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
Railways, Tramways and Buses
An Essay onTransport to and from Glenelg
If Cobb and Co can run a coach
For ninepence to the Bay,
Why should Port railway passengers
Have twice as much to pay.
(Register, 10 August 1869, p. 2.)
An early traveller said he took his first pedestrian trip to Adelaide in company with Major O?Halloran when there was a ?well-defined track made by the wheels of bullock drays? leading away from Holdfast Bay. Nathaniel Hailes trekked to Adelaide in 1839 and has left his memories for us of ?the narrow track [that] meandered along amid an apparently boundless maze of strongly scented shrubs and magnificent gum trees?:
The branches of the trees were crowded and enlivened by flocks of parrots, cockatoos and parroquets, whose coloured and varied plumage rendered the scene immensely picturesque... Here and there a laughing jackass gave forth its mocking laugh as if to scoff and ridicule each new trespasser to its territory...
The first sign of civilisation to be seen was a number of rudimentary huts along the town's northern boundary. They were made of reeds from the nearby Torrens River and as I later discovered were collectively referred to as Buffalo Row...
This highway was top-dressed with seaweed and it was not until 1852 that it was macadamised. In 1845 the first public conveyance ran between these two points in the form of a small spring cart drawn by a Timor pony and driven by a misanthrope named Thomas Haymes. He provided transport twice a week and conveyed passengers at the rate of one shilling each provided they were civil, or otherwise they might tramp it.
In 1846 Mr J. Wiseman advertised that he was about to commence a carriage service to Glenelg in a spring cart and starting from the Adelaide Oyster Rooms in Hindley Street on 5 October. In 1853 competition came from John McDonald who established a service with vehicles named ?Rose?, 'shamrock? and ?Thistle?. Subsequent developments led to R. George & Company conducting business and this firm later became John Hill & Company.
Coaching From the 1860s
The only mode of transit for the general public at present is by omnibuses and these are anything but comfortable. We are constantly hearing complaints of the coaching service as it is at present conducted and there can be no doubt that there are many persons prevented settling at the Bay from the inconvenience of transit.
(Observer, 28 April 1866, p. 6.)
In 1863, complaints of a ?highly improper? practice of rival omnibus drivers, Messrs McDonald and R. George, indulging in racing their vehicles to the imminent peril of their passengers, were made, while a few months later Mr R. Clisby and another unnamed traveller expressed concern as to the physical condition of some of the horses:
Their condition is most pitiable, their bones almost protruding through their skin. One of them, I was informed, was a worn out racer and my heart ached to see the still noble animal tottering along scarcely able to drag one leg after the other...
When I see a public conveyance ?licensed to carry passengers? I always think an omission is made in not adding the minimum number of horses that are to draw the load... Some of the conveyances on the Bay road are frequently underhorsed and ,even when the number is sufficient, the quality is so lamentably bad that passengers often have their feelings outraged by the barbarous treatment of the horses... [that] are quite unable to perform the work allotted to them and receive, in consequence, brutal floggings... It is really time the matter was looked into for the sake of humanity...
In August 1865 two drunken fellows, having a female with them in a four-wheeled buggy drawn by two horses, raced against Rounsevell's coach on its way to the Bay and while returning in the same reckless manner ran into Mr Barclay's cart, the shaft of which was broken and their own vehicle capsized. Mr Barclay was obliged to proceed on foot, as did one of the late occupants of the buggy leading a horse, while the other, mounting the remaining animal, galloped furiously towards the city, brandishing his whip, and making a wanton cut at the driver of the six o?clock coach.
By 1866 the service was in a parlous state and a citizen raised the matter of insurance policies for aggrieved passengers, while another reported upon the alleged drunkenness of coach drivers:
A useful institution exists in England which ensures railway passengers against injuries by travelling. If the assured is killed his legal representatives receive a sum of money in a certain ratio to the money he has paid... Might not a similar association be established here... If established it should commence its operations on the Bay Road where just now a general sense of insecurity prevails. The upsetting of Bay coaches has lately got to be so frequent that a successful journey along the line is looked upon pretty much as a prosperous trip from Edinburgh to London used to be some hundred years ago...
If established the company should have its stations along the road where air cushions and feather beds should at all times be ready to ease the fall of the unfortunates in their descent to terra firma. Other appliances might be at hand for the security of life and limb. Ladders, for instance, constructed for fire escapes should be prepared for the desperadoes who cling to the roof after the first crash...
I am afraid that the eminent firm of conveyancers who monopolise the passenger traffic along the Bay road will object that my scheme militates against their interests. inasmuch as they have a vested right in the flotsam and jetsam along the line... [I] suggest that in order that they maintain their former prestige and secure patronage, they must take greater care of their axles and in other respects improve their arrangements. As regards passengers they must:
Handle them tenderly,
Take them with care,
Providing, not slenderly,
Space for each fare.
By 1872 it was a notorious fact that, following a reduction in fares, a large number of coaches were overloaded. Evening after evening Adelaide sent out its oppressive heat, while dust soiled citizens by thousands thereby enticing them to enjoy a plunge in the sea or the milder luxuries of a stroll along the beach in company with a moderate sea breeze. To meet the extraordinary demands upon them coach proprietors were put to astonishing shifts.
Vehicles that had been pensioned off were refurbished and put back into service. Horses which had long since seen their best days were pressed once more into service and to crown all, every vehicle, old or new, plying for hire, was packed regularly with passengers far beyond its reputed capacity. Coaches licensed to carry 20, through some mysterious process of human compression, were made to carry 30 and so on in like proportion from the smallest wagonette to the heaviest leviathan of all.
Accordingly, it was all but impossible that this reckless system could continue without resulting in some serious casualty, for horses dropped down constantly or refused to proceed through sheer exhaustion. There were collisions and capsizes due partly to the incompetence of drivers, partly the sharpness of competition on the road; of wheels detached; of belts sprung; and of seats dislocated.
On being approached, the Mayor of Adelaide, replied that there was only one inspector and ?perhaps it had slipped his mind? which, to those concerned, was a most unsatisfactory reply; indeed:
If a poor fellow drives his dray into town without having his name painted on to it, in accordance with the Act, he is very soon brought before Mr Beddome and fined. But here are men who are day after day wearing out the strength and life of dumb animals for mere gain, and the officer whose duty is to put a stop to it lets the matter 'slip his notice.?... If the officer does not do his duty it would seem to be the time to look out for his successor.
Galvanised into action the authorities arranged for corporation officers to undertake surveillance of the Bay road and ?on Sunday last several cases of overloading were detected and information laid against the offenders.?
In 1873 Governor Musgrave held a Levee at Government House and ?Geoffrey Crabthorn?, resident satirist at the Register had this to say about it - ?Not having been there, I cannot speak personally of the inconvenience complained of both publicly and privately from the crowd of carriages which blocked up the pathway. All I can say is that whoever had the ordering of things outside ought to have managed them better. As it was, the blockade was firmly maintained for good or ill - or, as a facetious bystander put it - ?four-wheeler, wo!? There is , however, another version of the cause of the difficulty for which I am indebted to a literary cabman, whose plaint is set forth thus? :
A Voice from a Four-Wheeler
For my coat is uncommonly shabby;
My boots are worn down at the heel, and my hat
Is battered, lopsided, and doubled up flat,
But people who see it, say, ?Well what of that?
He's only a Adelaide cabby.?
?Till now I was humble, and modest, and meek,
And monstrous polite in my manner;
I coughed in my hand when I ventured to speak,
And never attempted no language or cheek,
Or chizzled the simple or bullied the weak,
But drove a good mile for a tanner.
And besides. every hint I was ready to seize,
W hen I got a real gent for a model,
Of your genuine tip-top good breeding and ease;
For such manners, of course, are more suited to please
Than a cabby's, whose never had notions like these
Crammed into his ignorant noodle.
But a horrible shock have my senses received,
And the blow comes awfully heavy;
Your fine folks? gentility can?t be believed;
And I find how I?ve been deceived,
For ?twas only last Thursday my feelings they grieved
By the way they behaved at the Levee.
I was picked up to take down a party of four,
And got my instructions as follers -
To drive through the gate and right up to the door,
And set down my fare on the portico floor,
And then turn round the wing, and there wait with some more,
?Till the gents for their four-wheelers holler.
But lor! When I chanced with my load to arrive,
I found that the porch and the garden
With a reg?lar mob of black coats was alive,
And to get to the door it was useless to strive,
For they stood at the entrance, and blocked up the drive,
Without even asking your pardon.
There wasn?t no cause for to push nor to crowd,
Such conduct was puffeckly shocking,
And I couldn?t help thinking them gents there so proud
Us cabbies unfortunate might have allowed
To drive on our road (as the papers avowed)
Instead of the pathway a blocking.
But there they all crowded in a closely-jammed mass,
While in vain we appealed to the peelers,
We couldn?t go back, and they dared us to pass,
And there we were stuck till they tell me, alas,
That many a swell caught a cold on the grass
In trying to dodge our four-wheelers.
And the thought on it makes my heart heavy:-
Poor cabbies like me at good manners must rail
And swear that they ain?t worth a nobbler of ale,
When they see them, in gents who?ve been born to them fail,
Just because of a crowd at the Levee.
(Observer, 21 June 1873, p. 14.)
My mother had five children; three boys and two girls. She was considered a good looking woman, at least the good people of Glenelg used to say her face was of a dark peach colour. She spent six years of her girlhood in the West Indies on the island of Tobago - perhaps that would account for her beautiful colour. She had often promised to take us to the Botanic Gardens.
At that time trains to Glenelg were not even thought of then, the only way of getting to the city was by Cobb & Co buses. There came a man named Cook, who started running large wagonettes in opposition to Cobb & Co, not of course that he had any chance of running that company off. It was then that my mother thought it a good opportunity to take us to see the lions and monkeys - We could go in Cook's buses for it wouldn?t be so crowded as the other.
At last the long looked for day came and dressed in our best we got into the bus - ah!, but how true is the saying ?Man proposes and God disposes?- it was not to be. The time was 8 am. My mother, two sisters and younger brother were inside. Mother sat near the door with her baby daughter in her arms. I sat outside next to the driver and there were two men sitting on my left. The driver of the bus was considered to be a careful driver, his name was Alexander; the driver of Cobb's bus was named Rooke and known as an expert driver. The bus he was driving then was a large new one - it had leather springs and was called a Yankey; it was a four horse bus.
Our bus had got ahead and was now standing in the middle of the Bay Road in front of Hitchcox's chemist shop. I saw several gentlemen standing waiting for the Yankey, among them were W.R. Wigley, R.B. Colley and T.P. Jones. I saw them run to the side of the road waving their hats and I wondered the cause, when suddenly there was an awful crash at the back of our bus which startled our horses, knocking our driver to the ground and taking the reins with him.
Away went our horses like mad up the road, then the offside wheel struck a culvert post and twisted them and the bus in another direction. On they went straight for Jetty Road - the reins still dragging on the ground. Then a man next to me leaned forward and, catching one rein, pulled the horses on to a heap of cracked metal where they stopped. I jumped down quickly to let my mother out, but lo! She was not there, neither was the baby. Those that were there did not seem to know where to go, or what to say, they seemed dazed, but who could wonder at them being so, after witnessing such a sight.
I ran back along the road to the chemist's shop and there I saw poor mother siting in a chair with her beautiful face smashed in and my father kneeling by her side holding her hands while Dr Cotter was fastening her wounds up with silver pins... The cause of the accident was the Yankey bus that capsized when turning the corner near the seawall and the four horses breaking away with the pole and smashing into our bus, striking my mother in the face and dragging her and the baby out onto the road under the feet of four horses; strange to say the baby didn?t get a scratch.
If the Glenelg people had a true eye to their own interests they would organise a Company for the construction of a tramway forthwith. There is plenty of money in the country and capitalists are looking out for new investments. A railway to be worked at first with horse power, and cheaply constructed, ought to pay a reasonable profit. A light steam engine might be subsequently obtained which the increased traffic would probably render necessary.
(Observer, 28 April 1866, p. 6)
Until the opening of the Adelaide-Glenelg railway in 1873 there were many attempts to construct a speedy and efficient transport system, the majority of which were inaugurated through the efforts of Mr R.B. Colley. In November 1855 a prospectus above his name for a company proposing to construct a railway line 'starting from the terminus of the Port road on a level, or running under it, will leave Thebarton to the west, thence through Cowandillah [sic] and the Reedbeds to Glenelg, having its terminus on or near the reserve on section 182, known as St Leonards?, was circulated.
At the time it was nearly an hour's ride in public vehicles to reach Glenelg, while it was anticipated that a train could cover the distance in a quarter of that time. But although its introduction was desirable there were obstacles in the way the major one being difficulties in the raising of the necessary funds and, of course, the owners of land to be traversed had an eager eye turned towards financial gain.
Public meetings were held in Adelaide and at Cowandilla and, in due course, following representations to government and, although 1,000 shares had been subscribed for, the proposal slumbered until 1860 due in part to the non-arrival of the jetty. A revival occurred in August 1860 when another company attempted a proposal similar to its predecessor at an estimated cost of £40,000 when it was conceded that ?the public convenience and health would be subserved by such means of communication with the seaside to an extent amply sufficient to justify giving the kind of encouragement asked for.?
In the intervening period a meeting was held in the Glenelg Town Hall on 14 May 1858 when it was resolved to issue a prospectus to form a company with a capital of £25,000 for the construction of a railway which, it was suggested be conducted by ?animal traction? and extended to Brighton, in due course. To this proposition a local trader registered his objection:
The tramway was supposed to pass alongside one side of King William Street. I have a shop or store on that side of the street. I ask if every person occupied in trade along that side of the street is to give way to the train of carriages whenever they pass; and it is proposed they should do so ultimately every half hour. If that be the case, it will be the annihilation of trade on that side, even if sanctioned by an Act of parliament, and will entirely destroy the value of property there.... Nothing of this sort would happen if the terminus were in West Terrace...
On 15 January 1864 a meeting was held in Mr Colley's office for the purpose of promoting a tramway to be drawn by horses and it was said that the prejudice against such tramways had been carried too far and it was a fact they were working in other colonies where they were self-supporting:
The heaviest vehicles, including bullock dray, are to be seen conveying tired working people to their evening bath at the close of a hot summer's day. But there are many who do not possess even this rude means of conveyance. It is true there are public omnibuses which will carry as many persons as can be crammed into them; but the chances of getting back are uncertain and the charges are liable at any time to be increased. These are matters which a tramway company would guard against.
By 1866, all previous ventures having foundered, the Editor of the Register considered the matter:
Though but possessing but few attractions in itself beyond the fact that it is on the coast, it is admitted to be a healthy place of residence. The only drawback to permanent residence there is a defective means of communication between it and the capital.. A light railway, horses being used for traction in the first instance, on which the journey could be done within the half-hour, would be a great convenience and would contribute to the prosperity of the Bay... There is ample room along the present road for a tramway...
A month later a deputation waited upon the Chief Secretary and on its side there was a mock earnestness in advancing arguments which were as patent to the government as to themselves. On the side of the government there was a ludicrous ingenuity in raising objections which the objector himself believed in no more than those who solemnly refuted them. Mr Bagot, in his wriggling from one negative to another - all the while protesting his regret that he could not deal in affirmatives - could have had no conceivable object but to avenge himself for the similar treatment he had received in connection with the Port Augusta tramway.
Half a dozen times he professed to answer the deputation and all they got from him in the long run was his gracious permission to do what they required no leave for, that is 'see that the Bill was brought before the house at the proper time.? The proposed railway, therefore, came to its last resort - the common sense and patriotism of the legislature. However, the satirical deputation to the Chief Secretary turned out much better than was expected for the Bill suddenly obtained a host of friends for those in opposition were made to look ashamed of themselves and to plead that they had been vilely represented.
The scheme lay dormant for some time but sprung into fresh life in March 1871 when a prospectus was prepared and it showed ?t was so well supported ?as to promise a successful issue? and it was hoped that:
No local jealousies would impede the passing of the Bill and we trust that no well meaning City or Town Council will throw needless difficulties in the way of the American plan of carrying the line along the streets of Adelaide and Glenelg.
The Act authorising the line was passed in November 1871 and no time was lost in floating a company with a capital of £22,000 and the first sod was turned in March 1872. Rolling stock, comprising two locomotives of about 12 tons each, was imported from England, together with a two-storeyed carriage with seating accommodation for 150 persons. On 21 October 1872 the first rail was laid on South Terrace by Mr A.H.F. Bartels, Mayor of Adelaide, while a trial trip was undertaken by the directors and some of their friends on 29 May 1873.
The Adelaide to Glenelg Railways - A Brief History
The Adelaide and Glenelg and Suburban Railway Company commenced on 2 August 1873 when trial trips were made and the Governor of the day and a number of shareholders paid a visit to Glenelg. Two days later, everything being satisfactory, the line was declared open for public traffic. At that time the company had only two engines and the same number of carriages, while ?class distinction? was unknown. Nine trains were run on weekdays, the first leaving Victoria Square at 7.40 am and the last at 6.30 pm. On Sundays four trains proved to be ample. Mr E.B. Overbury had the honour of purchasing the first ticket at Victoria Square from Mr T. Goldsmith, who later became head guard. The tickets were made of cardboard several inches long and it was customary for the manager to initial each ticket. Of interest was the fact that the station at Glenelg on the new line was built, in part, from material that had formed the local skating rink.
It was soon discovered that seating accommodation was insufficient and it was not unusual to see them riding up from Glenelg on the roofs of the carriages. As the trains went down King William Street they attracted that curiosity characteristic of children and frequently a crowd of them would run alongside the carriages until South Terrace was reached when either they or the train disappeared. For the initial 12 months the passenger receipts amounted to £11,217 and this was considered good business, but that amount was infinitesimal when compared with its anniversary year of 1898 when the takings totalled £23,845.
Further, on the occasion of public holidays it was not unusual for ?muddling? to be the order of the day on behalf of those responsible for running the railway, as evidenced in a report in April 1878:
There was a glaring contempt for the convenience of the crowds of people who patronised this railway... For upwards of three hours no train came to Glenelg, although on ordinary days the arrivals and departures are hourly. Crowds of women and children were kept waiting in the cold until after seven o?clock for the means of conveyance on which they had a right to depend.
When at last a train did arrive they had to scramble into the cars as they could, and there they were in darkness, not a lamp being lit, while larrikins and boors smoked in their faces or insulted them far more grossly... the company has shown, as a rule, an utter incapacity to meet emergencies of the occasion [and shows] a perfect indifference to the convenience of its customers.
This parlous situation continued unchanged into the next decade when a citizen pronounced that:
The general public are much indebted to the press for the vigorous way they have referred to the eccentric and erratic rules in force on the Glenelg railway... There is not a poverty stricken line in the United Kingdom whose directors would conduct it in the same manner. Great inconvenience was caused on January 3 at 10 pm by the tedious waiting of a train. Twenty minutes it stood with the living freight densely packed, a stifling fetid atmosphere and the noise from half-suffocated children, a perfect pandemonium, a reminder of the ?Black Hole of Calcutta?. Then there is the question of fares. Many a decent old lady and uninitiated old gentlemen have to pay the inevitable nine pence single fare, single journey, second class, if in the crush for a ?cheap? ticket they have been unable to secure one...
The 1890s were heralded by a budding poet who described in verse a trip to the Bay with a passing mention to Morphettville and environs:
One or two strange dwellings appear,
Structures from Canada, desolate here,
Wistfully pleading, as wordless they stand,
?Critic be kind, we are strange to the land.?
Lonely pavilion and station are here,
Stables, enclosures, all listless remain,
Reigning supreme on the evening-lit plain,
Look at the fennel so stately and fair,
Fennel that grows in a wee hollow there,
Where the shy Sturt ripples slowly away,
Teeters and fennel hold absolute sway.
And in the distance, outlined by the skies,
Shed of St. Leonard's familiarly rise,
While the shrill whistle, now shrieking anew,
Piercingly heralds, ?Glenelg is in view?.
One small enclosure surrounded with weed
Comes into sight as the train slackens speed,
Glimpses of concrete, deep-fissured with sand,
Marks where the skating rink once had its stand.
And down the road, as the train wends its way,
The guard's bell proclaims - we have entered the Bay.
Now we are stopping, the station's in view,
Goodbye pleasant carriages, fair half hour adieu.
An explanation for the 'structures from Canada? is in the Register, 16 October 1879:
Sir Thomas Elder has made arrangements for the erection of a town at Morphettville. The houses and also a church, which are to be of wood, will be made in Canada... This township, which is to be known as Campden, will extend along the Bay Road between the Morphettville station of the Holdfast Bay line of railway and the racecourse.
For 41 years the engines dragged their weary length to within a few hundred yards of the GPO but, at midnight on Sunday, 31 May 1914, a gang of workmen commenced taking up the line in order to enable the Metropolitan Tramways Trust to utilise a double track then being completed in that part of King William Street. Thereafter, Glenelg line passengers alighted at a new station at South Terrace from whence they took an electric car into the city.
