Adelaide - Adelaide City
- Introduction to the City and Suburbs
- Adelaide Pre 1841
- City Life
- Early Births
- Emigration Square
For an account of a trip from Port Adelaide to Adelaide in 1838 see Port Adelaide
The City and Suburbs
See Miscellany and Obituaries for an essay on "Night Auctions and Other Things"
Also see Adelaide - Suburbs.
I believe it has never before been noted that the country on which Adelaide
was to be built was first viewed by [Collet Barker] on the wedding anniversary
of the consort after which it is named.
(Advertiser, 22 April 1931, page 10h.)
The name of 'Adelaide' was assigned to the chief town before its site was fixed. Governor Hindmarsh had given publicity to this fact long prior to the adjustment of the unfortunate dispute with Colonel Light, our first Surveyor-General, and Sir John Jeffcott, our first Judge, as to the relative merits of the plains adjoining the Torrens (not then named) and the slopes fronting upon Encounter Bay.
The lady, who was to become Queen Adelaide, came to England as a young princess from a happy court of a small German state, where her father ruled very much like a good king in a fairy tale. She came to marry the elderly Duke of Clarence, who sent one of his illegitimate sons to meet her and introduced her, himself, to the nine other children of his irregular union, all of whom lived under his roof. Adelaide was young and serious minded and she could hardly have been happy at his opening of her new life, but she behaved with the noblest kindness to the Fitzclarences, as the future King's children were called. She treated them as a gentle stepmother, furthered the careers of the eldest sons and, herself, superintended the education of those who were still children. Her portraits show her as a charming looking woman, delicate and a little sad.
The death of her only child, Princess Charlotte, was a life long grief to one who was a great lover of children. She and her husband, William IV, celebrated the accession to the throne with a modest and economical coronation and Adelaide had her crown made at her own expense. Storms were soon to break over her. England was full of distress and all liberal hopes were set on the Reform Bill which would give the poor man the vote and thus, it was thought, lessen economic misery. Queen Adelaide, who never understood English ways fully, had no faith in democratic reform which she associated with revolution. She honestly believed that if the Whigs triumphed she would be beheaded like Marie Antoinette. There is, nevertheless, every evidence from those who knew her that she did not talk politics to the King, but endeavoured to divert his mind from them and save them from worry.
Her views became known and then began Queen Adelaide's real martyrdom. The leading newspapers, The Times among them, attacked, openly or subtly, the 'foreign woman' of influencing the King against reform. She was blamed for his reluctance to create enough new peers to swamp the resistance of the House of Lords.
At the time of the founding of South Australia the Queen had almost lived down the bitter hatred of the country and the passing of the Reform Bill had disposed of some of the more violent objections. There was even many happy days. The King, whom she had so loyally loved, and who had loved and leaned on her in return, died a year after the naming of Adelaide. The rest of her story is of ill health and suffering, brightened only by the knowledge that she had, at least, lived down calumny and false reports.
When she died she left a sum of money and certain memorabilia to the public authorities of South Australia and the latter comprised:
- Autographs of Her Majesty, a facsimile of her own directions for her funeral; and a personal pocket handkerchief;
- Envelopes of autographs of the late members of the Royal family; letters of George IV; autographs of various crowned heads of Europe; letters of the Duke of Wellington; a letter of Lord Nelson's to the Duke of Clarence; and autographs of King William IV.
- Letters from sovereigns of Europe to Queen Adelaide; two cameos of King William IV and Queen Adelaide framed and glazed; several volumes of books with Queen Adelaide's autograph or the Royal Arms which belonged to Her Majesty; a glass goblet presented to her on the occasion of her visiting a German spa; an iron bracelet worn by patriotic German ladies who had given their jewels and golden ornaments to maintain the war with the French in the times of Napoleon I.
Today, her funeral directions are housed in the State Library - A touching document in which 'knowing that we are all alike before the throne of God', she asked to be borne to her grave by sailors 'Ín peace and free from pomp and vanity.'The Register of 12 December 1860 at page 3a has an article entitled "Adelaide and Port Adelaide in 1859" which includes a poem:
Such my friends is Adelaide,
A child in its career;
But time, no doubt, will paddle it
Into manhood, year by year
And kindly governor's swaddle it
Till that manhood doth appear;
May never a mortal saddle it
With taxes on its beer.
Hard facts disprove the claim that Colonel Light was a superb town planner...
The failure comes in the subdivision. Streets should run across the compass,
so that both sides shall have their fair share of sun and shade. Long,
straight streets are uninteresting, and, in a hot windy land, are undesirable.
The placing of the squares has resulted in their inevitable crucifixion
by traffic requirements...
8, 9 and 13 November 1934, pages 18e, 28c and 18c and
2 and 13 November 1934, pages 5d and 3e.)
Early Births in the ColonyThere has been much controversy over the "first born" child in South Australia - the Register of 20 April 1876 has a report of a son being born to Mrs and Mr W.H. Neale in Nepean Bay on 18 September 1836 - the infant died at Holdfast Bay on 18 November 1836.
