.
The Carthage was the last of the mail steamers to call at Glenelg and from 1888 the P&O Company passed what the Glenelg people called the front door of the colony and called at what they considered the side entrance, namely, Semaphore. The steamers had called regularly for some 14 years and in later years their arrival could be calculated almost to the hour.
The Lighthouse Hulk, ?Beatrice?
In 1874 the Beatrice was placed at Glenelg as a receiving vessel for cargo, etc., ?for which purpose it was seldom used and had never, in the usual acceptance of the term, been a lightship.? A decade later the residents of Glenelg were much troubled with two threatened misfortunes for it was proposed to remove her from Glenelg in February 1886, and it appeared possible that a contract, about to be entered into for the conveyance of mails from Europe to Australia, could alter the port of arrival and departure from Glenelg to the Semaphore.
The determination to remove the Beatrice was the result of the retrenchment policy adopted by the House of Assembly in the reduction of the vote under the head ?Marine?. The cost of maintaining the ship at Glenelg was about £300 per annum, so that the saving to be effected was not very considerable. The convenience which the lightship had been to P&O steamers calling at Glenelg had been acknowledged by nearly all their commanders and much time was admitted to have been saved by the facilities that existed for the picking up of an anchorage as near the shore as practicable and safe.
Naturally, the residents of Glenelg and Largs Bay/Semaphore had divergent opinions on the proposal:
The P&O steamers brought visitors from all parts of the world and it was not in the interests of the colony that they should have to creep and crawl along to an anchorage in entering the front door, as they would have to do if the light was abolished. Captain Stead of the P&O Line ha[s] written a letter to the Mayor stating that the Beatrice was of the greatest use at night in picking up a berth close in, and its removal would entail considerable delay as well as anxiety in choosing an anchorage as near the pier as possible with safety...
The curse of this colony is deputations, or government by deputation, and I am sorry to say the good people of Glenelg have a very fair share of this malady. What rot to say the Beatrice's removal will retard [our] progress... Every desirable facility for shipping is to be obtained at the front door... i.e., Largs Bay... It is saying very little for Glenelg as an anchorage for ocean steamers when it is blazoned abroad that a jetty light is not sufficient to guide mariners to the anchorage, and if Glenelg will not mind me saying so I would advise them to say nothing about the removal of the Beatrice, or if they want an ornament for their front door they had better borrow Noah's Ark.
And here lay the great argument why the Beatrice should not be removed; indeed, to do so would have been a breach of faith and it was difficult to understand why the Treasurer, Mr S. Newland, for the sake of a paltry saving to be effected, persisted in his decision, despite representations made to him:
- Mr Newland has paid deputations the compliment of listening - not always patiently... and he has with ill-concealed reluctance consented from time to time to give further consideration to the subject... Had the fate of nations depended upon his remaining true to his first purpose he could not have been more resolute than he has been... We feel bound to protest against the cavalier manner in which he has treated some of the communications...
The people of Glenelg may be as fond of their Beatrice as Dante was of his, and the country might fairly say, ?We cannot afford to pander to your love for her?, but when the honour of the colony was at stake it was another matter and the most pronounced economist would hardly have ventured to argue that it would have been wise to risk so much for the sake of so little.
Indeed, either the light could be safely dispensed with or it could not. If its removal would have materially increased the danger to vessels approaching Glenelg, then by all means it should have been retained:
It has been suggested that a gas buoy should be substituted for the hulk which has for so long done duty in this bay, but it would appear from a report emanating from the Marine Board that the adoption of this alternative would entail a heavier expense than would be justified. The experiment of using gas in the Port stream was not such an unqualified success as to encourage further outlay in a similar direction. The further suggestion that the people of Glenelg should bear the cost of keeping up the light is not a reasonable one... In this instance notice was given some time ago that the light should be removed. It has not been removed and its retention, although not likely to lead to disaster, may prove misleading to sea captains who, having been informed of the intention to discontinue it, have had no means of learning that a reprieve has been granted it...