An opposition line constructed by the Holdfast Bay Railway Company from North Terrace was opened on 20 May 1880, but in November of the next year the two companies obtained the sanction of parliament to merge and, under the title of the Glenelg Railway Company, it ran two lines until the government took it over on 16 December 1899 following which an important improvement was made when a deviation was made at Morphettville to cope with traffic on race days which were not without incident:
This afternoon I went to the races... The train was crammed. One young fellow was sick and though two police constables were near no notice was taken. The trip was very uncomfortable and the police constables were crowded in as much as the passengers and consequently I do not blame them... I stopped at the racecourse until the last race was run. Sundry fights took place but no one in authority noticed them. The train came down and was rushed with passengers. Some persons got on top of the carriages; three or four policemen tried to pull them off and partly succeeded, but when the train started at 5.15 pm, sixteen passengers rode on top...
I waited for the next down train and rode to Glenelg. Upon coming back the train was crammed. I had a seat in the first carriage up, but was so crowded in that I could not observe how many got on top... Upon arrival I saw 16 persons get down from the roofs... This is railway travelling with a vengeance. I trust you will use your influence to put a stop to it...
I travelled on the line on Monday and noticed with pleasure men getting on top, because it relieved the crush inside. Perhaps it was because of the numbers who stole a ride from the racecourse to the Bay that when I got in at Glenelg there was no sitting and scarcely standing room. But it occurred to me that if... the company were to fix a double row of seats along the centre of the roof of each carriage, similar in all respects to those on the AOC buses, it would relieve the rush, and there would be no danger of the top being crowded before the carriage was full, as the smoke would be quite sufficient to keep all those who could get places inside the carriage.
To the tune of blaring motor horns and the cheers of hundreds of citizens, the last train on the original line panted its swan song out of the South Terrace station. From city to seaside its reception at every wayside station and cross street was akin to a royal procession, but when it came to the point of parting forever with the trains old patrons rallied in force to the call of sentiment. Between 500 and 600 people rode on it for the last time behind ?old No. 71? which, as it had done off and on during the past 30 years, ?pulled the load uncomplainingly and unquestioningly.? In the crowded square at the journey's end the final act was staged when men clambered up to the engine cab and begged the driver to autograph their tickets.
Two Decades of Indecision - Railways Versus Motor Buses and Electric Locomotion
With the advent of the electric tram in 1909 a prolific source of complaint by residents of Glenelg, especially during hot or rainy weather, was the shortage of electric cars to connect with the Victoria Square trains both in and out of the city. The train stopped in King William Street and poured out hundreds of passengers who, almost invariably, found it necessary to complete their journey to the business centres on foot, unless they were prepared to wait upwards of eight minutes for a tram car. However, it was an ill wind that ?blowed no good? and cab-drivers reaped quite a harvest from the Glenelg people and this was exacerbated by the fact that parliament had refused to allow the electrification of the railway which would have put an end to the problem.
In 1925, hoping to secure a majority of the road traffic to Glenelg, two-decker buses capable of carrying 45 people, were considered for introduction on to Anzac Highway by the Railways Department for it was pointed out that East Glenelg and environs were poorly served, while ?buses at present running to and from the Bay will find in these new type buses serious competitors.?
As the law stood at the time the corporation at Glenelg found itself in the position of being unable to refuse licences to motor buses to ply for hire in the town, the result being that licences had to be handed out to all and sundry. By 1926, in all, 40 licences had been issued. To overcome the situation the corporation framed new by-laws in January 1926 giving it complete control over the time tables, fares, etc., appertaining to licensees.
By 1928, with the installation of new generators at the Port Adelaide powerhouse and a twofold increase in generated electricity, the railways commissioners indicated that the Glenelg railway would be electrified and for that purpose lines were laid in East Terrace and Althorpe Place, Glenelg, to connect the two tracks, while extensive work was done at Forestville to connect the South Terrace railway to the hills? system. Later it was stated that, on account of the heavy cost of running a single unit of electric railway, the traffic would be catered for by motor rail cars.
Motorised cabs were introduced in 1904 and plied their trade along the Bay Road and elsewhere, much to the chagrin of the horse cabbies, one of whom said:
I don?t think the motor cab will live long and we hope it will soon die out. Of course, it is a new thing and for a time people will patronise it, but it cannot do all our work. As a rule a motor car only carries one or two people, whilst we are able to carry a half a dozen or more and often a quantity of luggage. Where we will suffer most will be by the loss of the short trips and this, to some of us, will mean a lot. We are not all able to take on long trips to the hills and many whose horses and cabs are not up to the mark, will find their week's takings shorter than usual. Another point is how are they going to charge? If they are to cahrge only by time they will be running people around for say two shillings, where we would get 6 or 7 shillings.
They are a perfect nuisance dodging about, and since they have come into use we have had to keep a careful eye on our horses. My horses do not like them and if I get a job and the passenger is standing near a motor car my horse will not come within 20 yards of it. The smell and the noise are too much for them...
In the meantime, motor buses were firmly established in dealing with passenger traffic. This was done in the hope of 'stopping the rot? in railway traffic caused by privately owned vehicles. The only result was that buses further depleted the passenger receipts on the Glenelg lines. It then became evident that the public would not walk either to South or North Terraces to join steam or electric trains and it was recognised that people must be picked up in King William Street, or some other central point of the city, and the only conveyances that could do this would be electric trams or motor buses.
By the end of 1927 there was a vigorous and well-organised agitation against the extension of the tramways system to Glenelg and it was claimed that they represented 95 per cent of the residents of the watering place, but there was no available proof as to the accuracy of the statement. All that could be said with certainty was that these critics would be tolerably satisfied if the government retained the existing dual train service and supplemented it by running motor rail cars on one or both lines at intervals and supplied an elaborate and correspondingly expensive system of ?feeder? buses to carry passengers to and from their homes in and about the seaside town and then reduce the fares in order to remove from the public any further temptation to travel between Adelaide and Glenelg by road.
However, it would have been the height of injustice to place at the doors of the residents of Glenelg the whole of the blame for the hopeless position of the condemned railway system, for the process of decline began as a consequence of official ineptitude and governmental incapacity, and the line continued to suffer from similar administrative faults for many years. The travelling public was weaned with a fatal ease from an out-of-date form of transport, whose management, instead of putting the railway into a posture to withstand competition, accentuated that competition.
While the bulk of the traffic was carried by road by the joint efforts of railway buses and buses in private ownership, the taxpayers found £100,000 a year to pay for the hauling of empty trains parallel with the crowded highway. It was a striking commentary upon governmental inertia that this deplorable state of affairs continued to exist, but it was almost equally lamentable that the government of 1927, at the moment of attempting to apply what seemed to the only practicable remedy, was hampered, even momentarily, by would-be obstructionists. Indeed, for years it had been urged that something adequate should be done to supply this need and, with a reasonable project being developed, it seemed most impolite to interfere.
Mass meetings of protest against the handing over of the railway line to the Municipal Tramways Trust electric tram scheme were held at Glenelg and in November 1927 a deputation placed a petition before the premier, Mr R.L. Butler, who said it was astounding that people should complain of the? possibility of having to strap-hang in a tram car, but did not object to doing so in a private bus.?
At this juncture an irate citizen made his feelings known:
What a howling mess is being made of the transport arrangements for Glenelg...! The rail service is a scandal, and this owing to the citizens not being consulted in the various chaotic schemes foisted upon them.... The citizens should take a hand in this matter. Glenelgites seem to accept all the disabilities as fate - lose, pay up and make no fight... Take the latest innovation, ?the omnibus control?. Board and officials are not constituted in the interests of the public and trading community. One important point is that numbers of buses are owned or driven by returned soldiers. Are the authorities playing the game to these deserving men who helped to save the Empire and civilisation. Why should men who placed their life's savings in an omnibus, lorry or motor car be prevented from earning a living, solely owing to the attitude of the authorities in their endeavour to cover up incompetence...
The double-decker railway buses were placed on the road on 27 March 1927 and became very popular with the public for in the first three days 136,218 fares were issued.
Another meeting was held in the Glenelg Town Hall on 17 November 1927 in protest against the conversion of the railway system into an electric tram service and during the course of the debate Mr W.H. Jeanes, a former Town Clerk said that:
There was a difference of opinion as to whether rail motors would meet the case, but one was perfectly sure that they were unanimous against tramways to Glenelg. The failure of the railways was brought about by the bad management of them. There should not have been two lines to Glenelg and had they concentrated on one line they would not have been in the bad way they were found in that day. There had been lots of broken promises in past administration of the railways, the most glaring example being when the line was taken out of King William Street. At that time the people were told that they would be carried to Victoria Square as a kind of recompense, but a few years ago that promise was broken deliberately...
For many years the residents of Glenelg were served by the railway. Then came the motor bus, like a serpent into the Garden of Eden and from that time there was nothing but anxiety and the railway service became the plaything of the Railway Department. It was well said that when men begin to play with a thing as though it were a toy, they generally ended by breaking it and that is very much what happened to the Glenelg railway system. The electrification of the South Terrace line had been discussed over many years but the original scheme could not be entertained because of the cost. Besides, the steam trains were equal to all demands made upon them - until the arrival of the first motor bus and this new-fangled vehicle caught the public taste and the trains began to lose even the most regular customers:
The railway department decided upon what was applauded at the time as a very smart manoeuvre. It ran its own buses in competition with the private owners and seemed under the delusion that the latter would be forced off the Bay road. What happened was the railway and private buses, competing together for custom, fairly put the train service out of business. In the end the railway department was glad enough to escape from its difficulties by surrendering to the Tramways Trust and Glenelg has now to look to Mr Goodman. Unfortunately, that gentleman has not a very sympathetic manner with suppliants for his favour. He has resolutely declined to take Glenelg into his confidence, as to the price of a ticket on his new and admittedly excellent tram service. After a long and inexplicable silence on Mr Goodman's part. as to the point that interests them most, the Glenelg townsfolk are becoming both alarmed and annoyed...
On Saturday, 14 December 1929 Glenelg was dressed at its best to welcome the new trams when the Mayoress, Mrs Sutherland, drove the first car which was gaily decked with flags and bunting from the Morphettville racecourse. Huge streamers floated from verandahs across the street and the municipal band played.
"Omnibus Racing" on the Bay Road is discussed in the Register,
17 August 1863, page 2g; also see
18 February 1864, page 3e,
23 August 1865, page 3a.
"The Bay Road" is in the Register,
19 April 1897, page 5a.
"Survey of Bay Road" is in the Register,
2 and 6 December 1921, pages 9e and 4g.
Cruelty to horses engaged on public conveyances is reported in the Advertiser,
8 February 1864, page 3c.
A proposed tramway is discussed in the Register,
16 and 19 January 1864, pages 2h and 2e.
A complaint about the coach service from Adelaide is in the Register,
22 February 1866, page 2f - "... In order that they maintain their former prestige they must take greater care of their axles... As regards passengers they must:
Handle them tenderly,
Providing not slenderly
Take them with care,
Space for each fare.
15 March 1866, page 2d, while
an article on "Overloading Omnibuses" appears on
23 January 1872, page 5b; also see
30 January 1872, page 5c.
Reckless coach driving is the cause for complaint in the Register,
6 July 1868, page 2f;
a fatal accident is reported on
13 June 1871, page 3e.
An editorial on coach services is in the Advertiser,
22 January 1872, page 2e; also see
31 January 1872, page 2f.
Complaints from a passenger in respect of smoking on railways and the prevalence of dirty boots is set out in the Register,
20 April 1874, page 6e.
The Register of
12 November 1855, page 2b has an editorial re a proposed railway to Glenelg from Adelaide, while on
20 November 1855, page 3a a public meeting in respect of the proposal is reported; also see
27 November 1855, page 3b,
6 and 14 December 1855, pages 3e and 2g,
30 August 1860, page 2g.
"A [proposed] line of animal-power railway" from Adelaide is reported in the Register of 1858 -
17 May (p. 3h),
28 July (p. 2f),
10 August (p. 4b- supp ),
27 and 29 September (pp. 4c and 3d) and
1 November (p. 3e).
"The Glenelg Railway" is in the Observer,
1 September 1860, page 1a (supp.).
A proposed tramway is discussed in the Express,
16 January 1864, page 2d,
16 and 19 January 1864, pages 2h and 2e; also see
15 and 16 August 1866, pages 2d and 3a and
22 June and 2 July 1867, pages 3d and 3f.
"City and Glenelg Railway" is in the Register,
16 August 1866, page 3a,
2 July 1867, page 3f.
An editorial headed "Adelaide Marine and Suburban Railway" is in the Register,
21 December 1868, page 2c; also see
22 December 1868, page 2e,
4, 7, 16 and 18 January 1869, pages 3c, 2f, 3g and 2b,
19 and 21 January 1869, pages 2c and 2c,
11 June 1869, page 3e and
Parliamentary Paper 209/1869-70 and 103/1871.
The Register of 15 January 1870, page 5b says:
The projectors of the Holdfast Bay Railway have been checkmated in a most vexatious way... for Mr John Morphett [President of the Legislative Council] ruled that [the Bill] was out of order because "Holdfast Bay" was not the name of the locality which formed the destination of the line...
19 March 1870, page 5e;
30 March 1871, page 5;
4 May 1871, page 6b;
15 and 23 May 1871, pages 3e and 5f;
7 June 1871, page 6d;
30 August 1871, page 3f;
9 September 1871, page 4f;
7 November 1871, page 5a.
A feature article appears on
22 October 1872, page 6c; also see
26 November 1872, page 5c and
20 December 1872, page 5b;
29 March 1873, page 5c;
30 and 31 May 1873, pages 6a and 6e.
"Railway Romance - First Iron Horse to Glenelg" is in The Mail,
28 January 1928, page 4,
"Glenelg Railways - Early History Recalled" in the Advertiser,
30 March 1929, page 13e.
"Saw First Train to Glenelg", the reminiscences of William Rugless, is in The Mail,
30 March 1929, page 12e.
A history of the railway is in the Express,
29 May 1914, page 4b.
The opening of the railway is reported in the Register,
4 August 1873, page 6d; also see
11 August 1873, page 5d.
"The Glenelg Railway and Victoria Square" is in the Register,
27 and 28 January 1874, pages 5a-6b and 5b,
3 and 27 February 1874, pages 5c and 4f,
24 March 1874, page 5c,
31 January 1874, page 11a,
7 March 1874, page 11f,
4 April 1874, page 13f.
An editorial on the railway is in the Register,
26 January 1874, page 4; also see
29 September 1875, page 4f,
24 January 1876, page 6e,
3 January 1877, page 4e,
8 February 1879, page 4f.
For the controversy of the railway passing through Victoria Square see
also see Adelaide - Transport - Railways and Place Names - Victoria Square.
"The Glenelg Railway and Glenelg - Their Perfections and Imperfections" is in the Register,
16 January 1877, page 6d.
"Railway Muddling" is in the Express,
24 and 25 April 1878, pages 3b and 2c.
An amusing letter about the trials and tribulations of travelling on the railway on a race-day is in the Register,
13 September 1878, page 6d; also see
15 and 17 April 1879, pages 6e and 6b.
Parliamentary Paper 153/1876 and 118 and 164/1877 traverse the subject of the proposed private railway between Glenelg and Brighton - see
3 February 1876, page 6c,
26 August 1876, page 6d,
27 September 1876, page 4g,
10 and 11 November 1876, pages 7d and 5c,
30 November 1878, page 11d,
8 January 1879, page 7a,
7 and 8 February 1879, pages 6c and 4f-5a,
15 April 1879, page 4c,
17 and 29 May 1879, pages 6c and 6b; also see
Parliamentary Paper 100/1878 and notes Brighton.
"The Glenelg Railway and Glenelg - Their Perfections and Their Imperfections" is in the Register,
16 January 1877, page 6d.
An editorial on the railway is in the Advertiser,
24 April 1878, page 4e,
11 May 1878, page 7e,
15 June 1878, page 11a; also see
15 and 17 April 1879, pages 6e and 7b,
13 and 14 August 1879, pages 6b and 7c,
11 and 29 September 1879, pages 5b and 6e.
A ceremony in respect of the construction of a new line of railway to Adelaide is reported in the Register,
14 and 16 (supp.) May 1879, pages 5b and 1a,
1 May 1880, page 5a.
Its opening is reported on
25 May 1880, page 6b.
Sketches and other information are in Frearson's Weekly,
12 June 1880, pages 209 and 213.
A feature article on the Holdfast Bay Railway Company is in the Register,
29 September 1879, page 6e; also see
18 November 1879, page 5f.
A meeting of the Glenelg and Suburban Railway Company is reported in the Register,
15 November 1879 (supp.), page 1f,
Observer, 8 May 1880, page 768d,
7 July 1880, page 5b,
13 and 19 November 1880, pages 7a and 4d.
"The Railways to Glenelg" is in the Register,
19 November 1880, page 4d,
29 July 1882, page 12a.
A meeting to consider the amalgamation of the two railway companies is reported in the Express,
1 July 1881, page 3c,
7 January 1881, page 6b; also see
1, 2 and 26 February 1881, pages 5a, 6f and 7b,
13 April 1881, page 5f,
21 June 1881, page 5f,
10 and 17 August 1881, pages 4e and 7c,
6 and 8 September 1881, pages 4f and 7c,
13 and 20 October 1881, pages 4f-5a and 6f,
1 and 12 November 1881, pages 4e and 6b,
1 July 1881, page 6e.
A letter Expressing concern at the curve in the line at Althorpe Place and a derailment is in the Register,
14 February 1881, page 6d; also see
15, 16 and 26 February, pages 4g-7c, 6g and 7b.
A "mysterious death" on the railway is reported in the Observer,
1 January 1881, page 31b.
"The Bay Railways" is in The Lantern,
2 and 23 July 1881, pages 2 and 1.
Also see Register,
1 and 12 November 1881, pages 4e and 5c-d-6b.
The first meeting of the merged companies is reported in the Register on
1 December 1881 (supp.), page 1c; also see
8 June 1882, page 6b,
29 November 1882 (supp.), page 1g,
30 December 1882 (supp.), page 1d-g,
1 January 1883, page 7g,
1, 3, 8 and 21 March 1883, pages 6f, 5e, 7b and 1d (supp.),
27 April 1883, page 6b,
1, 21 and 30 June 1883, pages 6f, 7b and 5c,
4 July 1883, pages 3g-4g,
25 and 29 October 1883, pages 6f and 5a.
Also see Register,
10 April 1884, page 7c,
31 May 1884, page 6c,
26 and 27 June 1884, pages 5a-7d and 6a,
15, 24 and 27 January 1885, pages 5c, 5a and 7f,
22 May 1885, page 7a,
11 December 1885, page 4h,
23 February 1886, page 6g,
24 March 1886, page 5e,
22 May 1886, page 7h,
12, 13 and 30 November 1886, pages 7e, 7g and 7d,
6 December 1886, page 3g,
29 December 1886, page 5d.
A presentation to Richard Allen is reported in the Register,
29 September 1883, page 5b.
"Pearson v Glenelg Railway Company" is in the Register,
5 and 24 October 1885, pages 5a and 5b,
13 and 14 November 1885, pages 4h and 4h,
10 June 1886, pages 4g-5a,
22 September 1886, page 4h. Also see Observer,
1 January 1887, page 39d,
24 May 1887, page 7f,
23 August 1887, page 5c,
13 June 1888, page 7d,
13, 14, 15 and 24 September 1888, pages 7b, 7d, 6c-h and 7e,
22, 24 and 25 December 1888, pages 6h, 4h and 4h-6h,
2 January 1889, page 6g,
12, 14 and 16 February 1889, pages 4g-6d, 7e and 4h-6g.
Also see Observer,
5 and 12 March 1889, pages 4e and 5a,
29 May 1889, page 6h,
18 (history of), 22 and 24 June 1889, pages 7f, 4f, and 7f,
2, 12, 16 and 20 July 1889, pages 6h, 7a, 6b and 7c,
5 and 20 September 1889, pages 6c and 4g,
16 and 21 November 1889, pages 4h and 4f,
29 May 1890, page 7h,
17 and 21 June 1890, pages 4g-6c and 6h,
9 October 1890, page 3e and 6h,
27 May 1891, page 5a,
7 and 9 March 1894, pages 4f-7f and 4h.
A presentation to Thomas Charlton, railway engineer, is reported in the Register,
23 February 1882, page 5b,
a dinner to Mr J. Quan on
3 May 1889, page 6h; also see
6 November 1891, page 5c.
"Glenelg Railway Benefit Society" is in the Express,
7 October 1882, page 3c.
An accident on the railway is reported in the Register,
9 June 1882, page 6a,
1 and 5 May 1888, pages 7b and 4h,
10 June 1882, page 32a,
27 June 1885, page 31e,
22 June 1889, page 31a,
28 January 1904, page 8e.
A new steam motor on the Goodwood line is discussed in the Observer,
5 May 1883, page 35a.
"Railway Passes" is in the Register,
5 October 1886, page 6g.
A railway employees' picnic is reported in the Chronicle,
24 March 1894, page 22d,
12 February 1896, page 4b,
18 February 1898, page 2e.
Also see Register,
11 April 1895, page 3h (proposed sale),
28 November 1895, page 4h,
26 November 1896, page 5a,
15 June 1897, 7g,
27 May 1898, page 5c,
25 June 1898, page 9c,
4 July 1898, page 5c,
4 (history of) and 16 August 1898, pages 7a and 7d.
A cartoon is in The Lantern,
23 March 1889, page 1.
An obituary of David Burke is in the Register,
10 April 1893, page 5a,
of J.H.C. Eitzen in the Express,
26 and 30 July 1897, pages 4f and 4c.
A farerwell to J. Cooke, Foreman of Works, is reported in the Register,
16 May 1896, page 6c.
A railway employees' picnic is reported upon in the Register,
18 February 1898, page 7e.
"Squeezing the Glenelg Railway Company" is in the Register,
17, 18 and 22 November 1898, pages 7h, 5h and 4g,
17 November 1898, page 6f.
An informative letter on the railway is in the Advertiser,
25 December 1899, page 7g.
Also see Register,
18 and 22 November 1898, pages 5h and 4g,
1 and 21 December 1898, pages 9e and 9g,
24 May 1899, page 5a,
26 September 1899, page 6e,
16 December 1899, page 10f,
17 January 1900, page 3e
1 June 1904, page 9d,
13 and 28 October 1908, pages 7c and 8f,
4 May 1909, pages 4g-6c,
19 October 1909, page 7e.
"The Glenelg Railway Company - A Retrospect" is in the Register,
16 December 1899, page 10f.
"North Terrace Line to Glenelg" is in the Register,
21 July 1906, page 9d.
Also see Register,
13, 15 and 28 October 1908, pages 7c, 9a and 8f,
4 May 1909, page 6c,
20 July 1910, page 15d,
8 August 1910, page 5b,
29 September 1910, page 6c,
26 October 1910, page 8b,
5 and 15 November 1910, pages 12h and 6c,
24 and 27 November 1911, pages 6g-i and 9c,
31 August 1912, page 18f,
11, 13 and 19 September 1912, pages 12b, 12f and 5f,
9 and 15 October 1912, pages 8e and 5f,
8 November 1912, page 8c,
25 December 1912, page 10f,
15 and 16 January 1913, pages 12e-13c and 7d,
7 and 15 October 1913, pages 7a and 7e,
25 November 1913, page 7a,
11 December 1913, page 13c,
16 January 1914, page 7a,
4, 5 and 7 February 1914, pages 8d, 8b and 13e,
3, 6, 21 and 23 March 1914, pages 10, 14f, 11e and 12a,
1, 2, 16 and 28 April 1914, pages 9f, 7g, 7e and 7b,
1 June 1914, page 9b.
"Sunday Trains" is the cause for complaint in the Register,
9 February 1878, pages 5a-1e (supp.),
1 August 1887, page 6f.
Electrification of the railway is discussed in the Register,
29 July 1909, page 6e,
8 and 15 September 1909, pages 5h and 14i,
19 October 1909, page 7e,
3 December 1909, page 7a,
29 September 1910, page 6c.
"Glenelg Trains and Trams - Both Sides of the Question" is in the Register,
7 January 1910, page 4i,
25 January 1910, page 9d,
1 February 1911, page 6d,
12 March 1912, page 9a.
"Regular Service of Trams" is in the Register,
7 January 1910, page 4i,
25 January 1910, page 9d; also see
1 February 1911, page 6d,
12 March 1912, page 9a.
"Regular Service of Trams" is in the Register,
26 July 1921, page 5d. Reminiscences of the railway are in the Register,
2 March 1910, page 6g.
"Man Cut to Pieces - The Street's Railway Toll" is in the Register,
8 August 1910, page 5b; also see
4 and 25 October 1911, pages 9g and 6d.
An obituary of A. Jackson, engine driver, is in the Observer,
24 February 1912, page 41a,
of James Wylie, superintendent, on 23 February 1924, page 45e.
"Linking of Glenelg and Brighton" is in the Register,
8 February 1916, page 4e.
"A Motorist Killed - Collision With Glenelg Train" is in the Register,
10 June 1916, page 9a.
Biographical details of Charles Rugless are in the Register,
1 November 1917, page 6h.
An obituary of Charles Eastick is in the Register,
9 February 1918, page 6g.
Information on the railways is in the Register,
23 and 24 June 1921, pages 6g and 7d,
5 July 1921, page 9d,
17 August 1921, page 6f,
7 June 1922, page 6f,
1 September 1922. page 8c.
"The Glenelg Railways - A Town Divided" is in the Register,
1 September 1922, page 8c; also see
30 December 1925, page 6g,
"A Rise in Fares" on
8 November 1927, page 13f.
An obituary of James Wylie is in the Register,
20 February 1924, page 8g.
"Two-Decker Buses for Glenelg" is in The News,
16 May 1925, page 1f,
"Glenelg Bus Traffic" in the Register,
11 January 1926, page 10d.
"Railways to be Electrified" is in the Register on
5, 6, 8 and 12 May 1926, pages 9g, 9a, 16d and 8d,
11 August 1926, page 8d,
5 July 1927, page 8d,
29 October 1927, page 9a,
2 and 15 November 1927, pages 10c and 9g,
29 and 30 November 1927, pages 10a and 10f,
4 February 1928, page 9e,
9 August 1928, page 11b.
"Big Losses on Glenelg Railways" is in The Mail,
18 June 1927, page 1f,
5 and 6 July 1927, pages 8d and 8f.
"Glenelg and the Trams" is in the Observer,
3 December 1927, page 39b; also see
15 August 1927, page 9e,
2, 15, 29 and 30 November 1927, pages 10c, 9g, 10a and 10f,
21 December 1927, page 12d.
"Last Train to Glenelg" is in the Register,
3 April 1929, pages 1-3c,
3 April 1929, pages 10 (photo) and 11e,
13 April 1929, page 20e.
"Trams to Glenelg - Official Opening" is in the Advertiser,
18 September 1929, page 13d.
A feature article appears on
14 December 1929, pages 12-13.
Photographs are in the Observer,
23 November 1929, page 34,
21 December 1929, page 31.
For information on the Glenelg-North Terrace railway see Advertiser,
6 August 1931, page 9c.
"Glenelg Bus Traffic - Bringing it Under Control" is in the Register,
11 January 1926, page 10d.
The introduction of a double-decker bus service from Adelaide is reported on
28 April 1926, page 8f.
A proposal to electrify the railway is in the Observer,
8 May 1926, page 41e.
"Glenelg Buses" is in the Register,
7, 8 and 25 November 1927, pages 8g, 15f and 10h,
"Cars V Buses" on
25 January 1928, page 9h.
"Trams Not Wanted" is in the Observer,
26 November 1927, page 49a,
3 and 10 December 1927, pages 39b and 65c,
4 February 1928, page 9e,
24 July 1928, page 9c,
2 November 1928, page 8f,
1 December 1928, page 10,
13 and 15 November 1929, pages 4d and 6c,
14 December 1929, page 2c.
The photograph on page 128 of Manning's Place Names of South Australia is of particular interest for it clearly shows the extreme width of the carriages imported by the original company. They were wider than those used on government railways and consequently a workshop at Saint Leonards was maintained because the carriages could not traverse the lines to Islington.
Also see Adelaide - Beaches and Bathing
The Hazards of Sea Bathing
Modern fashion in feminine attire disquiet the puritan's mind... Our open columns have borne testimony to the shock occasioned by the bare arms and legs of sea bathers... Hence the enactment of by-laws requiring... a neck-to-knee covering, or, as allowed at Glenelg, the wearing of a single-piece costume with a V-piece.
(Advertiser, 29 January 1931, p. 6.)
During the first few decades of colonial settlement the men didn?t trouble about wearing costumes but bathed in their birthday suits and, of course, were relegated to a position about a mile away from the jetties. The women folk, by payment, had the use of bathing machines. These were weird contrivances like a tiny room on wheels and the woman in charge would hitch a horse to this caravan after the ladies had clambered aboard and tow it into about two feet of water. Those inside the ?kennel? would doff the multitudinous garments then worn and then don the bathing suit. Shades of our ancestors! How they must stare at the present day bathing suit of the ladies. The suit then worn was like an old-fashioned nightgown (only always a dark colour) covering the body from neck to toes, while the lower part was weighted with shot to keep the skirt from floating and exposing the hidden limbs.
Cautiously opening the door to seaward these nymphs would hurriedly scramble down two or three steps to the water and for about five minutes forms would be seen bobbing up and down in the water. They then climbed back into the box, the horse would be hitched on again and the machine brought back to dry land. From this it can be gathered that women as a rule did not do much in the bathing line and a girl able to swim was as rare as a dodo. There was a tremendous hubbub when women began to adopt more fitting costumes and there was nearly a riot at Glenelg when the first woman appeared in tight-fitting shorts and vest.
There were prosecutions of persons who dared to invade the reserves set apart for the opposite sex and the ?wowsers? of those days wrote reams of fiery denunciation, but common sense and perseverance, at last, brought about a change in public opinion:
Women have everything to gain by the change; while men have a pleasant companionship to look forward to. Present methods being so greatly changed, fresh regulations would of course be necessary and would need to be rigorously enforced... The idea that taking a bath is a kind of a mysterious rite, to be conducted only in secret, is particularly British, and hardly worth continuing to hold.
However, seaside excursions on the Sabbath day were frowned upon in some sections of Adelaide society and, in particular, the hierarchy of the churches and satellites who raised serious objections and a worker was to complain:
Am I after slaving six days out of seven, to be debarred on the seventh day from taking a trip to the Port per rail; from crossing over to the Peninsula, and there with my wife and family inhaling the sea breeze, and at the same time admiring the wondrous works of God...
Once upon the beach a problem arose as to undressing and donning bathing attire:
To seclude the ladies entirely from observation during [this process]... four light poles cut about seven feet in length... pointed at the end [were used]. To these strips of canvas were nailed... the posts were fixed firmly in the sand near the water's edge... [and] formed a snug little cabin, where on hooks attached to each pole the ladies could hang their dresses or dripping bathing gowns...
Half the machine is carpeted, and has a well-cushioned seat on either side, the other half being perforated with holes so as to allow the water to run off when first coming out. There are likewise brushes, combs and looking-glass - together with a large hood at one end of the machine as well to keep off the rays of the sun, and the prying gaze of the curious.
Bathing at Glenelg
By February of 1857, notwithstanding that male bathers at Glenelg had a part of the beach expressly set apart for their own accommodation with a path leading from it close to the Pier Hotel, many seemed to make it their daily practice to thread their way to and from their own bathing place among the many groups of ?discomfited and justly annoyed ladies who have sought to enjoy the privilege of a sea bath.? Others stationed themselves in groups a few yards distant and it was considered that ?ladies have a right to demand their withdrawal from a scene where their presence alone, without the sauntering gait and wandering eye, are a disgust,? while an avid sea bather complained that:
The bathing nuisance has become intolerable. No respectable female can venture upon the beach at any time of the day or evening without being certain of having her sense of decency outraged by scenes which would not be tolerated in any fishing village in the old country.
I bathed there each day last week and on every occasion several females walked past within a few feet of the undressed men, while the sandhills at the rear were occupied by females seated and standing, intently gazing at the scene below, whilst from the hotel's platform it was universally remarked that the numerous females there were wholly attracted by the view of the men bathing... My experience at the Bay is that the gentlemen are far in advance of the ladies in modesty, propriety and decency...
Whereas public decency is outraged by men bathing within the limits of the Town of Glenelg... It shall not be lawful for any male person above the age of 12 years to bathe in the sea between the Patawalonga Creek and [half-way between Kent and Pier Streets] ... Every person who shall so offend shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding one pound.
In April 1863 three notice boards were installed; firstly, on the jetty stating that no person was permitted to bathe from the steps of the jetty except between midnight and 7 am; secondly, on the northern part of the seawall near the Town Hall declaring that ladies were not to bathe to the southward and, thirdly, near Mr Neale's house requesting gentlemen to bathe to the northward. These regulations apparently emanated from the Marine Board and, accordingly, as all bathing houses were within the interdicted limits it was made clear that they would have to be removed and in this regard Mr James Storrie lodged a complaint:
On Saturday afternoon, some of my family going to bathe, brought back the report that our bathing house was ignominiously overturned in the sand, door undermost, but that the children had managed by crawling in an hole in the roof to rescue the bathing paraphernalia... I have since found out it was done by order of the corporation... My bathing house was chiefly composed of deals which had done duty as packing cases and it appears the corporation leans more to shingles... Perhaps [it] has exceeded its legal powers in this little business...
No person will be allowed to bathe from the jetty or within 200 yards of the jetty between the hours of 7 am and 12 pm during the months of October-March, or between the hours of 8 am and 12 pm during the other months. No men or boys over the age of ten years will be allowed to bathe between the creek and the jetty and between the jetty and Kent Street to the south. Any person not complying will be prosecuted.
Glenelg beach is abundantly resorted to for bathing, but it must be confessed that the arrangements for the present are rather primitive there used to be one or two bathing machines, but they were not remunerative to their proprietors, and most people now content themselves with the sand for a dressing room. But there are a few private bathing houses and the number is likely to increase...
We lived a happy, virtuous and sober life; none daring to make us afraid, except, indeed, on one occasion when an eccentric Mayor made a raid on some of our bathing houses.... We have brought it upon ourselves by our unfortunate craving to be allowed a live policeman... I beg you to warn the citizens of Adelaide... that in future their means of ablution must be obtained from the service pipe of the Waterworks, as no amount of ?bathing pantaloons? will relax the instructions of our improved regulations.
It is monstrous that we should be deprived of sea bathing... Just to suit the whims of [picnickers] and their sisters... They can take their ride along the beach but we cannot bathe there... The regulations about drawers is equally absurd. When in the water the bathers cannot be seen and when out of the water the drawers must be taken off. No doubt it would be better if there was a floating bathing house, or if their were bathing machines or houses for the public... I was about to take my family down to Glenelg for some weeks but seeing the absurd anti-bathing regulations I have abandoned the idea.
I waited for more than half an hour between 3 and 4 pm before the coast was clear enough for me to commence undressing - shirt sleeve exposed had no effect. With much blushing on my part I dashed off my waistcoat. Still they came. I off with my boots and socks, paddled my feet impatiently in the briny. Still no go. At length, seeing a clearer space, I rushed thither with portion of my garments in hand; then off hat and desperately proceeded just in time to escape another lady, who modestly carried her parasol between poor me and herself. I got into the water without further notice.
Would, Sir, my troubles had been buried in the briny. But on returning from the delicious swim I felt a little chilled (it was a cool day) and longed for a scamper on the shore... Hopeless case. A governess and three biggish girls conchologising right opposite my clothes. I whistled, coo-eed; but bless their little hearts, the sun was in their eyes and they did not seem to hear or see me. I rose merman fashion, tore my hair and yelled. They, bless ?em, yelled and bolted.
[Two other] females ran to the spot expecting and looking for some sea monster on the sand. My clothes were evidently unseen by them... Another female was coming from the southward. They were friends; they stopped; they chatted; they seemed undecided.. At length the three came back between me and my clothes. Patience had its perfect work. Why, Sir, during the transit of these Venuses all sorts of manoeuvres to keep warm were resorted to by myself; and at last, with another female approaching in the middle distance, I bolted out as I bolted in, and left the beach in disgust. Oh! for a bathing company, thought I, so that one may swim in peace and dress and undress with decency.
At present there is no accommodation for bathers. A few wooden houses, like sentry boxes, stood along the shore in which are intended to be used by ladies when undressing and dressing; but for the great bulk of the residents and visitors there was no provision. The sterner sex, before a very early hour in the morning take a ?header? off the jetty, but this necessitates early rising which however conducive to health is not favourable to comfort or productive of good temper in all persons. Beyond this there is nothing.
Both men and women have to undress and dress on the shore, exposed to the opera glasses of over-prurient individuals of neither sense nor good manners. After doing this in the morning a man is apt to feel moody all day - sand in his stockings, in his boots, in his hair and ears, which no amount of washing seemed to get rid of.
The want of bathing accommodation is patent to all that are fond of a dip in the sea without an unseemly expose. If you approach [the beach] by the Pier Hotel you must pass over a road of rocks difficult to walk on and dangerous to ride or drive over even at a walking pace [and] I never do the one or the other, without great fears for my horse's knees and the springs of my carriage, to say nothing of the pains in the back and loins by the jolting of this difficult passage of rocks...
The motion was simply tending to benefit the baths. ?f the council would bring in some by-law to compel people in the baths to wear drawers it would be wiser on their part. I never saw so much exposure as there is in the baths. A rate payer said that if those residents who lived near the beach looked at the matter in the proper light they would ?just pull down the blinds and say no more about it? when bathing was going on in the morning.
The Glenelg corporation by their existing by-laws have altered the hours. Councillor Stacy, by his proposed by-laws, does not seek to alter the hours, but that bathers must wear bathing drawers or decent clothing. There is no question that naked persons bathing from the beach during daylight are liable both under the Police Act and the existing by-laws of the Glenelg corporation.
Will you allow me to draw the attention of the public to the nuisance.... namely men occasionally walking right in amongst ladies while undressing and undressing, they being on part of the beach set aside for their use, and jockeys and trainers regularly every morning exercising their horses and in some instances even going out of their straight way to get nearer to the unfortunate females who have to stay in the water until they are all passed, or sit shivering, rolled in a heap, covering herself as best she can from beings who are unworthy of the name of men.
Bathers of the male sex can testify that Glenelg is infested every hot day with numbers of so-called ladies who spend their time strolling in the neighbourhood of men bathing in order to satisfy their prurient curiosity. I have frequently seen women (I can not call them ladies) deliberately walk up close to young men in a state of nudity when they could have kept at a distance modesty demanded...
The 20th century was ushered in by an amusing complaint from one of Glenelg's matrons when she objected to:
[Scantily clad] people bathing from boats in the bay... When a corporation official remarked ?But, Madam, surely they are far enough out??, she replied, ?But you can see them quite plainly with field glasses.?
During the summer months many families camped out on the Glenelg beach and city dwellers were advised that ?there would be no extra fares to pay and tram fares to and from business would not cost more than the runs to the seaside each evening?:
It may be as well to warn novices that they must not expect to be enamored from the first when camping at the seaside. The change from home life is such that it usually tries the ardour of campers for the first few days... Rugs should be provided, for even on the hottest nights the temperature falls at about 3 to 4 am in a surprising manner. The baker, butcher, milkman or grocer will call at the camp... Another precaution should be to always have a ?fly? to the tent; that is a piece of canvas or calico stretched over it about a couple of feet above the roof. Where a family of two sexes desires to camp out two tents, or one divided tent, could be purchased at a reasonable price...
With a view to further popularising sea bathing the corporation installed electric lighting in bathing reserves in 1913 when it was hoped that ?any complaints concerning indecorous behaviour would at once disappear.? However, this was a fanciful notion for in 1914 it was revealed that Dan Cupid was alive and well upon Glenelg's beaches and near environs:
There was a time when beaches were mostly used for bathing purposes but of late the beach has taken a back seat and the cars and trains that carry the restless hordes to the seashore deposit human freight more intent upon love making than on bathing:
The seaside lover is a strange creature and the species is varied. There is the Sunday youth - the counter jumper or clerk who has smoked a cigarette for so long that he reckons himself a man of means and importance. His salary is not large, so he cannot be blamed for going to the beach ?on his own?. Yet when he dons his glad rags and sallies forth to the happy hunting grounds of the lovers his entire future may rest on the visit. Before he has made the last car he will probably have discovered a bliss hitherto undreamt of. He will have learned the manner in which she likes to be squeezed best. He will find his heart fluttering and before he has finished telling her that he has never loved before he will have made all sorts of rash resolutions
Glenelg [is] a fascinating study on Sundays and what tales the sands could tell if they could only speak and, similarly, young women robbed of their silence could tell many a tale of fickle youths and coquettes that would put Maupassant in the shade. If but one day's happenings could but be related many would at last believe that truth is stranger than fiction - all French and doubtful authors thrown in.
When I stray away from the beach proper and accidentally come across lovers enjoying the peaceful bliss of seclusion, I feel I am trespassing on holy ground... I believe that the artificial, elaborate secrecy and exaggerated mystery wrapped around sex has had, and still has, much to do with unholy excitement and the slips which cause so much sorrow. Do not drive the young people, the hope of the race, into dark places.
Youths and maidens have a habit - often a most objectionable habit - of sprawling on the sand in close proximity to one another and in full view of not unduly sensitive folk, who would rather that they did that sort of thing less publicly; but who is to determine with the aid of a municipal handbook what constitutes an offence on the vague borderline between the innocent enthusiasm of love's young dream and conduct which a policeman might properly regard as ?offensive behaviour.?
In March 1920 a man caused considerable excitement at Glenelg by removing his clothing and going into the sea in a nude condition and later walking along the beach. Mounted Constable France attempted to arrest him on a charge of indecent exposure but he resisted violently, a companion coming to his assistance and releasing him from the constable's grasp. Constable Kitchin, the officer in charge at Glenelg, came on the scene at this juncture and arrested the objectionable bather. They both appeared in the local court where they were fined and ordered to recompense the constabulary for malicious damage to apparel.
During the summer season of 1922-23 some metropolitan councils adopted a by-law making the wearing of one-piece bathing costumes ?an offence against decency.? The two-piece apparel blessed by these local authorities was considered by the majority of swimmers to be a menace in that there was always a danger to the wearer of having his arms and head enveloped by the top piece. South Australia was the only State where such a ridiculous law was in operation and a call went out from swimming and lifesaving clubs urging councils to permit the wearing of the one-piece costume which did not restrict freedom of movement:
The present regulation at Glenelg is a matter of ridicule in other States. The supposition of the two-piece costume cloaking the figure to such an extent as to obliterate the outline is preposterous, as once wet it is hard to discern it from a single piece.