At a meeting of the corporation the action of the government, in refusing to reconsider their determination, was the subject of warm criticism. So necessary was it considered that provision be made for the proper lighting of the harbour that, at a public meeting at Glenelg, Mr J.W. Billiatt moved that the Corporation of Glenelg take immediate steps to maintain under their supervision a fixed light at the anchorage and to open a public subscription list, while in a letter to the Marine Board permission was sought to allow the vessel to remain and the ?light to be exhibited only on the nights when mail was expected from London and Melbourne.? From this activity a voluntary subscription list to defray cost of the vessel was started and about £150 guaranteed by local citizens. But there were other opinions abroad:
It must be admitted that the hulk is not without its uses, but will anyone pretend that it gives value for the £700 a year spent on it? Nothing of the sort. It was originally placed there for a special purpose; that purpose it has never fulfilled and although it, no doubt, does on the rare occasion when the P & O Company's boats have to approach Glenelg on a dark night act as a guide to them.... It is certain that they would be able to take up its positions without its aid... By means of the jetty light and the Port lighthouse the captains will be able to tell where they are with the utmost nicety... We hope that a time is not distant when the steamers will ahve a more convenient and comfortable place to lie in rough weather than the open roadstead at Holdfast Bay.
Glenelg versus Semaphore and Largs Bay
In 1876 the commander of the P&O ship, Sumatra, was ordered by his superiors to examine the Semaphore anchorage and decide if that place would be better adapted for the transhipment of mails. Later, he called on the Premier and informed him that ?he could see no reason for going to the Semaphore in preference, but saw many for not doing so.?
An ardent ?Glenelgite?, working himself into a sense of excitement over the difficulties in landing the mails, especially as exemplified in the Sumatra's visit in June 1876, sent the following poem to ?Geoffrey Crabthorn? of the Observer, who added that, ?perhaps Mr Wigley will act on our hint?:
I don?t go for squaring the circle,
By Euclid I?m euchred and done;
No problem I ever can work ?ll
Give rightly the height of the sun.
I never was tutored at college
The stars with a glass to explore;
And of practical things I?ve no knowledge
Save what I pick up on the shore.
But although no subtracter or adder
I can reckon up things as they go,
And manage to see through a ladder
As well as most folks that I know.
I can see that Glenelg has small shelter
For vessels if storms will arise;
And if waves roll ashore helter-skelter
I do not give way to surprise.
The wind has a fanciful notion
Of playing up games with the sea,
And when waves are in mighty commotion
No boating, I thank you, for me.
I can see that when P&O steamers
Drop anchor some three miles away
In a storm, there's a chance of some screamers
In getting on board from the Bay.
Yet it's little that people need suffer
If the steamers would come within reach,
For e?en at Glenelg its much rougher
Outside than close to the beach.
Full half of the Fairy's disasters
Are due, I believe, to the fact
That the P&O company's masters
Are wanting in smartness and tact.
They pretend to dispute the existence
Of good anchorage close to the Bay;
But if they would come half the distance
They?d find things areas we say.
Of such offerings we well may be wearied,
When the Pearl anchored inside the hulk
Within half a mile of the pier head -
A feat for a craft of her bulk.
Then let Wigley get up a memorial,
And pray the Pearl's course they will follow!
If not Glenelg's nascent glory ?ll
Vanish in storm with the swallow.
The great difficulty of landing English mail and passengers from the P&O Company's steamer, China,, the impossibility of landing cargo, and even passengers? baggage which has been taken on to Melbourne, and the danger to life and limb, all might have been avoided if the mail steamer had been snugly berthed under the shelter of Wonga Shoal. Our friend, Captain Jagoe, was cruising off the Semaphore in an open boat in the same weather, far outside the bell buoy... Our prestige must seriously suffer by such occurrence... We have no business to incur such risks...