Believing that sunbathing was beneficial to health, bathers were at liberty to stroll or rest on the Largs and Semaphore beaches in their swimming costumes provided their behaviour was not offensive, but at Glenelg and Henley the regulations were such that ?every person after bathing shall immediately clad himself or herself in a dressing gown of some non-transparent material, or proceed to resume his or her ordinary dress.?
In February 1924 the Secretary of the Royal Arthur Swimming Club asked the corporation for permission for its members to play cricket on the beach between the jetty and the breakwater jetty on Sunday mornings, the club undertaking to use tennis balls in pursuit of the game. In opening the discussion Alderman Dring said he did not wish the members of the council to be looked upon as a lot of ?wowsers?, whose only desire was to suppress recreation of any sort on Sundays. There were no dissenters to a motion brought forward by Alderman Dring and the appropriate by-law was amended.
Astonishment was expressed in January 1931 by members of many seaside communities when they heard that the police had ordered women bathers wearing ?beach pyjamas? at Glenelg to either enter the water or to dress. The enforcement of obsolete by-laws was to them an unexpected move. Most of the councils concerned had by-laws framed at the turn of the century which declared that persons desirous of bathing in the sea should be covered by non-transparent material from neck to knee. The regulations varied only slightly at various watering places. Port Adelaide's law declared that the costume should be neck to knee; Henley and Grange was, in effect, the same; Glenelg gave bathers the option of wearing a neck to knee covering or a single-piece costume with a V-piece:
Modern fashion in feminine attire disquiet the puritan's mind... Our open columns have borne testimony to the shock occasioned by the bare arms and legs of sea bathers... Hence the enactment of by-laws requiring... a neck-to-knee covering, or, as allowed at Glenelg, the wearing of a single-piece costume with a V-piece.
Mr White of the Glenelg Bathing House said that in all his experience he had never seen a neck to knee costume worn and what was termed to be of that ilk was generally cut away three or four inches below the groin. The thousands of bathers he stocked were of the modern type and the same conditions prevailed at all other places where costumes were hired out. The Mayor of Glenelg, Mr J. W. Sutherland, said he had a great admiration for the work of the women police along the foreshore more particularly that of preventing the offensive behaviour which prevailed.
However, as far as the present incident was concerned he thought the officers could have used a little more discretion:
To compel bathers to don dressing gowns or other clothing immediately after bathing would call for an army of police... Attention should be given to the custom adopted by some young men and women who loll about the sands too close together. If that practice could be checked... beach difficulties would be overcome... [I] propose to ask the council to modernise its beach laws.
The most robust of Britons, laugh as he may as what he is wont to call a grandmotherly legislation, would scarcely plead for absolute licence in this matter, or insist that moral suasion is all that is required to check excesses. By the seaside there is greater temptation than there is in, say, Rundle Street, to throw off the restraints of convention, and heedlessly, of course, indulge in whims which harmless, perhaps, in themselves are a rock of offence to others. Hence the enactment of by-laws requiring neck to knee covering or, as allowed at Glenelg, the wearing of a single piece costume with a V-piece.
The enactment has been outdistanced by fashion and the Canadian costume is no longer worn, nor is procurable, in South Australia... Popular opinion, adapting itself to new social customs, tolerates much that would formerly have been deemed improper. The changes which fifty years ago has made in the opinion is evidenced by the contents of a letter received in this office denouncing a proposal to permit mixed bathing at Glenelg - ?People of both sexes may bathe together in foreign countries, where there is no civilisation, but surely in Australia we are a little above that.?
As to the general standard of bathing dress to be allowed it was the opinion of the Glenelg council that it preferred to rely upon the judgment of the beach inspectors and the police to judge when - and presumably where - a costume was too revealing. Further, the Glenelg regulation was such that ?those in bathers may be decorous and within the law without feeling they were being harassed?:
The council strives for decency on the beach which is the most popular in the metropolitan area... its regulation stipulates that the bottoms of the bathers must reach at least two inches or thereabouts below the crutch. Silk or artificial silk is banned...
Possibly then, if there is no unanimity before the summer comes the manufacturers will design a costume fitted back and front with a neat blind to match, complete with roller attachment, so that it can be raised according to the law, or lowered accordingly to inclination.
In October 1933 the Glenelg council decided to prosecute three men who had been reported by the police for having infringed the bathing regulations by ?having their bodies exposed to the waist.? While it was anticipated that within a few years that type of dress and undress would possibly be assented to by public opinion and excite little remark, popular opinion at the time was that the process of change should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary:
Dress reform on the beach has already gone a long way within the experience of the present generation and will doubtless go further; but the more ardent or ultra-fashionable dress reformers are not therefore authorised to give offence to their neighbours by sudden new departures.
The chaotic condition of the by-laws made it ridiculously easy for a law abiding citizen to become a law breaker. By crossing an imaginary line, or by exceeding the arbitrary time limit, he could break a by-law and be compelled to pay a penalty. Anyone on the beaches from Brighton to Glenelg in November 1934 could have seen dogs, horses and cricket matches, all of which were subject to different limitations in different areas. It was considered by many reasonable citizens that it would have been no great task for the councillors to codify the by-laws
By the dawn of 1936 half an inch more or less of leg, or some trifling extension or contraction of the legalised area of bare back, could determine the source from which the hot water of odium and remonstrance would flow and the Editor of The News was constrained to upbraid local authorities:
Bathing costumes, like so many other things, were directly prescribed by convention and only indirectly by councillors whose heads ached at the mere thought of beach regulations; and convention was the rule imposed upon the minority by the views of life common to the majority.
One of the most interesting points in support of the new fashion is that the present King and his brothers wear topless garb while swimming and sunbaking (Any Doubting Thomas can be confounded by photographs in leading London magazines). The whole vexed question would take on a different complexion if councils instructed their beach inspectors to use discretion when taking names of ?indecent? bathers...
I am not now personally opposed... but whether they will be allowed at Glenelg this summer depends entirely on the council... A parade of the new fashions would convince them that there is nothing immodest about the costumes... The council will have to yield eventually...
The younger generation of men are rebelling against old-fashioned, played-out ideas and resent unnecessary restrictions... Topless bathers are permitted at Moana Beach and there are many who feel that Glenelg may lose much of its popularity... because of its bathing by-laws...
The hapless interstate visitor, in the form of an army colonel, who had been sunbathing on the beach on the advice of two doctors and had simply rolled down his costume to the waist, was fined £1 plus £1.11s. costs. At the same time the youth was ordered to pay £2 for non-compliance with the council's by-law, while the bemused colonel:
Packed up his trunks and departed from the hotel [at Glenelg]... The manager suggested that for the information of interstate visitors the council should erect prominent notices telling bathers that bare chests were banned.
In respect of this violation of local government law, both the local press and an apparent ?wowser? within the community proffered opinions and offered advice to legislators:
In respect of topless bathers an opinion [has been] ventured that the tendency among bathers generally is towards this innovation but until local councils are satisfied that the change commanded general sympathy and support they should continue to act as a brake upon the evolutionary process...
If the wearing of trunks on our beaches be permitted, then nothing but harm to sex morality can result. I would propose further... that the flagrant displaying of women's bloomers in shop windows be disallowed by law... I advocate the readoption of the practice of the older, purer generation of sixty years ago, in the wearing of bustles... Our grandfathers would have blushed for shame to see such exposure of bare flesh as is observed today.
The conduct of my councillors is beyond comprehension. I say quite frankly that they have lost all sense of proportion and reason... These things not only make us ridiculous but they cause an economic loss to the town... I have had boarding house proprietors, business people, hotel keepers and private citizens in my office to ask me if I could influence the council to lift its ban.
There was no doubt that the majority of the people wanted the reform and unmistakable signs suggested that they were going to get it. Indeed, members of the police force, who had the unhappy and thankless task of enforcing the orders of the day, would have welcomed the change to topless bathers.
However, the ?wowser? majority of the Glenelg council were of a different mind. On 6 January 1938 it was reported that businessmen and lifesavers had arranged a petition to be presented to the recalcitrant council, while the Premier, Mr Price, questioned the propriety of seaside councils dictating to the people.
On 20 January 1938 the Henley and Grange Council, and Brighton Council in respect of Seacliff beach, approved the wearing of ?trunks? and a day later it was observed that the Glenelg dissenters, if immune to public demands, ?would be left to enjoy splendid isolation.? The Mayor, Mr Fisk, opined that in his opinion ?it was only time before the they would be forced to bow to public opinion? and left the remainder of the civic ?fathers? to ponder their crass stupidity.
In a final burst of inanity on behalf of the ?wowser? element within the council, Councillor Fox, without any supporting evidence, blandly stated that ?the people of Glenelg did not want them.? The stalemate was remedied by Councillor P.J. Williams late in January 1938 when he moved a motion to ?follow the leader? and, reluctantly, Glenelg succumbed to the will of the people and, in doing so, earned for itself a doubtful honour in the annals of South Australian local government history in that it was the last to introduce this reasonable reform.
Tidal Waves at the Bay!
For some time in 1869 a rumour gained currency that a meteorologist, a certain Captain Saxby, had predicted that an immense tidal wave was to make its appearance 6 October 1869 along our coast of a height sufficient to devastate the plains and swallow up the inhabitants:
Already the superstitious, uneducated and some of the weaker sex are seriously alarmed and in the bare anticipation of this direful calamity tears enough have been shed by elderly females having relatives residing within the doomed area more than sufficient in my estimation to create a tidal wave larger than any we shall see on our coast... Yesterday the superintendent of a suburban Sunday school had to address scholars on the subject in order to allay their fears... Go east or west, north or south, the anticipated tidal wave is the engrossing subject of converse.
Some immigrants in Adelaide have left the city for the hills. A community leader said that because of language difficulties [they] were not aware of the scientific articles published over the last few days refuting the prediction. One man who is out to prove there is nothing in it at all is [the Premier]. He has promised to stand Canute-like on Glenelg beach. The jetty nearby will be the venue for a [party] and guest have been asked to wear flippers, a snorkel and bow tie and the host has promised to provide plastic bottles in which the party goers can leave distress messages.
I laughed at the nonsense and agreed we should not give it publicity. It was, however, reported in the media. [At a Greek Church gathering] I was asked if I would publicly reassure their people about it... [for there was] an alarming degree of ignorant panic among their flock... After some thought I agreed... Suddenly I was elevated publicly to a second Canute. Despite my assurances thousands of people left Adelaide on the day in question... International interest was such that reporters flew in from England to interview me and report the event and the BBC rang to ask if it was true that all the snails had left Adelaide...
As the hour approached I went to Glenelg where a large and uproarious crowd had gathered - some selling 'survival kits? (snorkel and surf board) and some with placards advising repentance before engulfment. When the time came I pushed through the crowd to the foreshore. We waited. Nothing happened. Some champagne was broken out and we drank to perdition of all idiot soothsayers and I went back to the office.
A "caution to sea bathers" in respect of the hazards of broken glass bottles is in the Register, 14 January 1860, page 3b.
Bathing at Glenelg is discussed in the Register,
9 and 10 February 1857, pages 3e and 3a,
11 April 1863, page 2e.
Comment on broken glass bottles is in the Register,
14 January 1860, page 3b.
A correspondent to the Register on 3 January 1863, page 3f says:
Its only attraction... is sea bathing. A great drawback to ladies bathing has been the necessity of dressing and undressing on the open beach, exposed alike to the discomforts of wind, sun, sand and the prying eyes of male spectators.
20 February 1861, page 3d,
23 February 1861, page 3d,
2 March 1861, page 5f,
3 and 6 January 1863, pages 3f and 3c,
19 February 1863, page 3d; also see the
18 January 1864, page 2e.
A comprehensive report on the damage caused by a high tide and a gale is in the Register,
15 May 1865, page 2d; also see
15 November 1877, pafe 2c.
Information on a Bathing Company and details of its building programme is reported in the Register on
20 February 1861, page 3d,
18 and 19 January 1864, page 2h and 2e,
27 November 1865, page 2g; also see
13 January 1875, page 5b,
17 July 1875, page 5e,
25 November 1875, page 5d.
Bathing at Glenelg is discussed in the Register,
7, 8, 9 and 24 November 1865, pages 3g, 2f, 2f and 2f.
Bathing regulations are discussed in the Express,
5 February 1868, page 2e,
17 October 1873, page 2d.
"What Bathers are Subject To" is in the Register,
4 June 1870, page 5b.
"What Bathers Are Subject To" is in the Observer,
11 June 1870, page 8f.
Charges for sea bathing are mentioned in the Register,
10 March 1873, page 6e,
16 January 1877, page 6d,
1 February 1879, page 1c (supp.),
18 and 23 September 1880, pages 5b and 6a,
5 February 1889, page 7f.
Bathing regulations are discussed in the Express,
5 February 1868, page 2e,
17 October 1873, page 2d.
The Glenelg Bathing-Places Bill is discussed in the Observer,
25 October 1873, page 13f.
A feature article on the baths is in the Register,
17 July 1875, page 5e,
16 March 1876, page 2c,
18 March 1876, pages 7d and 10a,
13 March 1876, page 6d; also see
17 March 1876, page 5c,
4 April 1876, page 7a,
27 December 1876, page 5g,
20 January 1877, page 7a,
2 April 1877, page 5b,
1 August 1878, page 5c,
18 and 23 September 1880, pages 5b and 6a,
28 January 1881, page 5a,
1 February 1881 (supp.), page 1g,
29 October 1881, page 5b,
1 August 1882, page 5a,
4, 5, 8 and 10 January 1883, pages 5d, 6f, 6c and 1g (supp.),
15 February 1884, page 3e.
A history of the baths is at the end of this section.
A presentation to J. McLellan, manager of the baths, is reported in the Register,
3 January 1888, page 5b.
A photograph of Mr Peter Farrelly, the Manager, is in the Observer,
5 December 1903, page 25,
for other details see Register,
11 December 1903, page 5f,
6 February 1904, page 42 and
of "King", the life-saving dog at the Baths, on
25 February 1905, page 28.
Mr Farrelly's obituary is in the Register,
23 August 1919, page 6h.
"Swimming Farrelly's of Glenelg" is in the Register,
26 December 1929, page 5a.
Photographs of the baths are in The Critic,
1 March 1905, page 10,
9 January 1904, page 25,
8 February 1908, page 30.
A fatal accident at the baths is reported in the Observer,
25 January 1879, page 12e,
10 February 1883, page 36a,
15 January 1898, page 30b,
28 December 1901, page 33d.
16 January 1890, page 5c,
20 December 1901, page 7d.
Information on the baths is in the Register,
9 February 1926, page 11g,
8 September 1926, page 15c.
Swimming matches are reported in the Register,
21 March 1881, page 6f.
Australian swimming championships at the baths are reported in the Register,
4 April 1892, page 7g,
9 April 1892, page 19e.
"The Glenelg Beach" is in the Chronicle,
18 February 1882, page 9b.
1873 and 1923 photographs of the foreshore are in the Observer,
29 December 1923, page 31.
"Bathing at Glenelg" is in the Register,
13 February 1877, page 6e,
16 and 17 November 1877, pages 5f and 6c,
28 January 1881, page 5a.
Also see Advertiser,
1 February 1884, page 4c,
5 February 1889, page 7f,
16 July 1889, page 5a,
16 November 1896, page 5c,
9 March 1910, page 6i,
17 May 1915, page 7,
22 may 1915, page 48c,
26 October 1922, page 8f,
29 September 1926, page 20b,
11 October 1926, page 11b,
14 October 1926, page 8c,
1, 7 11 and 15 October 1926, pages 4h, 10g, 5g and 10g,
24 and 27 July 1928, pages 10e (history of) and 12 (photo.),
22 November 1928, page 6e,
1 February 1936, page 5d.
"Glenelg Bathing-Places Bill" is in the Observer,
25 October 1873, page 13f,
1 November 1873, page 8d.
A proposal to lease portion of the beach for bathing purposes is traversed in the Register,
18 October 1873, page 5c; also see
30 October 1873, page 5c,
29 November 1873, page 5e and
11 December 1873, page 5c.
"Another Bathing Annoyance" is in the Register,
10 December 1874, page 6b.
A cartoon on a "Picnic at the Bay" is in The Lantern,
14 November 1874.
An amusing letter re bathing of infants in the sea is in the Register,
18 January 1877, page 6e.
A meeting to consider the prohibition of bathing from the beach is reported in the Register,
13 February 1877, page 6e;
it includes by-laws governing same; also see
15 February 1877, page 7.
Holiday scenes of the beach are reproduced in the Chronicle,
10 January 1903, page 43; also see
23 January 1909, page 30.
"Life Saving at Glenelg - Peter Farrelly and His Dog" is in the Register,
30 November 1903, page 4g,
11 December 1903, page 5f.
"At the Seaside" is in the Register,
1 January 1906, page 3i.
"Camping on Glenelg Beach" is in the Register,
1 February 1908, page 9b.
"Splashing in the Briny - The Australian Coney Island" is in the Register,
4 January 1910, page 7c.
"Mixed Bathing" is in the Register,
22 December 1913, page 6g.
Photographs of a swimming carnival are in The Critic,
11 February 1914, page 15.
"Calf Love on the Beaches" is in The Mail,
10 January 1914, page 5g,
"A Bathing Reverie" in the Express,
12 January 1914, page 3b,
27 December 1913, page 34d.
Complaints about the presence of horses on the beach are in the Register,
18 February 1915, page 7f.
A photograph of the committee of an amateur swimming club is in The Critic,
24 February 1915, page 9.
Photgraphs of bathing houses being washed away are in the Observer,
8 June 1918, page 26.
A public bathing house is discussed in the Register,
12 November 1920, page 6g and
24 March 1936, page 20c.
"A Nude Bather - Excitement at Glenelg" is in the Express,
2 March 1920, page 1e.
Photographs of swimming at Glenelg are in the Chronicle,
20 January 1923, page 30.
The playing of cricket on the beach on Sundays is discussed in the Observer,
2 February 1924, page 36b.
"Nude Bathing Parties at Glenelg" is in the Observer,
15 February 1930, page 62d
"Backless Bathers for Glenelg Only" is in the Advertiser,
15 and 18 August 1931, pages 16c and 10d,
14 October 1931, page 7i.
A "Clammer for Baths" is in the Advertiser,
20 January 1932, page 9g; also see
16 and 24 June 1932, pages 11b and 8d.
A proposed church service for bathers is reported upon in the Advertiser,
4 January 1933, page 8g.
"Glenelg Ban on Topless Bathers" is in the Advertiser,
25, 28 and 30 October 1933, pages 19d, 20b and 8g,
1 and 23 November 1933, pages 20f and 15d.
Also see Adelaide - Beaches and Bathing.
A History of the Glenelg Baths
Return from the baths was not as good as anticipated. The mistake was the cost of £6,600 for erection and the apathy of the railway company in spite of efforts to secure cooperation... If the plan of issuing through tickets - ninepence for the train and threepence for the baths - had been carried out properly a good profit could have been made. Another drawback was the fact that ladies were only allowed to use the baths during the day when their patronage was uncertain...
(Register, 1 February 1879, p. 1 (supp.))
As early as 1840 an enterprising Mr Bell of Adelaide informed the public that he and his family were removing from Adelaide to Glenelg where he intended opening a 'suite of public baths for the accommodation of ladies.? To this proposal the editor of the Southern Australian suggested that the same facility should be provided for the male of the species, but preferably closer to the place of work of Adelaide's citizens.
It was not until August 1859 that the local council contemplated the provision of public bathing facilities and the subject was the subject of debate until February 1861 when, at a public meeting in the Town Hall, the corporation's solicitors advised that to borrow money for such a purpose was ?beyond the limits of the township.?
There the matter rested until 16 January 1864 when a meeting at the Pier Hotel, presided over by Mr R.B. Colley, discussed the erection of a bathing establishment. Finally, it was resolved to establish a bathing company - ?not a company to force people either to pay or remain unwashed, but one which should supply conveniences for those who like to purchase them and which should make sea bathing obtainable at all hours by persons who do not reside near the beach, and who therefore cannot choose their own time.?
A plan was prepared by Mr E.W. Wright for enclosing about 15,000 superficial feet of water together with a 'sufficient number of dressing rooms? at a cost of £1,000. The company's capital was named as £2,500 ?in order to enable a bathing establishment for ladies to be erected also.? Several shares were taken up at once and Mr Moseley offered to rent the first establishment at £100 a year immediately upon its completion. The sides of the building towards the sea were to be enclosed with wire netting and the main framework to consist of stout piles, while provision was to be made for a false bottom in deep water for persons unable to swim.
A prospectus was issued in November 1865 when it was noted that ?at present [citizens are] under many disadvantages? and that 300 shares had been taken up. Provisional Committee members were - Messrs R.A. Tarlton, J. Sanders, F. Furniss, H. Moseley, Y.W. Hodge, J. Johnstons, A. Low and T.H. Jones. Nothing eventuated from these endeavours and it was not until January 1875 that ?the oft-suggested starting of a bathing company [was] undertaken by a number of residents and other persons interested in Glenelg.?
For many years it was a 'standing disgrace? to Adelaide that the nearest beach adapted for bathing purposes should be altogether devoid of the conveniences ordinarily present in a recognised watering place. Near the capitals of neighbouring colonies properly regulated bathing places had been long established; Melbourne has its bathing houses at Sandridge, Williamstown and St Kilda; Sydney its bathing houses at Wooloomooloo Bay and elsewhere and it was certain that the boon would have been generally appreciated by the general public of South Australia:
The idea of having to undress and dress on the beach, with a keen or hot sun, prevents all enjoyment; besides the unpleasantness of sand in your clothes, sand in your boots, sand in your hair, etc., etc. Then again many lives would have been saved had the baths been erected...
We therefore hope that the Bill will be passed to establish proper bathing facilities at Glenelg, and at the same time, to set free the whole extent of the beach... The legislative action is absolutely necessary, as the waters of the gulf are at present under the control of the Marine Board.
Under his supervision construction commenced in December 1875 and, upon completion in March 1876, a neat jetty, 300 feet long and eight feet wide, led to the baths consisting of an enclosure 430 feet in length, by about 200 feet wide. This was formed by piles driven ten feet into the soil, the spaces being filled up by a picket fence having stakes about four inches apart. At high tide the water in the deepest part of the bath was about 12 feet and at the shallowest four feet.
They were opened on 11 March 1876 by Mayor Wigley and, in addition to the amusements arranged by the company, considerable diversion was caused by a couple of individuals, who cut capers on the water without taking off their clothes. They were first noticed in separate boats throwing the water over each other with an energy worthy of a better cause, and varying their pranks by jumping headlong into the sea. So fast and furious ran the fun, at last a boat capsized and the occupants, some twelve in number, were left to reflect in the water. They then amused onlookers by taking occasional headers from the platform into the baths.
Apart from these antics, complaints were forthcoming from female bathers who felt they had not been adequately catered for:
The Bathing Company's establishment is a very great comfort, but surely the ladies are very badly treated. The building is in the very centre of their bathing ground and they are excluded from the baths except between 8 am and 5 pm - all the hottest and most disagreeable hours for bathing. It is to be hoped that the Company may soon be able to afford separate accommodation for ladies; in the meantime where is the blue flag which is supposed to give ladies notice that they may go and bathe and men that they may not? I have never seen it flying.
Many complaints were forthcoming about the antics of larrikins who appropriated towels and stole money, while other senseless breaches of respectable behaviour included the defacement of dressing rooms, tearing down printed rules and capsizing the boat kept for use in emergencies. Further, by December 1876 the service provided at the baths and the civility of its paid servants were the cause for complaint:
It seems to me that two things which are principally lacking in the baths are clean towels and civility... I went to the baths and on asking for a towel a young woman handed me a roughly folded wet article which from appearances might have been used previously by a half a dozen persons. On civilly asking whether a drier one could be supplied, I received the answer, ?That's all I?ve got. If you don?t like it you can go without.?
Since then I have usually been careful to take a towel with me, but on Christmas Day... I presented a bathing ticket issued by the Railway Company and asked the male attendant for a dry towel. He replied not too civilly, ?You are welcome to one if you can get it.? I then went to the counter; a woman standing behind it told me to ?Take that?, pointing to a particularly unpleasant looking article, crumpled and dirty. Seeing a pile of what were at least smoothly-folded towels, I asked if I could not have one of them; whereupon I was told ?if you don't like that you can leave it and get out of the place?, the woman at the same time sweeping my ticket and towel... under the counter. I simply ?got out of the place.?
This expenditure necessitated a fresh issue of 2,000 shares at one pound and, ?as a punishment for their boldness, a storm came and snatched a dividend at the rate of 8 per cent out of the pockets of shareholders.? In 1896 the Patawalonga Creek altered its course and the stream flowed through them and caused the management some anxiety. This problem was remedied when workmen cut out a channel through the seaweed which had blocked up the original outlet.
Consternation reigned at the baths in January 1883 when a stingray made its appearance therein, coupled with ongoing complaints as to the general oversight of the establishment:
I swam in close vicinity to it and would surely have been hurt by it if some kind Christian standing on the platform cautioned me... Sharks and stingrays can come into the baths now on both sides in any number... several bathers have already stepped away, and frequently I have heard them remark that if they met a shark in the water they would faint right away...
It would be far better and safer to pull the fence down altogether than to have it remain in its present state for if a stingray or shark should happen to find its way through the gap, it probably would not find its way out and would be caged... One thing is certain; unless the bathing company makes a thorough reformation as regards the keeping of the establishment, in a short time the baths will lose all their customers, as everyone who goes there at present is complaining. People like to have a clean towel, to be able to put down or hang up their clothes without finding them with a month's dust on them when taken down...
When the baths were in good order many championships were decided there and names such as Dick Cavill, Frank Lane, Frank Moore, David Billington (English champion), George Read, Harry Moon and Annette Kellerman are well remembered as competitors.
About 1910 the fishing vessel, Janet, the largest cutter along the beach crashed through the structure and came to rest under the residential quarters with its nose in the sand. There were two fishermen on board and they scrambled to safety along the piles.
After two or three managers had been in charge Mr Peter Farrelly was appointed to the position in 1887. He still held the position in 1917 when the company went into liquidation. He secured a lease of the baths but succumbed to pneumonic influenza in August 1919. The Farrelly family had a wonderful record in swimming championships and lifesaving. His three sons, Tom, Hugh and Jim were all experts in the water and won many championships, while daughter Eileen gave demonstrations when four years of age and Kate held the South Australian championship for many years over both 50 and 100 yards.
During the tenancy of the Farrelly family cases of drowning were remarkably few due mainly to the excellent supervision and lifesaving ability of those in charge. Fifteen lives was given as a low estimate of the saves made by Mr Farrelly and members of his family between them laid claim to at least that number. One daughter, Eileen, suffered for many years from the effects of her experience in rescuing two children.
Probably the most remarkable rescue effected by Mr Farrelly was that of Stanford Hewish who was lying in nine feet of water for at least six minutes in 1903. A lengthy resuscitation by the Sylvester method brought a faint show of life. This rescue introduced ?King? the lifesaving dog, a cross between a bull terrier and a Newfoundland, whose efforts to assist was on his own initiative. Mr Farrelly dived for the boy a couple of times and when at last successful was surprised to find the dog swimming alongside with a lifebuoy in its mouth and obviously eager to help. Farrelly, who had become exhausted by the diving and the encumbrance of his clothes, would have been unable to take the non-swimmer ashore. Doctor O?Leary was called and provided medical attention and many hours later the boy regained consciousness.
In his honour Glenelg residents presented the dog with a silver-mounted collar. He was usually on duty at the edge of the baths and at any sign of distress by a bather he would jump in and bring the person out of trouble - if they feigned distress out they would come just the same. ?King? died on the job. Tom Farrelly was giving a lifesaving demonstration and during the exhibition ?King? had to bring his master out. He achieved the rescue and then died on the shore having ?exceeded his strength in a special effort.?
Mr Peter Farrelly was a practical engineer and the major portion of the original structure was erected by him. One of his inventions, the 'songee? for which he received ten pounds, made the sinking of piles comparatively easy and cheap. During the Great War the baths were free to all troops on route marches or manoeuvres and many thousands enjoyed a dip after a long and dusty march. They showed their appreciation of the action of Mr Farrelly by making him a number of presentations.
In the early 1920s Mr White, of Western Australia, entered the scene and was informed that the baths could be bought for £300 and was told that, in the event of the corporation doing so and having them removed, he would be asked to contribute portion of the expenses; he then agreed to pay £150 and for the corporation to take possession of all the material. However, the owner then raised the price considerably and this was refused. In the meantime Mr White's plans for a reinforced concrete bathing house on the foreshore was accepted and a lease for 20 years executed over the site.
The council then informed Mr White that it would remove the old baths within two years. However, his plans were abrogated by a telephone message emanating from the Crown Law Department stating that a claim had been put forward through the Harbors? Board to the ownership of the property on behalf of the Crown. The building was not pulled down and bathing continued under the auspices of Mr White as lessee.
In 1924 it seemed possible that an up-to-date structure might be erected to replace the old baths. James Farrelly, a son of the late manager, interested a number of business men in a scheme to erect baths incorporating modern developments, but sufficient financial support was not forthcoming.
In October 1926 a meeting of ratepayers was held to consider a scheme for raising a loan of £20,000 for the building of public baths because ?the present baths were not worthy of the town? and it was hoped to have the old structure demolished and a new one built in its place. In spite of unanimity within the corporation the proposal was defeated at a poll in 1928. This sealed the fate of the baths and with their demolition, which commenced late in that year, the whole of the metropolitan foreshore was without a sea bathing enclosure.
In June 1932 plans for a hot and cold sea swimming baths, with a dressing room for 1,100 people and a roof garden for dancing, were completed. The site secured on a 20 year lease by Glenelg Swimming Pools Ltd was portion of an existing car park having a frontage of 105 feet to Anzac Highway by a depth of 240 feet adjoining Colley Reserve. Provisional directors of the company were Messrs F.H. Taylor, merchant of Toorak, G.B. Inkster, company manager of Knightsbridge and J.A. Mangan, solicitor of Tranmere, while the plans were prepared by an architect, Mr C.A. Smith. There was immediate opposition from members of the Glenelg Traders? Association, while a petition signed by more than 100 ratepayers was lodged with the Corporation.
Southern Australian, 27 October 1840, p. 3, Express & Telegraph, 18 January 1864, p. 2, 17 October 1873, p. 2, 16 March 1876, p. 2, 15 February 1884, p. 3, Register, 20 February 1861, p. 3, 19 January 1864, p. 2, 24 and 27 November 1865, pp. 2 and 1-2, 10 March 1873, p. 6, 13 January 1875, p. 5, 17 July 1875, p. 5, 26 November 1875, p. 5, 13 March 1876, p. 6, 27 December 1876, p. 5, 16 January 1877, p. 6, 2 April 1877, p. 5, 18 and 23 September 1880, pp. 5 and 6, 4, 5, 8, and 10 January 1883, pp. 5, 6, 6 and 1 (supp.), 26 December 1929, p. 5, Observer, 25 October 1873, p. 13, 30 November 1903, p. 4, Advertiser, 1 February 1884. p. 4, 26 October 1922, p. 8, 29 September 1926, p. 20, 11 October 1926, p. 11, The News, 22 November 1928, p. 6, 16 and 24 June 1932, pp. 11 and 8.
Sport and Recreation
Also see South Australia - Sport
- Blue sea and ?fits of blues? will all be left safely below on Wednesday (a public holiday) when Luna Park... will be officially opened. With its thousand and one thrills and surprises, Luna Park will jolt jaded citizens back to a realisation that it is still possible to enjoy life. New zest, it is prophesied, will be given to life on the waterfront by the gigantic toy, which covers the dimensions of a small town, and cost a sum to build that is painfully reminiscent of the new budget.
(The Mail, 4 October 1930, p. 16.)
(Taken from an unpublished manuscript by Geoffrey H. Manning, A Social History of Glenelg - 1836-1936 - copy in State Library.)
From about 1900 it was realised in South Australia that the public must have recreation and the character of the recreation supplied went as far as most other influences in forming and modifying the character. Popular sports, also, were not overlooked by the social economist. Indeed, there was great knowledge of human nature implied in the famous remark: ?Let me make the people's ballads and I care not who makes their laws.?
Laws are frequently arbitrary enactments, passed, repealed and forgotten, but the amusements of the people are of national growth and of universal influence. Recreation is a necessity of our existence and the person who devises a means of healthful, rational, moral amusement is a benefactor of society.
In the halcyon days of the British Empire in all places where Britons congregated a watering place soon became a necessity. They could not exist long in comfort without a periodical run to the seaside where they might breathe the refreshing breath of the ocean and disport themselves like amphibious animals in and out of the water. London had its Ramsgate and Margate to which its dusty and smoke-dried citizens repaired annually to have the accumulated cobwebs blown away from them.
In Adelaide and adjoining suburbs there were entertainments in considerable variety as narrated elsewhere, but they were often unsuitable and costly. The Institute in Adelaide was out of the way and its accommodation strictly limited, so it was natural for the most convenient place of resort to be the most frequented. This situation was remedied in suitable suburban locations by the provision of well-lighted and well-ventilated rooms, where a supply of periodicals was kept, a smoking room provided, provision made for those who chose to indulge in a quiet game of draughts or chess, and the important matters of cleanliness and warmth duly attended to.
Religious people, however, did not always perceive clearly the importance of employing auxiliary measures to assist them in their undertakings. Indeed, much good could have been done other than by sermons, in places other than churches, and at times other than on Sundays.
As for temperance bodies their motives were, no doubt, well-meaning, but whether their methods were as wisely directed as might have been was open to considerable question. The complaint was made that after so many years of toil, the vice of intemperance was not checked sensibly and the blame laid on the number and attractiveness of public houses.
If these pious souls had attempted to outbid the hotels, by providing a greater attraction at a lower cost, they would have ensured public patronage and support, and if they had provided suitable resorts for the working man on the principles of temperance, with materials for social enjoyment and mental improvement, would have gained a larger amount of credit than what was achieved by wordy agitation.
Recreation at Glenelg
From the first, as if by common consent, Glenelg was chosen as the summer residence of Adelaide citizens for it possessed advantages not found at other places. It was near the city; the bay was open and the sands broad and beautiful and, from the time of the construction of the jetty in the 1850s, a pleasant promenade for visitors. The one drawback was that there was no vegetation, for not a solitary tree was to be seen near the coast.
Despite this, by 1866 the place had grown in importance on its own merits. However, nothing was done to force it into notice. Indeed, it could have been said that it had been culpably and foolishly neglected. The people living there were content to go on in an easy, humdrum sort of way, living quietly and leaving the township to take care of itself. The feeling of a stranger visiting it was that it was a dull, scattered, uninteresting place, with no amusements, and no attempt to attract visitors.
A watering place without amusements of some kind was, as a matter of course, very slow. There was not even a circulating library, that invariable concomitant of English marine towns and villages:
Long walks on the sands or cheerful promenades on the jetty might have sufficed for a few days, but by about the third or fourth day strangers were apt to be bitten by the ?black dog? of ennui. Angling off the jetty could put a day away and an occasional sail in the bay was sometimes to be enjoyed. The landing of passengers from the omnibuses, or the arrival of a fishing boat loaded with snapper, soon palled on the not over-delicate nerves of visitors. But for the evenings there was no amusement. Churches and chapels opened their doors for one or two nights, but, judging from the number of the congregations, ?week night? services were not very popular at the Bay. There were no concerts, no balls, no band to discourse eloquent music. Glenelg wanted a large public room where people could sit comfortably together and be amused.
Deposited tenderly and civilly in front of the Pier Hotel we spent some time admiring the display of bunting which waved on the roof... Leaving that institution we got onto the pier... For our own part we don?t think that Glenelg would ever have grown to half its present size but for the pier... When we got half way along we encountered a crowd of Portonians just discharged from the Eleanor. They seemed to be in the highest spirits, notwithstanding that there was no appearance of the hack races, nor even of preparations for the duck hunt...
There being, as we have said, no regular games, the principal amusement of the people consisted in looking at each other, varied by an occasional shy-off in the direction of Moseley's, ending in shandy gaff or some other complement of the season. Those of an artistic turn of mind found a real, though not a very exciting kind of pleasure, in surveying the green venetian shutters of the nobbish houses or in counting the different colours of galvanised iron on the verandahs. There was no other civic decoration that we can remember about the place unless it was the flagstaff which, however, did not take a prominent part in the festivities of the day, the mail steamer having been expected in every minute.
Taking a retrospective view of the event we believe the best way to enjoy a holiday at the Bay is to drive down in your own buggy, with your own dinner and your own wine packed under the seats;... To select a quiet spot on the beach and there and then hold a little domestic picnic... The only drawback to such a pleasure is the danger of being run over by shop-boys and journeymen tailors out on the spree, who have managed to hire an old horse for the afternoon and are afraid they won?t get value for their money unless they keep him galloping about two-thirds of the time and kicking the other third...
The Coney Island of South Australia
By 1910 Glenelg was being labelled as the ?Coney Island? of South Australia. It could not, of course, bear comparison with New York's great harbour resort, the opening of which was attended by upwards of a million people. One could not find at the Bay a Luna Park or Steeplechase Park, with all their accompanying sensations, nor did the rulers of Glenelg permit mixed bathing that characterised life at both Coney Island, and Manly and Bondi in Sydney. Showmen, however, realised that there was great spending power at Glenelg and scores of them set up for a regular season there. In that respect the Bay had developed markedly since the coming of the 20th century. In January 1910, nearly 20 acres of corporation controlled beaches and reserves were occupied with sideshows of the variety best calculated to attract and amuse holiday crowds.
The greatest boon in the show line for this season was in the ' Hoopla' game introduced from America. To the cry of ?Hoopla, a clock or cruet for a penny? prospective customers pressed around the 13 stands devoted to it. The stalls were railed around and equipped with an array of fancy goods and a better class of article in the form of alarm clocks and four-bottle cruets. Wooden hoops were supplied and sold at a penny a piece and the buyers were given any article on the stand that they could encircle with the ring. One man, whose skill was suggestive of a close acquaintance with rope quoits, carried off nearly 50 clocks in one day but the proprietors were not perturbed for his success tempted many less skillful people to try their hand.
Walking further along you would have met up with the old familiar merry-go-round and close by was the giant wheel revolving with its human freight. There were five shooting galleries, six cheapjacks, three vaudeville shows, two moving picture entertainments, 12 hoopla rings, one ?ocean wave?, one big wheel, a petrified woman from Pompei, a boxing tent, an Aunt Sally and a kicking donkey, all doing boom business.
There were three merry-go-rounds, one of the most popular being that owned by Mr E.A Brown. With commendable enterprise he had the machine brilliantly illuminated by electricity. The organ, specially improved for rendering classical music was lit up with three lights and the twelve spokes of the machine were illuminated with coloured lights with fancy shades - a spectacle that was a tribute to the electrician, Tom Farrelly. Five attendants in neat uniforms were employed and their civility and attention combined with the excellent music was a source of pleasure to patrons.
Untouched by this glamour numerous classes of people were on the Esplanade. They picnicked on the beach and couch grass lawns and responded well to the call, ?Deck chairs, tuppence an hour.? Sheets and blankets were hung up tent-like everywhere and family hampers supplemented with billies of boiling water purchased from the owners of various coppers gracing the beach.
Entertainment in 1923
In 1923 the latest craze at Glenelg to be had was at ?Chocolate Town? where the public caught the craze for a balloon game, prizes for which were boxes of chocolates. There were 14 ?handles - wheels with a handle attached - attached to pumps which operated on 14 balloons. A charge of sixpence was made to turn on one of the ?handles?, the first to inflate a balloon to its fullest extent receiving a prize. The balloon, when full, touched a small button which rang a bell and by this means the winner was indicated.
So big were the inroads into the business of confectionery shops in the town that a deputation waited on the Corporation and complained that:
Our trade in chocolates is ruined and at this time of the year it is more especially hard, as summer is our harvest. The balloon sideshow goes at Easter and leaves us to face the winter when custom is poor.
Foreshore Amusements - 1926
From being a holiday season feature, in the five years from 1921 Glenelg beach sideshows became a seasonal fixture. In days gone by at the Bay a host of peripatetic showmen assembled on the foreshore at Christmas, to disappear almost as soon as the holiday period had ended. But, from the beginning of November 1926, a multitude of them were doing brisk business and continued to do so until the end of April.
During the depression years of the 1930s there seemed no end to the selfishness, greed and aggression produced by a competitive society, with its invariable tendency to divide into rich and poor. This decade was to see riots upon the streets of Adelaide where workers, armed with iron bars and spiked sticks and branded as ?communists? by some sections of the press, protested against the action of government in removing beef from the ration issue. Bailiffs, supported by police equipped with batons and sledge-hammers, forced families from slum homes into the streets, while malnourished, bare-footed children in rags stood forlornly with their parents in queues at soup kitchens and dole centres.
For those among the working class, who were fortunate enough to have a job, one of the favourite pleasure resorts was at Glenelg where, in 1929, upon reclaimed land, the council granted a lease over portion of it to Luna Park (Glenelg) Limited for the purpose of establishing a place for public entertainment similar to that which had been operating at St Kilda in Melbourne for many years.
Accordingly, in February 1930 it was announced that a Luna Park, at a cost of ?at least £25,000? was to be erected and chief among the entertainments were to be the Big Dipper, an aerial railway consisting of long climbs to dizzy heights and breath taking descents, the Noah's Ark, a nightmare representation of that of Biblical fame, the River Caves, providing underground water trips in cool darkness, broken at each corner by spectacular scenes and a Goofy House, where natural laws of gravity would be defied.
The park was opened by Hon. W.J. Denny on 8 October 1930, the local Manager being Mr D. Atkins. Mr Denny cut the ribbons and the first official trainload of passengers went over the Big Dipper; later the governing director, Mr Herman Phillips presided at an official luncheon at the Hotel St Vincent. The park itself had the appearance of the design of a Moorish Palace and was illuminated an night by 5,000 coloured electric globes and 40 uniformed attendants in scarlet and gold uniforms were employed to run it. Entrance was free and a small charge made for participation in various sideshows.