The reason for the proposed transfer was that some merchants of Adelaide had difficulty in getting their goods through Glenelg; however, the public ?thought it more important that they should get their letters [as early as possible]?. Another caustic comment from Glenelg was that ?when overseas visitors stepped off the jetty at Semaphore there was nothing to be seen but a desert of sand... whereas at Glenelg there was a fine hotel that would do credit to London, a fine Institute and other conveniences for those who had to wait for a train...?
At the meeting, the local member, Mr William Townsend, MP, said that at a conference on 21 June 1869 he moved that the mails be landed at some place in South Australia and on 23 February 1873, at conference held in Sydney on the same subject, Sir Henry Ayers, as Chief Secretary of South Australia, got a clause inserted into the postal contract that the mail should be landed at Glenelg, and he ?meant to enquire in Parliament why he had changed his opinion since he went... to Sydney.?
The pro-Glenelg brigade won the day and there the matter rested for over twelve years when, in 1885, an agreement was entered into that mail boats, other than the P&O line which was contracted to utilise Glenelg, should call at the Semaphore, but subsequent representations by the government to Home authorities said that the paragraph in the mail contract naming Semaphore as the landing place ?might be required by the colony to be altered ... to Glenelg...? Accordingly, a public meeting was held in the Semaphore Institute on 16 October 1885 with respect of landing mails and passengers from ocean steamers:
The good people of Semaphore have good reason to complain of the obstructions that have been placed in the way of giving effect to their reasonable request for improved arrangements for the landing of mails from their jetty.
At about this time a landing of passengers at Semaphore was described by an opponent of the proposed change:
The night was a caution to fair weather sailors... A steam cutter was afloat to land the pilot and others from the Catterthum. To get lines fast was one thing, but to land people quite another, as the cutter was hauled round and breasted up to the landing stage. She rolled and pitched furiously and the people had to make a kind of flying leap over another cutter before reaching the stage. This was very risky, especially when one person of more portly form had to balance on the top of the gunwale for a second or so before taking the final leap...
Following further representations, early in 1888 it was determined that mail steamers should call at the Semaphore anchorage on and after 2 April 1888 and for it to be optional whether the mails were landed at Largs Bay or Semaphore. This was the death knell for Glenelg and one of its avid defenders, Samuel Tomkinson, castigated his fellow ?Glenegites? in February 1888:
I know that the Hon. Treasurer believes the change will be in the interests of the economy, that a savings will be made in customs, in maintaining the Beatrice, in throwing the traffic upon the Government railways, and in working the Largs line, now losing £1,500 a year... I am astonished at the apathy of the Glenelg people; neither the railway directors, the corporation, the tradesman nor working men and property owners have lifted hand or voice to prevent what is to them an act of spoliation. They must have forgotten the exertions which were made thirty years ago by J.B. Neales. R.B. Colley, A. Scott, F.C. Singleton and, I think, Mr Wigley, to obtain a supplementary mail for the ocean steamer.
The latter gentleman has evidently collapsed under the Patawalonga fiasco, but I remember that in 1859 when a north-west gale prevented the Corio embarking the mail at Glenelg they manned a cutter and pursued me to near Kangaroo Island under a mistaken belief that I was the cause. The boat had to turn back with the mails, but the attempt showed the superior pluck of the ?old Glenelgs?. I am quite sure that the commanders of the P&O fleet will find that a change has been made for the worse.
The transfer of venue being effected a controversy arose between the two ?camps? at Semaphore and Largs Bay:
When the German steamer arrived the mails were brought up to Semaphore, but were not allowed to be landed and had to be taken over to Largs Bay. The train was missed and the mails delayed... The Cuxo's passengers were brought over to the Semaphore jetty to meet their friends and they were not allowed to land but were taken to Largs Bay and had to walk back.