The Big Dipper ran over 2,200 feet of track at a speed that reached 60 miles per hour and each car was strung with 30 lights and, ?like glowworms?, glided and climbed about the shadowy structure making a spectacle well worth the journey to see. Unfortunately, it was the scene of a fatal New Year's accident in January 1932 when Mrs Lillian Higgs, aged 26, died in the Adelaide hospital after falling from it.
The River Caves were built under the Big Dipper and entrance was made through the mouth of a large, water-washed cavern, where customers stepped into a slow moving boat which meandered quietly on its way driven by a sluggish current. The stream that accommodated the boats was 1,100 feet long and contained 50,000 gallons of water. The journey took about ten minutes and there were 17 changes of scenery.
The caves first setting depicted an Arctic scene where glistening ice spears hung from the walls and ice animals were so realistically mounted that one expected them to shuffle away at any moment. In one corner a full-rigged whaler, caught in the grip of the ice pack, was sinking slowly. Round the bend was a sealing party of Eskimos, small brown-skinned fellows, muffled to the ears in furry coats. Nearby lay a seal bleeding from an arrow and behind an iceberg squatted a huge polar bear.
Then the boat turned and here was the African jungle with brilliant multi-coloured birds and great beasts of prey. Chattering monkeys hung low from the tree branches, while a little distance away a lion crouched over the fallen body of an antelope. The next scene was Toyland, and here was a treat for children. A pert Mickey the Mouse played a saxophone as large as himself. Dismal Desmond contemplated the watery flow beneath him and a huge teddy bear squatted in the centre of the group. Other scenes followed in rapid succession.
A subterranean picture, with Father Neptune on an enormous shell surrounded by a bevy of fair mermaids; a lean, grey wolf howling dolefully to a yellow moon; a Japanese tea garden complete with dainty Geisha girls and gay with peach blossoms and wisteria. The settings of the caves were designed and modelled by Messrs J. & W. Rowell, of Melbourne who came specially to Adelaide to superintend the building of the decorations.
Noah's Ark was perched high and dry at the top of Mount Ararat - carefully modelled from plaster. The climb to the ark was such that many spectators were inclined to clammer for their entrance money to be returned, but to reach the ground again they had to return through he mountain by a different route and it was there that experienced more thrills than a night in a haunted house. In dark winding passages steps dropped suddenly and rose quite unexpectedly. Whirling boards spun the visitor so that they were set off in a different direction. There were floors that ran backwards and to attempt to walk swiftly was in vain; floors vanished from beneath, whistles and hooters wailed dolefully in the cars, dark doorways opened silently before your eyes to reveal fearsome shapes.
In the Goofy House you thought that perhaps you had strayed out of you path and landed on Mars for the laws of gravity were stood completely on their head. Drop a pencil from your pocket and it rolled up an inclined plane, water poured into a sloping trough and flowed upwards. You sat in a chair out of which it took all your strength to rise. Dropped articles rose instead of falling to the floor and so on until you felt like running to the nearest psychoanalyst to have your reflexes tested. Here was confusion, thrills, fun and laughter.
From the outset the company was hard pressed to make a profit because of the prevailing economic conditions and the corporation was obliged to lower the rental from £1,000 to £800 per annum, but four years later the directors asked for a rent-free tenure and, following a series of conferences, it was released from its obligations, when the ?Big Dipper? was taken to Sydney. What remained was a conglomerate of tin sheds where a variety of amusements were dispensed along what was known locally as 'sideshow Alley?.
A proposed Luna Park is discussed in the Register,
14 February 1930, page 3b;
its opening of Luna Park is reported in The News,
8 October 1930, page 3f,
"High Up on the Big Dipper" is in The Mail,
5 July 1930, page 13; also see
4 October 1930, page 16.
A photograph is in the Chronicle,
16 October 1930, page 36.
Cricket at Glenelg
"A Grand Cricket Match" is in the Register,
22 and 27 December 1853, pages 3e and 3e.
A meeting called with a view to forming a cricket club is reported in the Register,
9 January 1864, page 2c,
16 January 1864, page 1b (supp.),
30 January 1864, page 2d (supp.), also see
18 January 1864, page 2e,
1 February 1864, page 2d,
15 October 1872, page 2b.
A match versus Clarendon is in the Chronicle,
3 April 1869, page 7a;
Glenelg versus Thebarton, in the Register,
25 February 1873, page 6d-e,
versus Brighton in the Express,
22 April 1873, page 3e.
A cricket club meeting is reported in the Chronicle,
27 September 1873, page 10d; also see
13 September 1879, page 3c,
26 May 1888, page 3g,
20 September 1899, page 2c.
The first annual dinner of the cricket club is reported in the Register,
5 May 1880, page 5b; also see
15 May 1880, page 5b for further information on both cricket and football clubs.
The reminiscences of Mr G.K. Soward are in The News,
10 November 1928, page 4e.
In England cricket became a game to be played by all levels of society but, upon its transportation to South Australia, it was soon apparent that little support was to be forthcoming from the ?influential community? and, accordingly, it was unusual for clubs to last for more than a season or two.
By 1862 there were no more than five clubs in Adelaide and suburbs and none of them in the best condition. They had no fenced ground to play on, no convenience of any sort or kind. The grounds they played on couldn?t be called turf, since it was as hard and dusty as the metalled road. However, they had a code of ethics to be followed and swearing and profane language were forbidden ?on pain of a fine? and for a second offence, in some clubs, expulsion was the ultimate penalty.
The first cricket match at Glenelg was given due publicity when it was announced that a ?novel? contest was to be played between Mr Boothby's and Mr Maddock's sides near ?Cummins? on 26 December 1853. The players comprised nearly the whole of the members of the Adelaide Club, while archery, it was said, would be introduced together with ?the usual amusements met with at a picnic party?:
It may be hoped, therefore, that the ladies will honour the field by their attendance. The presence and the approving smiles of beauty were never lost, it is said, to cricketers; on the contrary, they seem to be animated with additional spirit by the presence of the fair; so that perfect cheerfulness and stirring emulation generally pervade the scene. Long may the custom of our land invite the attendance of the softer sex; and long may the manliness of the truly noble game of cricket deserve her patronising influence!
Shortly after the early hour appointed for the commencement of this ?kindly? contest, equestrian spectators began to arrive and ?ere long dashing equipages studded the ground or gave animation by their rapid movements to the scene.? His Excellency, the Governor and Lady Young were attended by several of the most fashionable ladies and gentlemen and ?every glance that could be spared from the players was attracted by the groups of ladies in their picturesque and graceful riding dresses and well-trained palfreys, ambling in gay cavalcade around the cricketers.? However, there was no exhibition of ?toxopholite skill?, although at least one fair archer was seen and ?a marksman eminent for hitting the bullseye.?
The next was played on 23 January 1864 against ?eleven squatters? on the club's ground at New Glenelg. The squatters were disposed of for 78 runs and the Glenelg club ?then handled the willow? and scored 99, 35 of which were made by Mr F.B. Carlin. Glenelg's players in these two matches were W.J. Fullarton, W. Bundey, H.B.T.Strangways, H. Law, A.L. Fullarton, F.B. Carlin, Trimmer, Addison, J.M.Mitchell, W.D. Fisher, J. Phillips, F.W. Stokes H.T. Morris, F.W. Frampton, W. Bickford, W. Mair, P. Needham, E.A. Wright, W.H. Squires, J. Roe, W. Townsend, G.H. Mann and Giles.
On Good Friday, 1869, the Independent Order of Foresters held their annual meeting at Clarendon where games such as tub races on the river were indulged in. As an added attraction the lodge invited the Glenelg club to compete against a local team and it is sad to report that perhaps the hospitality accorded the visitors overwhelmed them, for in two innings they could only compile a total of 24 runs, while their opponents struck out boldly for 57 runs in one innings. The top scorer for Glenelg was Mr Ralph who had an aggregate of seven runs.
The club held an annual general meeting on 12 October 1872 at Mr Caterer's Grammar School when the following officers were elected; President, Rev T. Field; Vice-President and Treasurer, Mr Fred Caterer; Committee, Messrs Millard, Pierson and Howard; Hon. Secretary, Mr John Lee and it was suggested that the 1872 season will be ?brilliant epoch in the cricketing annals of the far-famed Town of Glenelg.?
A return match against Brighton was played at Glenelg on 19 April 1873 where the Bay team, anxious to avenge their late defeat, brought a strong team on to the field. In its one and only innings Spiller knocked up a sparkling 29 out of a total of 51. Of its bowlers Mr Millard got 4 wickets. In response the opponents were 7 wickets down for 28 runs when:
Ralph by a splendid bit of fielding stretched low the stumps of Brown and ?with cunning deep? Millard assailed his wickets - short lobs and long lobs were in vain. Dawes? peculiars [sic] lost their charm; the yielding earth forbade the executing twist. Five wickets fell, yet these stood erect. At length the triumph came, Millard put in a grand bailer and the crest fallen champion retired [and] the elated Millard celebrated the feat by a war dance which evoked loud applause. The Brightonians now changed their policy - ?defend for a draw.? The Bay's efforts were in vain; with victory almost in their grasp, the umpire amidst wild excitement, proclaimed a draw [and] the players adjourned to the festive board.
An annual dinner was held on 4 May 1880 at the Pier Hotel and, in an address, Mr A.J. Diamond said it was probable that the club would soon have an oval of its own, and that since its formation 65 members had been enrolled and two elevens had taken the field during the past season. Among the leading players were T. Harrington, T. Green, R. Hooper, J. Duff, J. Rose and J.J. Virgo.
A special general meeting of the Glenelg Cricket and Football clubs was held on 13 May 1880 in the Glenelg Institute when the Chairman, Mr Stock, Mayor of Glenelg, advised that Sir Thomas Elder had kindly given ten feet more on both the eastern and northern sides of the oval and that it was intended to fence the property as soon as possible following the acceptance of Mr Miller's tender. It was also decided that any person donating one guinea or more would be given a free pass to the oval for one year.
At its annual general meeting in 1888 the president reported that the club had played 20 matches of which 16 were won, three lost and one drawn, while it had also won a trophy for the premiership in connection with the Adelaide Cricketing Association. Prizes were presented to Messrs H. Green, H. Hillier, F. Thompson, J. Brunton, W. Holland, A. Flight, A. Gates, S. Emery, W. Footer, G Webb and C. Oliver.
The modern era of cricket at Glenelg commenced in 1907 with the formation of the Glenelg District Cricket Club and its exploits are recorded in Historic Glenelg, Birthplace of South Australia.
Racing on the Beach and at Morphettville
Horse races on the beach are reported in the Register,
31 August 1855, page 3f
while objections to same are Expressed on
31 March 1875, page 6d; also see
18 February 1915, page 7f.
An event ?unique in the sporting annals? of the colony came off on 28 August 1855 when horse racing was conducted on the beach at Glenelg:
The change of moon having cause a tide sufficiently high to clear the weeds washed ashore by the late gale left a fine, clear, hard course. The sun beamed brightly as a ?May-day-morn? and the day was altogether such as the keenest lover of sport would have desired. Notwithstanding the hard times everybody talks of, and the dreadful state of the roads everybody grumbles about, the race meeting was well attended and from an early hour the Bay road was all alive with sightseeing visitors, including a large proportion of the fair sex. Among the many were a large section of the true South Australian sporting men, including several in the ?neat cord and comely boot top?, and making altogether as numerous and respectable an assemblage that has graced the Bay since the memorable and well-contested regatta held there prior to the ?diggings? interfering with such amusements.
In March 1875 a ?frequent visitor to Glenelg? raised objections to 'spurious horse races? and said they were disgusting to the lovers of sport and dangerous to the public at large:
At least one horse accident happened yesterday and the sight of a riderless racer careering along the most crowded part of the beach in the immediate vicinity of the jetty not unreasonably raised anticipations or more.
I feel assured that the gentleman under whose auspices these sports were got up would be doing better for the Bay by discouraging this form of amusement for the future, even though a few of the rowdy class, to whom alone it might be any attraction, were thereby discouraged from visiting Glenelg.
Racing at Morphettville
In March 1874 a company promoted by Sir Thomas Elder leased about 100 acres of land adjoining the Morphett Arms for the purpose of providing a racecourse ?n the self supporting principle? to which the Editor of the Register felt obliged to comment that it was the wish of the sporting public that if professional bookmakers were to be tolerated it was hoped they would be kept within bounds and 'settling night? would be kept within bounds in the city because it had become a blot on the sporting calendar:
The evil effects of disunion in matters affecting the turf have been exemplified in a marked degree by the history of horse racing in the province for the last five or six years. During the whole of that time there has been no regular Jockey Club in Adelaide and the burden of getting up meetings has fallen upon two or three individuals, who have shown themselves such ardent lovers of the sport that there is little likelihood of their offering opposition to anything calculated to promote permanently the interests of horse racing in a thoroughly legitimate manner...
Thus, the SA Jockey Club was duly formed and by October 1874 the course had been formed and sites laid out for a mound or grandstand, saddling and carriage paddocks and booths and it was proposed to enclose the course and make a small charge for admission 'so as to give shareholders a moderate return on capital and to offer stakes which would attract some of the best horses from the colonies.?
- ?It is peculiarly appropriate that the Laird of Birksgate should cull his earliest racing laurels off his own land, off the course of which he was the chief patron and promoter... I cannot help calling attention to the proof the Glenelg meeting affords that people will right willingly pay their shillings to see a good race, despite the deprecatory prophesies of a certain see-everything-for-nothing sort of social economists.
?If on an ordinary business day 2,000 people will gather at Glenelg and pay their several bobs without any bobbery, how many would do the like on a holiday... Of course if the East Park Lands could be equally monopolised this law would apply equally to that course, only much more so. But there's the rub! There's the problem that will perplex the Jockey Club in their use of the City Course and incline them to stick to Glenelg Course as the more profitable, despite the sneers of the disaffected, who insinuate that the railway will prove an obstacle to the latter and that, at all events, its gatherings must always consist principally of trainers. Leaving this puzzle for the present to 'stew in its own gravy? I respectfully dedicate the following lay to the hero of the first day's race meeting at Glenelg?:
The New Course and the New Cup-Bearer
(A Moore-ish Melody)
Oh! doth not a meeting like this make amends
For all misfortunes I?ve had in the past?
To see thus around me true sport-loving friends
All smiling, and greeting me winner at last!
Though haply in some of your hearts, as in mine,
Grave doubt for a moment a resting place found;
The Course has been fit and the day has been fine,
And the hopes of the Club with success have been crowned.
What doleful remembrances steal o?er the brain
In letting one's thoughts travel back to last May;
The new course submerged - the fierce downpour of rain -
In fancy again I behold them today.
As we ever think most in the hour of success
Of the dark day of trouble when Fate was less kind;
How many a former defeat, you may guess,
Does the joy of a meeting like this call to mind!
Since I almost resolved to bid racing goodbye,
Despairing of making a name on the Turf, -
Since month after month the new Course met the eye
A sea, with the Grand Stand awash in the surf, -
Since the knowing ones, mocking us, boldly outspoke,
?Glenelg in our lifetime no racing will see.?-
One month of fine weather has managed to make
A Course of the swamp, and a winner of me.
So fickle is sport, one event at the most
Is all we can hope now and then to pull in;
And oft a smug competence has to be lost
Before even that we?re permitted to win.
Yet now may I hope in the future to meet
On our new Glenelg Course with more permanent luck!
No longer the crowd with derision shall greet
The pick of my stud coming in with ?the ruck?.
But come! the more rare such turf honours as these
The more we shall prize them when collared at last;
They are mine, the two stakes; they are won and with ease;
I knew that ?Red Gauntley? would scorn to be passed,
Then fill up each glass to the brim as we drink
Success and good sport to the Course by the sea;
No more we despair, for good luck has, I think
At last right dawned on the new Course and me.
Perhaps the most popular amusement in England is racing... [and] one of the chief causes of its popularity was the opportunity given to the poorer classes of joining in free of cost... The present directors [at Morphettville] seem more to exhibit the shop keeping proclivities of earning a penny than the love of pure sport.
Undeterred by the ill odour they have already incurred by excluding the public from admission to the grounds without the imposition of a fee, they have made another move in an exclusive direction by placing even the public who pay in the hands of one publican, so they may be coerced into taking such refreshments as he may deem it fit to offer, or go without.
Thus yesterday persons parched with the heat and choked with the dust were unable to obtain water, ginger beer, lemonade, soda water or other temperance drinks. Even beer was unobtainable; spirits alone, made more fiery by the burning sun, were to be procured... Their chief desire is to shut the public out. If they persist in their present course they will doubtless shortly have to congratulate themselves on their success.
A regatta is reported upon in the Register,
30 October 1855, page 3c,
10 and 20 November 1855, pages 2h and 3h,
8 and 14 April 1857, pages 2h and 2h,
5 May 1858, page 2f,
10 November 1855, page 1h (supp.),
29 December 1859, page 3e,
30 January 1875, page 4d,
26 February 1881, page 5c.
Billed as ?the best affair of the kind that has taken place in South Australia? a regatta was held on 9 November 1855 at Glenelg. The organisers arranged with the proprietor of the St Leonards Hotel for the erection of a ?grand booth? opposite the Government Cottage where a German Band was in attendance and where an ample luncheon was provided at ?a nominal consideration?. In addition, there were many publicans? booths placed strategically along the beach, while three steamers were engaged to convey Portonians to the scene:
The visitors flocked together in such numbers that for the first time in its existence, perhaps, Glenelg was brought to a knowledge of the fact that, however pleasant and healthy it may be as a place of residence, its boundaries, as well as its accommodations, are but limited.
The sea beach presented a very lively scene being thickly studded with refreshment booths and tents, vehicles innumerable, groups of ladies and gentlemen, all engaged as busily as possible in resisting the rather boisterous wind and keeping the clouds of sand out of their eyes.
On the eminence was the sailing committee's tent and opposite, moored at some little distance from the shore, lay the Yatala schooner, appointed as flagship for the occasion. Around her were various small craft, principally the boats entered for the match... The concourse of persons at one time numbered between 4,000 and 5,000.
Among the professionals who contributed to the amusements the performances of the Tyrolese Minstrels drew a numerous and enthusiastic audience. Unfortunately, a grand ball planned for the evening had to be cancelled because the wind increased to hurricane force, while the streets of the town were all but deserted.
There was every possible style of turnout to be seen from the dashing barouche to the costermonger's cart, from the magnificent blood to the drayman's Dobbin; and in the afternoon more than one knot of loiterers were scattered by Rounsevell of the Pirie Street repository who came out in ?all pomp and circumstance? of four-in-hand. The strains of the brass band loaded the air with harmony and ?wrinkled care? seemed banished from the gay groups that sat on the sandhills or promenaded the beach below...
The beach was covered here and there with family gatherings who were picnicking and waiting for the various amusements advertised for the occasion. Far away in the distance of Semaphore the rifle corps could be seen at target practice and almost as far in the opposite direction were carriages and horsemen upon the beach where the horse racing was to take place.
Rifle shooting was a novel feature and the target was fixed about a mile from the jetty in the direction of Semaphore and during the first two hours the firing was interrupted by persons coming within range of the direction of the Reedbeds - a contingency that had not been provided against. The winner of this event was Mr F.C. Singleton.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Rifle Shooting.
A sailing match is reported in the Register,
21 November 1855, page 3g,
12 April 1858, page 2f. Information on a sailing club is in the Register,
28 May 1914, page 6e.
Boating matches are reported in the Register,
23 September 1868, page 2g,
5 October 1868, page 2g,
26 September 1868, page 5f.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Yachting.
Sailing Races at Glenelg
The tempestuous weather that prevailed during the regatta of 1855 prevented the owners of many of the smaller craft from displaying their skills and this induced several local owners to get up a subscription match amongst themselves in order to find the best man and the fastest boat. The monetary appeal was promptly responded to and on Saturday, 17 November the match got under way among six craft owned by Messrs H. Pennington, Y.W. Hodges, W. Sugars, W.R. Wigley, J. Smith and Thomas Wigley, the first named running out as winner by almost an hour from Mr Hodges. Prizes were handed out at the St Leonards Hotel in the evening where the ?victors received the praise they merited and the defeated, like true Britons, acknowledged themselves honourably beaten, but not disheartened and ready for another trial.?
A rather ?hastily-announced? event came off on 10 April 1858 when a sailing match was held between Whynot, Volunteer belonging to the Glenelg Yacht Club sailed by Mr Shepherd and the Faithful sailed by Mr Sugars. The match was closely competed by the Whynot and Volunteer, the latter winning by 15 minutes owing to a shift of wind in her favour. The respective owners were so confident of their ?fast qualities? that another match was arranged for a sail around the lightship for 10 sovereigns a side.
A Fishermen's Sailing Boat Race was held in October 1868 between craft sailed by Messrs J. Tostevin, A. Martin and J. Le Nephew and the course was traversed by the winner in five minutes under two hours by J. Tostevin in Amy.
A regatta arranged by Mr Simpson of the Parade Hotel, Glenelg, took place on 23 January 1875, the anniversary of the marriage of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. Five events were advertised but only three eventuated. The Fishermen's Sailing Race attracted three entries, Mr R. Yate's Venture, Mr H. Kemp's Lily and Mr J. Breward's Adelaide and the course was from the end of the jetty, around the hulk, The Venture ran out as the winner after the owner of the Lily had entered a protest following a dispute as to whether a buoy at a short distance of the L-Head or the L-Head itself was the finishing point.
Yachting at Glenelg
The inauguration of the Yacht Club is reported in the Express,
15 August 1874, page 2c;
its opening is reported in the Chronicle,
26 December 1874, page 5e; also see
21 December 1874, page 6d,
13 December 1875, page 6c,
29 October 1878, page 2c,
7 September 1888, page 4c.
"Yachting Fleet Smashed" is in the Register,
8 and 9 March 1910, pages 8c and 7d; also see
19 March 1910, page 11e.
A history of the Holdfast Bay Yacht Club is in the Register,
18 June 1912, page 7c; also see
4 August 1913, page 14b.
"Reminiscences of the Holdfast Bay Yacht Club" is in the Advertiser,
18 June 1912, page 11b.
Photographs are in the Chronicle,
2 August 1913, page 29,
6 December 1913, page 30.
A yachting fatality is reported in the Register,
25 January 1892, page 6h.
"The Glenelg Yachting Fatality"" is in the Observer,
30 January 1892, page 35a.
The formation of a model yacht club is reported in the Express,
31 October 1892, page 2f,
22 November 1892, page 4a.
A fatal yachting accident is reported in the Chronicle,
30 January 1892, page 8b.
"A Broken Fleet - Only Five Yachts Afloat" is in the Observer,
12 March 1910, page 45d,
"Yachting Yarns" is in the Observer,
3 November 1923, page 26a.
"Reminiscences of the Holdfast Bay Yacht Club" is in the Advertiser,
18 June 1912, page 11b.
Photographs are in The Critic,
18 December 1912, page 28,
6 August 1913, page 15,
2 August 1913, page 29,
6 December 1913, page 30.
Ever since the first settlers landed at Holdfast Bay, Glenelg has possessed a romantic charm for a majority of the population of the State and has been a favourite rendezvous for yachtsmen and their friends. No authentic records appears to have been kept of yachting in the early days but on 9 November 1855 a memorable regatta was held there in honour of the the birthday of King Edward V11 when HMS Yatala acted as flagship and the successful contestants were the fore-and aft Alma and a similarly rigged vessel the Victoria. A picture in commemoration of the event was presented to the Holdfast Bay Yachting Club by Mr H.D. Gell, an early member of that club, and a former Mayor of the town. The picture was from the brush of J.W. Deering, a well known local artist in the early 1850s.
A preliminary meeting, convened by Mr Bucknall, was held in the Clarence Hotel on 14 August 1874 for the purpose of forming a yacht club at Glenelg and in the course of deliberations he said that the club was not being formed with any antagonistic feeling towards any existing ones, but solely on account of the crowded state of the Port River. Indeed, with the existing amount of traffic upon it there was really no room for yacht moorings and the superior class of yachts that were being built necessitated plenty of sea room. The working committee appointed were Messrs W. Townsend, W. Mair, W. Aldwell, J.F. Wigley, W.A Cawthorne, E. Ebsworth, T. Linklater, George Boothby, W.O. Windsor, R.J. Rigaud, H.J.D. Munton, W.G. Luxmoore, F.J. Botting, and F.E. Bucknall.
The Glenelg Yacht Club was duly founded on 21 August 1874 and the club's initial roll of members contained the names of many wealthy and distinguished colonists. It was officially opened on 19 December 1874 and, later, a luncheon was provided for invited guests by Sir Thomas Elder ?in the long room of the Parade Hotel?.
At a meeting held on 12 October 1883 the Holdfast Bay Sailing Club was formed with 11 boats on its register and the founding Commodore was J.W. Billiatt who had accompanied John McD. Stuart on the epic crossing of the continent in 1861. By Admiralty warrant the club was authorised to fly the Blue Ensign on 15 May 1894 and in 1909 it became an incorporated body.
In 1914 the Glenelg council practically gave away on lease to a yacht club ?one of the four most valuable freehold sites? with the result that a permanent structure was erected thereon and considered by many ratepayers not to be in their best interests because no return was received therefrom:
It the corporation would make enquiries they will find that probably not 10 per cent of the members of this club pays rates, so why should the general body of ratepayers suffer for the amusement of a few yachtsmen...
We are losing our inheritance... Last month the Attorney-General facetiously remarked that one of the attractions
at Glenelg was the number of young gentlemen on the jetty attired in naval costume
resplendent in gold braid and buttons... I venture to assert that they are principally
the class of young gentlemen to whom the council are so generous at the expense of
property owners and ratepayers.
Football at Glenelg
Information on the Glenelg Football Club is in the Observer,
17 June 1876,
8 May 1880, page 758c and
5 June 1880, page 919a discusses the football club and the opening of an oval at Morphettville.
A meeting to form a football club is reported in the Register,
17 April 1880, page 5b; also see
5 May 1880, page 5a,
13 March 1919, page 3i,
5 and 7 March 1921, pages 7f and 3c.
27 June 1887, page 4c,
5 July 1887, page 4c.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Football.
The development of the game of football can be traced from its foundation in Melbourne, through the period when South Australia was changing over to the Victorian rules in the late 1870s, and up to the present day. There have been many changes in the teams in the senior competition, but the real history of the league premierships starts with the introduction of the district system in 1897. There is much to tell and one could devote much space to the story of the development of the present uniforms. Long gone are the days when the league players took the field in high boots, knickerbockers and a small cap that were quite the ?Victorian era? idea of head-to-toe costumes and very different from the abbreviated knickers, sleeveless jerseys and the generally neat uniforms of today.
Modern-day tiled bathrooms and training facilities, the medical attention available, together with persistent media coverage, would have made early players open their eyes. In those olden days even showers were few and far between and training was usually restricted to running in the Park Lands or physical culture exercises indoors. To have a shower, all a player had to do was to stand under a tin while a trainer filled a bucket with cold water, climbed a ladder, poured the water in to the tin and let it run through on to the player. As Bert Renfrey, who led South Australia to victory at the 1911 carnival, once said: ?If you came out pink you were fit.? In the first place there appears to be no limit to the number of players who participated in the game until the number of each side was reduced to 20 and finally, in 1899, to 18.
In the early days of the game here the old Kensington rules were in force in Adelaide and some were similar to the Victorian laws from which the modern-day game has evolved. One of the main differences between these two sets of rules applied to picking up the ball from the ground. Under the Kensington rules a player could not take the ball from the turf and the ball had to be bouncing and many players were adept at patting the ball to make it bounce and thus keep within the law:
A finer sight can scarcely be seen than 60 or 80 impetuous youths contending with earnest emulation to drive the ball home to opposite goals. We hope the ladies will largely grace those matches with their presence and thus lend an impulse to what is considerable importance to the healthy development of the youth of the colony.
A meeting was held at the Prince Alfred Hotel on 20 July 1876 between 50 members from the Old Adelaide, South Adelaide, Woodville and Victorian Clubs to consider the question of a uniform code of rules. Mr Charles C. Kingston, in explaining the object of the meeting, mentioned that a circular had been issued early in June 1876 by the Kensington Football Club calling upon the clubs in and around Adelaide to consider adopting a uniform code of rules:
- He was extremely pleased so see such a large attendance as it augured well for the manly game which, owing to what he considered to be a foolish modification of what were known as the old Adelaide rules, had sadly degenerated. The regulations generally known as the Kensington rules had, during the last two seasons, only provoked continual disputes when matches were engaged in. He was sure they all desired to see the game prosper in the colony and that by a suitable code of rules, encouragement should be given to the exhibition of skill, strength and pluck, while all matches might be played under a spirit of friendly rivalry...
He then moved that the rules played in Victoria should be considered and in due course they were adopted with minor modifications, for example, Rule 7 was struck out and the following substituted: ?The ball may be taken in hand at any time, but the player shall be liable to be held or thrown until he drops it?, while an addition to Rule 8 provided that pushing from behind should ?only be allowable when the player was running.? The chief alteration to the game played hitherto in Adelaide was the dispensation of the cross bar and top rope in favour of two upright posts of unlimited height and the substitution of the oval football for the round one. Messrs C.C. Kingston, A. Crooks, J.A. Osborne, T. Letchford and C.D. Perkins were appointed as a committee to confer with other clubs and were also empowered to consider the question of offering a Challenge Cup for the next season.
In April 1877 an Association was formed and this gave football an impetus and a devotee of the game proclaimed:
The resurrection of football which took place in Adelaide last year must have gladdened the hearts of every true lover of the game. The new rules that were adopted proved a decided success and will, I have great hopes, be adopted by every South Australian club during the coming season. The Kensingtons and the Ports held out against every innovation last year but this year it is hoped they will come round. If football is to prosper in the colony everyone must bear and forbear. The Englishman who has been accustomed to the Rugby rules is undoubtedly at a disadvantage now that the great principle of ?off side? under which he had been brought up has been abolished... The Kensington player will find it hard to give up his favourite ?bounce? and be tackled when he runs with he ball...
Again, many of the clubs themselves sadly want organisation. It is very evident that the plan of electing a captain on the field is an entirely rotten one... Every club at the beginning of each season should elect a captain for the whole season and a vice-captain to take his place when necessary... What I wish to deprecate is playing football merely to have your name in the paper or to be able to swagger to your friends that you have kicked a goal. This pernicious feeling has, owing to the ill-directed praise of people who do not understand the game, taken a very firm hold in Adelaide...
Gentlemen interested in football, and spectators, should remember that whereas they must pay to see a cricket match on the Oval, the best football matches may be seen gratis. I am glad this is so and would not wish to see the poor man deprived of his enjoyment But it would be good for the game if those who can afford it were to make some small subscription to the Association or Clubs.. No arrangements can be made to keep the ground in decent order and extra subscriptions have had to be raised amongst players to provide the scantiest accommodation for the spectators...
The selection of umpires was left to the opposing captains and many a fine row developed over naming the man in white and in one instance a game in 1878 did not start until 4 pm because of a dispute over his appointment. This central official did all the work on the ground, including the boundaries, until 1904 and whistles were first used on 16 June 1887. Comments follow on this aspect of the game, coupled with denigration of this much maligned breed of men were frequent and immodest in tone and, on occasions, accompanied by attacks upon their person:
Various suggestions have been made since a local umpire fainted under his load of care, but there appears to be a simple and effective remedy - let the football umpire's duties be deputed to another, who shall require no qualification but good staying power... He shall follow the ball, and throw it in when it goes out of bounds.
Instead of allowing [him] to umpire again, the Association should have a wooden automaton made, wind it up for two hours and if it can be made to run well it would give as much satisfaction to the players and general public as was given last Saturday...
[At tribunals] charges of fighting have been declared trivial, although thousands of people witnessed them, many of whom now stay away from football sooner than risk a repetition of the sight... Committeemen who abuse umpires in filthy and disgusting language cannot consistently be severe on players who do the same. That such men have voices in the ruling of football in South Australia is the pity of it...
Hat pins were drawn by members of the fair sex in readiness for use, and vicious stabs were made at him with umbrellas.
Unless there is a radical change the fair sex will have to give up patronising the sport; for although black eyes and bloody noses may amuse them, they have to turn their heads when a fellow has to creep away half-naked, with only part of his clothes hanging to him in rags. About 30 or 35 years ago it was a fair, healthy game... kicking and brutal scrimmages and cowardly blows were unknown.
[He] never wears more than one ear, and about the same number of eyes; his nose looks like a bit of liver stretched across a thimble; one arm is bent backwards at the elbow; he appears to have two left legs and he carries as much scalp to the square inch as a catfish does... It is mostly played by married men, people who live next door to cornet players, and all other persons who are tired of their own existence.
Mark how yon demon's savage eyeball glare!
See in his mouth some tufts of Tommy's hair!
While at his side, alert, bold Spieler stands
With some of Micky's whiskers in his hands!
And look! yon panting tiger in the rear
Just throwing away a fragment of an ear!
It was also decided to wait upon Sir Thomas Elder to procure the use of a piece of land adjacent to the racecourse and the proposed station of the Holdfast Bay railway. The committee appointed was: Patron, Mr W.F. Stock; President, Hon. Thomas King, MP; Vice-Presidents, Messrs C. Sabine, F. Caterer, H.W. Phillips, W.K. Simms, A.J. Diamond, J. Lee, C.M. Muirhead, James S. Scott, J. Holman, W.R. Wigley and Dr Ferguson; Secretary, Mr E. Sabine; Treasurer, Mr J.B. Muir.
A deputation then approached Sir Thomas Elder and said if he would grant the land the club would undertaking to fence and improve it. The oval was opened on 29 May 1880 when Port Adelaide played Glenelg and ?the visitors had the best of the game throughout, but the play of the Glenelgs showed they had the makings of a good team in their ranks [they lost by two goals to nil]...? Sir Thomas Elder in addition to giving the oval on a 21 year lease also gave the club £10 towards the cost of fencing. The visitors proceeded from the Adelaide station on the Holdfast Bay line by a special complimentary train and were deposited at the scene of the action.
On 25 June 1887 a large crowd assembled to witness a somewhat novel contest between a selected team from HMS Nelson and the Glenelgs. The sailors were allowed to play the Rugby game while their opponents, as a concession to their less practical opponents, were limited to the liberty of action laid down in the Australian Association rules. At the close of the match the score board showed Glenelgs, eight goals, Nelsons, one goal, the latter failing to score at all in the second half.
From this time the game of football at Glenelg received little attention in the newspapers of the day. A team was entered in a competition in 1907 and, following the formation of the minor Sturt Association in 1913, football within the district began to develop. In 1919 Glenelg Oval association applied for a league football team but it was refused by the authorities in Adelaide. The club was formed at a meeting called for the purpose in the Glenelg Town Hall on 10 March 1920 and, on 3 March 1921, a meeting was held following notice that the team had been admitted to A grade football and in its annual report it was said that the B grade team had competed in the previous season and that the new colours for the club would be black and gold, the guernseys to be black with a gold hoop around waist and arms, black socks with gold band and white knickers.
The club's first league game was played against West Adelaide on 7 May 1921 and until 1936 were above sixth position on one occasion only - in 1934 - when they confounded the critics by defeating Port Adelaide in the grand final; in the next season they finished at the bottom in eighth position. Glenelg were beaten in its first 56 matches, but they provided a football sensation when 'stump? Pincombe, who had made his name at cricket and football at Broken Hill, was appointed coach for the 1925 season.
The Tigers had to face West Torrens, the reigning premiers, at Glenelg in the first game of the 1925 season. Contrary to all expectations the Bays downed their opponents and Pincombe was the idol of Glenelg. It was a different story following the next game, for Sturt trounced the Tigers and the coach was relieved of his position. In 1924 the Glenelg made one of its greatest finds when Jack Owens came down from Broken Hill to join the side when he became one of the leading half-forwards in the State until he retired in 1935. He scored 826 goals for Glenelg. The foregoing is but a few snippets from the life of football at Glenelg and the complete story is told in the book, The Pride of the Bay.
The first annual dinner of the cricket club is reported in the Register,
5 May 1880, page 5b; also see
15 May 1880, page 5b for further information on both clubs.
A photograph of the Glenelg football team is in the Observer,
8 May 1926, page 33.
The opening of the skating rink is reported in the Register,
4 December 1878, page 4f; also see
2 January 1879, page 6f,
26 December 1878, page, 2d,
2 January 1879, page 2d,
"Seaside Skating Rink" is in The Mail,
2 November 1912, page 16d.
Information on a skating rink is in the Register,
22 February 1913, page 6h.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Roller and Ice Skating.
In December 1878 an announcement was made that ?the pleasant recreation of skating has at last established itself in our principal watering place? at an open-air rink constructed by the Glenelg Rink Company near the Miller's Corner Railway Station. The floor was the largest in the colony and was well patronised on the opening night by skaters in fancy costumes of various descriptions but many of the most venturesome inevitably found themselves in a horizontal position.
The grounds were surrounded by an eight-foot corrugated iron fence while the rink of 100 feet by 50 was enclosed by an ornamental fence, with a single rail about four feet from the ground and, on posts, gas lamps were fixed with mirrors so as to throw a strong light upon the circle to be illuminated. The rink boasted of a refreshment bar, ladies? and gentlemen's rooms, ticket office and skate room, fitted up with a supply of Spiller's spiral-spring skates of all sizes.
In January 1879 a skating demonstration was held on New Year's day and the programme, in addition to the usual flat races, included several specialties, the principal being the diving under a bar four feet high and archery on skates. The fancy figure skating was a great success, while a tug of war, wheeling pick-a-back and scramble hurdle races kept the audience amused. Skating was reintroduced in 1912 when a rink was authorised to be built parallel with the jetty on the southern side about three-quarters of the way down the jetty from the shore and covering an area 100 feet by 214 and consisting of two decks with skating being conducted on the lower, while the top one was to be utilised as a promenade. It would hold about 1,600 people and was to be fitted up with electric light, dressing rooms and up-to-date appliances and it was hoped it would attract many visitors because ?the average number of people travelling per month on the railway was 86,000.? Plans for the rink were approved on 23 October 1912 and in February 1913 it was reported that a site on the beach had been asked for and no problem was envisaged with pile driving.
"Professor Cavell's Ten-Mile Swim" to Semaphore is reported in the Register,
15 and 16 March 1880, pages 6a and 5b.
Swimming competitions are reported in the Express,
13 March 1899, page 4d,
1 February 1908, page 27,
22 January 1910, page 32.
The inaugural meeting of the Glenelg Athletic Association is reported in the Register,
9 November 1885, page 6f.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Athletics and Gymnastics.
The first meeting of the Glenelg Athletic Association was held on the grounds of Mr F. Caterer on 7 November 1885, but it was unfortunate that the committee had selected the same day for their sports as the Kensington association. The champion race was won by H. Royals, while among the prizewinners were W. Phillips, H. Bickford, W. Young, A. Miller, R. Duncan, D. Kerr, B. Taylor, C. Hibberd, W. Saltred , B. Beasley, A. McArthur, M. Hart, G.J. Gwynne, D. Coombe and A. Daw.
"When Abos. Ran in Bay Sheffield" is in The News,
In September 1904, the Mayor, Mr H.W. Varley, advocated the provision of a public gymnasium and in 1906 a committee was formed to investigate the proposition. Mr Hugo Leschen made suggestions as to its size and appointments and said he would be willing to undertake its management. It was learned that a £500 bequest from Sir Thomas Elder was lying untouched in funds controlled by the Institute and might be made available .
A special meeting of subscribers was held in March 1906 presided over by Rev George Rayner, president of the Institute, with a view to amending its constitution to accommodate the erection of a gymnasium. It was decided that it be placed on land at the rear of the post office, the fee simple of which was being handed over by the government.
A proposed gymnasium is discussed in the Register,
6 February 1906, page 8c,
2 March 1906, page 4h,
2 March 1906, page 2d.
A lawn tennis match is reported in the Express,
11 April 1888, page 7g.
An Oddfellows' Sports Day is reported in the Chronicle,
26 May 1888, page 23e.
Information on the Glenelg Homing Club is in the Observer,
24 October 1891, page 20b.
A lively interest was being taken in homing pigeons at the close of the 1870s and in September 1881 a ?fancier?, Mr W.J. Symonds of Gawler South, sent three birds to Mount Bryan where they were ?tossed? and reached Gawler after one hour and three quarters.
In respect of the Glenelg Homing Club a report in 1891 said that the championship race for 1891 was flown from Broken Hill to Glenelg, a distance of about 300 miles and the birds were liberated by Mr F.C. Aldridge of the Grand Hotel, Broken Hill. Birds were entered by Messrs C. Clark and Mr E. Hollands, the latter's pigeon coming in first in about ten and a half hours flying time. Mr Holland was a successful breeder having succeeded in winning the majority of races for the previous two seasons, including both the champion gold medals.
Information on a lacrosse club is in the Express,
15 and 29 March 1895, pages 4b and 4d.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Lacrosse.
The Canadian game of lacrosse was introduced into the colony on 6 April 1883 when the Adelaide Lacrosse Club was formed at a meeting held in the Prince Alfred Hotel presided over by Mr J.W. Colton, when 35 members were enrolled. The provisional committee comprised of Mr Colton, C.W. Mudie, L. Prince, F. Adams, A Wilkinson with Mr R. Tribe as secretary.
The Holdfast Bay Lacrosse Club was formed on 14 March 1895 at a meeting held in the Glenelg Town Hall presided over by Mr H.B. Crosby. Provisional committee members were Messrs B. Combe, A. Buchanan, F. Hambridge, C. Kither and S.H. Hambridge, while the colours nominated were mid-blue and white with dark knickers. Mr R. Evans was elected as captain and Mr E.A. Luxmoore as vice-captain. The first practice match was played on April 20 when the Adelaide Club gave an exhibition match.