Finally, it was reported that the landing of mails at Semaphore instead of at Largs Bay was a thing of the near future and that ?the residents in the vicinity are in high spirits over the proposed change.? The mail contract came up for renewal in 1890 and, once again, following lobbying from various interests, the government decided to return operations to Glenelg, but there were other opinions being put abroad:
The sale of the Largs Bay Company by auction is to take place on 17 December 1890 and it will be for the government to decide whether they will become the purchasers of the jetty and railway and thus be enabled to continue landing and embarking of mails as heretofore, or run the risk of having this avenue of traffic closed before they have provided for another... It is considered the wisest policy to adopt the Semaphore with its disadvantages as the future place of transfer for the mails.
Vacillating again, and with a change of government, a Commission, consisting entirely of politicians, was appointed to inspect the Semaphore, Glenelg and Largs Bay jetties and to ?enquire into the best means for making the provision for the landing and embarking of mails for Europe.? The commission reported that ?it was shown that there were fairly sufficient facilities provided at Largs Bay jetty for the landing the ocean mails as well as for enabling passengers to come ashore.?
A more misleading, if not a more absolutely incorrect, statement could not have been made. If it was based on the evidence taken it was more than certain that the Commission was deceived and the fact that the body consisted of politicians having no special knowledge under enquiry, did not exonerate it from the charges levelled against it.
If the members had relied less on hearsay testimony and the opinions of interested persons, and had gone to the trouble of making personal inspections and instituting a little private enquiry, the results of their labours would have been less open to objection. They never saw the actual landing or embarking of a single passenger or the handling of the mails. Indeed, if they had done so no misrepresentations would have been found in their report:
Practically, the mails are handled on the same principle that Noah adopted in getting his valuable cargo aboard the Ark. There is a difference, however, Noah's system was more expeditious. The men who carry the mailbags walk in a well-measured funeral step and do not go in pairs...
It is satisfactory to know that a jetty which at first should not have been constructed by private enterprise but by the government has become the property of the State. Its situation ensures its being an important feature in any future outer harbour arrangements...
Of interest was the fact that the contract to deliver mails, at what was known as ?Adelaide Semaphore?, provided that the mails be delivered at either Semaphore or Largs Bay jetty and, in its wisdom, the government opted for the latter as the main landing place because ?the evidence showed that the Semaphore jetty for a similar service was insufficient.?
However, the sins and transgressions of the Commission were evident when a newspaper report revealed that at Largs Bay:
There is absolutely no shelter provided for the passengers and they are exposed to all weathers and, more inconvenient still, they are obliged to produce their luggage for examination by the customs officers on the open jetty. There are only two landing stages provided for the launches, one facing north, and the other running east and west. The former during northerly and westerly gales is absolutely useless... It is not an uncommon sight to see a crowd of passengers compelled to struggle over one, two, or perhaps three launches in order to reach the jetty... The present facilities are disgraceful in the extreme... We are informed that owing to inadequate facilities at Largs the German Line steamer did their work from the Semaphore..
And so the saga continued with Largs Bay remaining as the venue for the anchorage, while on occasions gangways continued to be smashed by heaving launches and passengers transferred by the less dignified but decidedly safer means of baskets. There was many a drenching with spray.
Before it was definitely decided to construct an Outer Harbour at Light's Passage there were many people who conscientiously believed that the better site could be found in the vicinity of Marino. However, this suggestion was strongly condemned by leading authorities on harbour work administration.
?No more is the front door of South Australia a wicker basket. Thank God that reproach is now removed?, were the remarks of the Engineer-in-Chief, Mr A.B. Mais , the designer and director of the Outer Harbour works when, on 16 January 1906, the new harbour was officially declared open for the accommodation of large overseas vessels by the Governor of South Australia, Sir George LeHunte. The first mail steamer to berth was the Orient liner, Oruba.
Thus, the long-contemplated chief essential to a first class port - an up-to-date harbour accommodation for the large ocean-going vessels - had been provided and in order to attract more tourists the Marine Drive was commenced, while at the same time sundry combatants at Glenelg, Semaphore and Largs Bay laid down their arms and turned their attention to less mundane subjects such as ?mixed bathing? on beaches.