The Glenelg Oval
Information on a proposed Oval is in the Register,
8 and 15 May 1880, pages 5c-6d and 5b,
1 June 1895, page 5d,
8 and 10 October 1898, pages 5b and 7g,
1 and 11 November 1897, pages 4e and 2c,
1 and 7 December 1897, pages 3d and 3e,
6 and 13 November 1897, page 16e and 29e,
11 December 1897, page 14e,
18 January 1898, page 7c,
29 March 1898, page 3g.
29 March 1898, page 4c,
20 May 1898, page 2c,
16 June 1898, page 2c,
15 September 1898, page 2g,
30 September 1898, page 3f,
6, 10 and 20 October 1898, pages 4a, 3d and 2d.
15 October 1898, page 13e.
Its formal opening is reported in the Register,
10 October 1898, page 7g.
27 September 1900, page 4d,
1 October 1901, page 2e,
19 October 1901, page 25, (photo - fancy cricketers)
23 September 1901, page 3d,
26 September 1912, page 9e,
26 September 1913, page 2f,
2 October 1914, page 4d,
4 and 10 January 1917, pages 7b and 4g,
19 January 1920, page 8c,
7 March 1921, page 3c,
23 May 1921, page 3e,
25 September 1922, page 7d,
19 October 1923, page 5e,
14 November 1924, page 7f,
30 December 1925, page 11e.
Photographs of the opening of the pavilion are in the Observer,
28 May 1921, page 26.
For many years both cricketers and footballers at Glenelg experienced some difficulties in obtaining suitable grounds for their games, the former having to pay for the privilege of playing on a paddock in New Glenelg. At an election for St Leonards Ward in 1895 all the candidates expressed themselves in favour of establishing a recreation ground and in order that the matter not be lost sight of a deputation waited upon Councillor Priest on 31 May 1895, when it was suggested that an attempt should be made to procure some ten acres of land in Mr Sandison's paddock which was regarded as the most central site.
Nothing eventuated from this suggestion and it was not until October 1897 that the Mayor, Mr G.K. Soward, announced that through the energy and tact of Mr H.Y. Sparks the opportunity of acquiring a lease of 12 acres of land ?to the north of the Model School.? Mr Sparks had worked on the plan for two years and had sent plans to England and approached the owners (Trustees of the DaCosta Estate) by various means until, at last, the land had been offered at a nominal rental, namely, £20 per annum for the first seven years, £25 per annum for the second seven years and £30 per annum for the remainder of the 21 year term.
At a meeting held on 10 November 1897 Mr Sparks said that, having obtained the lease over 75 acres, he was then in a position to offer a sublease of 12 acres for the purpose of an oval following which motions were passed authorising the formation of ?The Glenelg Recreation Association? and that past and present Mayors, together with Mr Sparks, be appointed as Trustees.
Although the lease was not a long one the Mayor expressed the opinion that ?when the association approached the St Peter's Collegiate School with a request for a renewal they would be met in a fair spirit.? At another meeting held on 6 December Mr Sparks referred to several disturbing statements made by two ex-mayors and said he was perfectly willing to cancel the lease if those men would come forward and provide another piece of ground and in doing so he had presumed that they had exhausted all possibilities of obtaining a suitable freehold. The following were then elected to a provisional committee: Councillors Rengger and Burford, Messrs H.Y. Sparks, H.D. Gell, G. Combe, J.A. Kennedy, J. Larner, E.A. Mayfield, P. Laycock and C. Collison.
In respect of obtaining other land, advertisements were placed in local newspapers and Messrs W.L. Ware and R. Smith followed up several enquiries one of which was from the Misses Sandison for a piece of land ?in a direct line with Augusta Street? which they offered at £130 per acre. However, within the committee there were some doubts as to the capabilities of raising the purchase price and it was moved that the owners be asked to leave the offer open for two months to enable the town to be canvassed to see what support would be forthcoming to raise sufficient funds to purchase the freehold. Another offer was forthcoming from Mr Baker for land at £50 per acre.
Misses Sandison were offered £75 per acre but this was refused and, after reviewing other propositions, it was decided to accept the lease offer from Mr Sparks and to form the Glenelg Oval Association. During the months that followed much was achieved by the way of mound forming, tree planting and fencing, while a member offered to supply the necessary timber for the erection of a bath in the dressing room, Mr Larner to contribute labour for same, Mr S.H. Shephard of Brighton donated three signboards, Mr P. Riddle fixed water pipes on to the bathroom, Mr Laycock supplied slate for the cricket pitch, Mr Oliver offered four goal posts, while Miss Skene gave a toilet set for the dressing room and Mr Sparks presented the association with a grandstand.
Norfolk Island pines were planted around the full extent of the ground while the carriage drive encircling the oval proper had an avenue of plane trees and Aleppo pines. In addition, a number of choice poplars were the gift of Mr Sparks. It was said that two slate cricket pitches and one earth pitch ?will be in use this season, the turf creases, upon which much care is bestowed, being yet in the chrysalis stage.? The question of providing a tarred bicycle track was left to the ground committee's discretion.
During the first year the games registered with the association comprised cricket clubs, lacrosse and tennis clubs and as soon as possible it was proposed to build a gymnasium, form a bowling green and lay a bicycle track. Within a year Mr Sparks died and Mr G.K. Soward filled his place and, as a token of appreciation, the committee elected his widow and daughters as life members of the oval and sent them a specially embossed certificate of membership.
At an annual general meeting of the Glenelg Cricket Club on 19 September 1899 the President, Mr G.K. Soward said that the oval:
Provided a cheerful rendezvous for the ladies of Glenelg who were pleased to take an interest in the athletic contests and those who participated in them. At the oval they had their cricket pitches and tennis courts and he anticipated that before long the oval would possess a banked-up cycle track and many other accessories that might to the council of the association appear desirable.
The third season was opened on 21 September 1901 when a fancy cricket match was contested while a 150 yard foot race for members was won by F. Hooper who received a 50 yards start! - The handicapping was apparently done according to the weight of the competitors. A bicycle race for youths in four heats was won by Bailey, Soward, Cox and Tolley, while in the final Bailey defeated Cox on the post. A fancy dress bicycle race was won by V. Murphy (tramp) with J.A. Duggan (policeman) a close second.
For the past 15 years this pretty little oval has been managed by a committee of about 10 enthusiasts. The financial support given by the Glenelg residents has been lamentable and an application had to be made by one of the guarantors for a cheque on more than one occasion to tide over pressing monetary difficulties. During the past year 240 circulars were posted to various prominent residents requesting assistance to keep the oval going, but not a penny was given.
The upshot is that a communication has been sent to the cricketing association that a turf wicket and two practice wickets will be ready for the opening of the season, but the committee, unless in receipt of some tangible support from the association or the public will be unable to continue. It is a pity that such a fine recreation ground should run the risk of being lost for the use of the rising generation of Glenelg and neighbourhood... The full membership at £1/1/ per annum at present totals six.
Finally, in 1917, at a public meeting it was resolved that the corporation should purchase the oval and hold a poll to obtain authority to borrow £4,500 for the purpose, following the association's undertaking that the whole of the improvements thereon would be handed over without charge. The ratepayers duly gave their approval and at a public ceremony in January 1920 the mayor, Mr John Mack, unveiled a brass tablet to the memory of the late Mr Sparks, a former manager of the South Australian Company and former Mayor and in the course of his eulogy praised three townsmen, Messrs G.A Jury, G.K. Soward and A.J. Roberts who had guaranteed the payment of the annual rent for years and he thanked them for their patriotic attitude. On the same day aerial stunts were performed from the aerodrome of the South Australian Transport Company situated at the rear of the oval.
In 1921, at the end of two years of persistent endeavour the seaside club was admitted to the SA Football League and the Glenelg Corporation then determined that as there was a likelihood of the oval being a profitable venture, it would take it over. The council purchased the freehold and erected a new stand, while the smaller structure, presented by Mr Sparks, who also provided and planted the trees around the oval, was in danger of demolition because it only accommodated about 100 persons.
To assist in raising the cash to complement the corporation's contribution of £2,600 a carnival was held on the oval in March 1921 under the auspices of the Glenelg Amateur Athletic Club. On 21 May 1921 a crowd of about 3,500 people gathered not only to see the match against North Adelaide but also to an opening ceremony performed by the Governor. The old committee was then disbanded and members who had borne the burden for so long were recognised by the council to the extent that they were made life members and among these men were A.T. Haddrick, Peter Laycock, F.T. Hack, W.O. Cooper, W. Heddle and F. Crosby.
The five year lease between the association and the corporation expired in 1925 and in an effort to balance their budget the football club was asked to make a monetary donation but its offer of £100 had conditions that were entirely unacceptable to the association which commented that ?the bodies controlling the oval do not receive anything like an equitable return from the revenue earned by their grounds? and, further, that ?the SA Cricket Association is the only body reaping any benefit from cricket?.
The President of the Association, Mr W.J. P. Giddings, broached the subject again at the annual general meting in November 1924 when he said that the association had done everything possible to assist the football club and but for their action it would not have been in existence:
The association naturally had to get something out of the football club... and it had informed the council that it was prepared to pay £200 a year and take over the oval. The town has gone into heavy expenditure over the oval on the understanding that it would be recouped by the football club and how it had been recouped was well known. Seeing that the oval association was working in an honorary capacity for the council, and, incidentally, the town, why did not the football club offer to pay the oval association the £200 it was prepared to pay the council?
Information on the Glenelg Amateur Swimming and Water Polo Club is in the Register,
13 March 1899, page 6b,
1 November 1899, page 4d.
Golf at Glenelg
A report of the first competition at the Glenelg Golf Club is in the Express,
19 June 1895, page 2g; also see
12 and 26 October 1895, pages 20e and 20d.
Also see South Australia - Sport - Golf.
Information on the truancy of school children and their activity as caddies is in the Register,
22 October 1898, page 4h.
Photographs of the golf links is in the The Critic,
27 June 1903, pages 1 and 26,
4 July 1903, pages 5, 15 and 18,
4 July 1903, page 24,
21 June 1913, page 29,
20 June 1914, page 4 (supp.),
18 July 1914, pages 2-3 (supp.).
The Register of 22 November 1904 at page 9f carries a letter of complaint about "breaking the Sabbath":
Golf is played by prominent citizens every Sunday morning... and yet nobody has hitherto protested. In my opinion [they] ought to blush, especially as I am given to understand that the language evoked by golf is usually by no means of a sanctified character.
A proposed golf links is discussed in the Register,
14 January 1926, page 12f.
Its inaugural meeting is reported on
24 February 1927, page 11c; also see
23 May 1927, page 10d,
20 May 1927, page 10a and Golflands.
Photographs of its opening are in the Chronicle,
28 May 1927, page 39.
The Adelaide Golf Club, founded in 1870, had been disbanded by 1875 only to be reestablished on 8 October 1892, when play commenced on a course established on the north Parklands bounded by Robe, Kingston and Lefevre Terraces. It is apparent that this club amalgamated with the Glenelg Golf Club, the latter having been formed in 1894 on land roughly to the south-east of the present-day Glenelg course which was opened in 1927. The club's first competition was played on 15 June 1895 when a large number of onlookers turned out and general satisfaction was expressed when one of the original members, Mr C. Irwin, was the first winner with a net score of 100 (104-4); Ernest Philipson was runner up on 102. A later report of play mentions the Adelaide club playing on Mr Sandison's paddock ?to the north of the Bay Road on a pretty course situated on the banks of the River Sturt.?
On this occasion a reporter, apart from some informative comments on certain participants, admonished a competitor from the hierarchy of the legal profession who, so it was decreed, was from a 'superior? level of Adelaide society:
Had a cynic stood by the last flag, he would have found ample material for cynicism - a well-known merchant toiling over the hill, whose eye would not quiver at the sight of six figures, but yet, whose courage failed him when he found his ball half-buried in the sand; doctors hacking their balls with a powerful cleek with as much complacency as if the innocent rotundities were so many patients; lawyers, able as a rule to control their tongues but who found a topped ball or a broken club was apt to make them forget their surroundings - but why prolong the list? Golf makes different creatures of us, some worse, some better, all enthusiastic...
The first interstate matches in South Australia were played at Glenelg in August 1895 when players from Geelong, in Victoria, competed against those from the Adelaide and Glenelg clubs, namely, Dr Swift, J.R. Baker, J.B. Matthews, Dr Giles, E. Phillipson and M.G. Anderson and a report on the matches stated that:
The [local] clubs are to be heartily congratulated on defeating so strong a team as the Geelong team undoubtedly is, Adelaide winning by 6 and Glenelg by 14 holes... By the kind invitation of Mr T. Barr Smith the Geelong team will be opposed today on his links at Mitcham by a team of the Adelaide Golf Club...
It was only a cow paddock; the fairways were small with fences round to keep out the numerous cows and poddy calves. The club house consisted of a lot of small weather-board shanties, which were considered palaces after the tin shed they used at Miller's Corner. There were no hot showers, but the gas was laid on to boil the kettle for afternoon tea...
The first event of the day was a mixed foursome... As the pairs approached the fourth hole over the river they were met by the guests of the committee, who had come by special train from Glenelg, which the Glenelg Railway company had kindly provided for the occasion free of charge.
The spectators then strolled up to the top of the hill to witness the driving competition... Dr Swift, the captain of the club, led off with three drives that any professional might have envied...
Mr J.R. Baker followed with three drives that were more noticeable for their direction than their distance, but the goddess of golf was on his side... The comparative shortness of the drives must be put down to the fact that the long grass and sandy nature of the soil prevented the ball from running the distance it would on an English green.
At a meeting of the Glenelg School Board of Advice in October 1898 a number of parents had to answer for their boys not having attended the school the requisite number of days during the previous quarter. The mothers pleaded hard in the interests of their sons, and it was hinted that the links at Glenelg, utilised almost every day, Sundays included, were in a measure responsible for the boys? absence. It was said that the services of boys were enlisted and pecuniarily rewarded as caddies and the Chairman, Mr J. Downing, said it was a serious matter and, moreover, the boys would have to make up for lost time during the next quarter, otherwise the parents would be prosecuted.
In his reminiscences held in the State Library Llewellyn Fowler, who was born at Glenelg and spent his childhood there, says:
One of my first efforts to earn a little money was as a caddy at the Glenelg golf links. My first try was at nine years of age [when] I carried for Miss Law-Smith for the whole round, for which she gave me sixpence. Though rather young, I did hope she did not have to walk home. But no, the wealthy folk came to their clubs, etc., by horse-drawn cabs... The next time I went to get a caddy job I did not succeed. I had ?wagged? it from school... I was too small and did not seem fitted to the job. Perhaps my luck was in again. Every new boy who turned up looking for a job at the links was thrown into a nearby dam, the watering place for Sanderson's [sic] cows. I escaped this...
On every school day of the year on an average there have been ten boys absent at golf... They act as caddies and get three or four shillings a day... There is not a teacher at my school that has not borne testimony to me that the boys who go to the links as caddies are degenerating both mentally and morally. They learn to smoke cigarettes and learn to swear. Such may be inseparable from golf...
They are learning other bad habits, It is bad enough on school days, but what could one think concerning golf on Sundays, on which a dozen of my boys may be found on the golf links? No one has the right to imperil the soul of a child... It pains me dreadfully to see boys playing golf on Sundays.
Owing to the seriously depleted revenue caused by the absence of many members on war service overseas this popular club was obliged to go out of existence and relinquish its lease on the ?magnificent property on the Bay Road.? Accordingly, widespread interest was aroused in 1920 when it was announced that the westerly portion of the estate immediately adjoining McDonald's Railway station was to be subdivided into 30 building allotments following instructions from the owner, Mr C. Sandison.
For the next six years Glenelg was at a disadvantage due to the lack of a golf course and this was exacerbated by the rapidly rising land values, and the difficulty of securing a site increased year by year. Late in 1925 it was mooted in golf circles that an attempt was to be made to acquire a site to the north of Glenelg on a portion of the famous Gray's Estate which was about to come on the market. Some of this land was admirably suited for the purpose for it was undulating and of a sandy character, with several natural obstacles and abundant opportunities for creating others, so that an interesting course could be provided at low cost.
The land, covering about 174 acres, was purchased by Glenelg Golf Links Ltd for £18,000 and an unlimited water supply was obtained by sinking a 360 feet bore from which 100,000 gallons per hour were pumped daily. At the club's first meeting on 23 February 1927 the directors announced that it was also their intention to lay out tennis courts and a bowling green, while 41 persons intimated their intention of joining as initial members.
The first sod was turned in January 1927 and the wheelbarrow engaged in the operation was that used by Governor Jervois to turn the first sod of the Port Augusta-Gums Railway in the 1870s. The official opening was made by the Governor, Sir Tom Bridges, on 21 May 1927 when he was received by the President, Mr A.J. Roberts, following which a four-ball match was played between Messrs Legh Winser, T. Cheadle, W. Harvey and Rufus Stewart over the nine holes that had been completed.
The President generously gave a rustic teahouse which was to be created on the highest peak of the grounds, while its first professional golfer was Mr A.B. Robertson from the Ardrossan Club in Scotland who had, for the previous two years, been employed at the Port Pirie Club. A ball was held in the clubhouse in the evening and the building, ?outlined in coloured electric lights and with strings entwined among the pine trees was an outstanding sight from its high elevation...?
A proposed bowling club is discussed in the Register,
20 October 1904, page 7g.
Photographs of the bowling club are in the Observer,
27 October 1906, page 27;
information on it is in the Register,
4 December 1925, page 4f (includes information on J.W. Hillman),
17 March 1927, page 12d,
15 March 1928, page 14c.
Lawn Bowls at Glenelg
As a matter vital to the happiness of many wives, will our politicians bring in a Bill to allow a wife to obtain a divorce when her husband becomes married to the game of bowls... I... ask them to insert in the Bill a clause to prevent the husband marrying again.
(Advertiser, 17 January 1924, p. 13.)
The origin of the game is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Once banned by Kings and Parliament under penalty of fine and imprisonment because the sport interfered with the practice of archery and was disreputable through excessive gambling, it has nevertheless survived since the 13th century.
The introduction of the game into Adelaide was first discussed in 1887 when a meeting of enthusiasts was held at the Prince Alfred Hotel on 3 May when the town clerk, Mr Thomas Worsnop, indicated a piece of ground was available between the Adelaide Oval and the river 'so long as the buildings and fences that would be necessary were erected suitably.? The following officers were elected: President, Mr E.T. Smith; Secretary, Mr W.A. Cummings; Treasurer, Mr E. Smith; Committee, Hon. D. Murray, Messrs E.T. Smith, J. Hamilton. T. Worsnop, E. Smith, W.R. Sawers, J. Shaw, T. Eyres and W.B. Wilkinson.
However, this venture was aborted when the leading spirit in the form of a ?bank manager unfortunately left the colony and somehow interest died out.? It was not until 1898 that the Adelaide Bowling Club secured land adjoining the parade ground on the banks of the River Torrens and commenced play in December 1898, when the official opening was made by Sir Edwin Smith who recalled that the initiative for the formation of the club was taken by Mr H.F. Dench at a meeting for the purpose on 18 February 1897.
At Glenelg, in September 1904 a meeting was held in the home of ?that good all round sportsman?, Mr A.J. Roberts, the minutes being taken by Mr J.W. Hillman and on 19 October a number of interested people attended at the council chamber where it was decided ?that as soon as 20 members have been secured the club to be considered formed and a meeting to be called to sign a lease of the proposed green.? Almost immediately working bees of members were organised for the purpose of getting the ground in order and establishing a green. The first secretary was Mr C.W. Wooldridge.
Its property was acquired from a portion of the ?Olives Estate? owned by Mr A.J. Roberts. At the outset the club was limited to 100 members and a beautiful gate at the entrance was erected by the C-Grade two-rink championship winners, while a large clock, presented by John Tassie, overlooked the green. On the club house wall stood a massive record board made from Queensland maple and wholly constructed by Mr R.W. Thomas. The bowling association selected the Glenelg green for the first match in which South Australia competed against a British touring team in 1925.
28 February 1903, page 14.
Information on a dingey [sic] club is in the Observer,
12 November 1904, page 24b,
28 January 1905, page 19c.
Motor racing at Glenelg
Motor racing at Glenelg is reported in the Register,
25 and 27 October 1905, pages 4g and 5a-7h,
2, 3 and 4 November 1905, pages 4g, 7c and 4b,
7 November 1905, page 4h.
Also see South Australia - Transport - Motor Cars and Cycles.
By 1905 the motor car had become a ?terror? to the guardians of young people who frequented the beach at Glenelg, particularly on Sundays, when it was a morning custom to test the speed of their machines along the seashore, which hitherto had been a resort for both young and old. One irate resident proclaimed that it was a positive danger to allow any child on the beach and:
Only last Sunday morning two cars were racing backwards and forwards between Glenelg and Brighton and the drivers themselves admitted... that they were running at the rate of 43 miles per hour. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that a pet dog.... was run over and left lifeless on the sands... If horses were ridden on the beach at even 10 miles an hour the riders would be prosecuted...
Photographs of sports and patriotic committees are in the Chronicle,
12 February 1916, page 25.
Information on the Glenelg Amateur Athletics Club is in the Register,
21 March 1921, page 5h.
A photograph of a committee of the Glenelg Horses in Action Society is in The Critic,
12 April 1922, page 12.
A photograph of a RSL cricket team is in the Chronicle,
2 February 1933, page 34,
of the St Mary's football team on
12 September 1935, page 37.
8 January 1936, page 4f.