26 June 1858, page 4e and
9 May 1876, page 5d for an article which covers the counter-claim of the Hoare family,
16 November 1907, page 4d and South Australia - Comment on the Colony for a "first-hand" account of the "Hoare" birth at Rapid Bay.
Extracts from Dr Woodforde's diary are reproduced on 17 and 20 June 1901, pages 3f and 8i which confirm the "Hoare" story and relates the birth of a female child to Mrs B.T. Finniss a little later.
A letter from B.T. Finniss is in the Observer,
17 August 1889, page 27c,
31 December 1892, page 36c,
11 March 1905, page 7f.
The honour of being the first "The First Born SA Male" is claimed by Samuel
J. Stuckey in the Chronicle,
15 June 1901, page 21c.
The claim that Fanny Lipson Finniss was the first white female child born
in South Australia is challenged in the Register, 8 March 1905, page
6d where Mrs John Willoughby (nee Easton) claims to have been born in a tent
on the site of the Old Gum Tree at Glenelg on Proclamation Day 1836 or the
day following. She also claimed to be the only woman who survived the wreck
of the Admella in 1859 - this is disputed on
8, 11 and 16 March 1905, pages 6d, 6d and 3c and
15 April 1905, page 6h.
For further claims and counterclaims see Register,
22 and 23 March 1907, pages 6c and 7h,
12 April 1907, page 9g,
9 November 1907, page 8g,
28 May 1915, pages 5h-6b,
15 February 1919, page 10g.
A claim by Mr C.F. Wilkey to be the first male child born in South Australia
29 December 1909, page 4h; also see
18 October 1910, page 3e,
23 June 1928, page 2d,
18 July 1929, page 15b.
"Oldest Natives of South Australia" is in the Register,
17 July 1914, page 5g. Also see
23 June 1928, page 2d,
18 July 1929, page 15b.
A photograph of Mrs A. Foulger, who claimed to be the first born female, is
in the Chronicle,
1 July 1916, page 30.
"First White Twins Born in SA" is in the Register,
10 March 1921, page 6g.
Adelaide Pre 1841
Life in the City
Also see Miscellany and Obituaries
For an account of a trip from Port Adelaide to Adelaide in 1838 see Port Adelaide
"Pioneers of 1836 - Heroism That Made History" is in the Observer,
11 January 1919, page 44e.
Also see Immigration - Emigrant Ships - Miscellany.
"Eliza Davies and Infant Adelaide" is in the Observer,
7 February 1925, page 49b.
A report of an emu hunt in Hindley Street in the early days is in the Observer,
26 March 1859, page 4h.
An informative "historical sketch" of Adelaide over the period 1837-1869 is
in the Observer,
8 January 1870, page 10d.
"The Progress of Settlement" is in the Observer,
1 January 1887, page 35c.
"Adelaide's Infancy - How the Pioneers Lived and Worked" is in the Register,
23 July 1925, page 12e,
1 August 1925, page 18a.
"Early Adelaide Days - Facts from Almanacs" is in The Mail,
19 September 1925, page 2e,
"Early Incidents in Life of City" on
5 March 1927, page 10a.
"Echoes of Barrack Square" is in the Register,
8, 11, 12, 14 and 17 September 1917, pages 9d, 7d, 16f, 7c and 9a.
The city in 1838 is described in the Express,
14 October 1881, page 3c.
An article by Mr A.T. Saunders on "The Scarcity of Food in Adelaide" in 1839
is in The Mail,
17 January 1914, page 8g.
"How the Pioneers Lived and Worked" is in the Register,
23 July 1925, page 12e.
Early farming is described in the Southern Australian,
2 April 1840, page 4b.
An 1840 sketch is reproduced in the Pictorial Australian in
March 1884, page 45; also see
January 1887, pages 5, 8 and 9.
Also see Industries - Farming.
"Yarns on Olden Times" is in the Observer,
3 January 1880, page 33d.
The Register of 8 November 1869, page 2f and 22 June 1897, page 6e talks of the city in its early days:
It was then easy to lose oneself in the sylvan city even in the daytime and
at night it was scarcely possible to avoid doing so. The maze-like character
of the spot was much enhanced by the multitudes of wattles...
The people were walking at a rapid business-like rate, passing each other with slight nods, as if time were precious... There were posts at intervals to protect the foot passage; these were split and warped. Heat seemed the order of the day... In approaching the town from the Port the west and most dilapidated portion is presented, with just sufficient amount of civilisation to spoil the verdure of the country...
Adelaide in 1839" is recalled in the Register, 15 January 1878, page 5d:
At that time it resembled an extensive Gypsy encampment. Not the semblance
of a street existed on the land; although all the main streets had been duly
laid down on the plan. It was in fact an extensive woodland, with here a
solitary tent and there clusters of erratic habitations. There were canvas
tents, tarpaulin tents, wurleys made of branches, log huts, packing-case
villas and a few veritable wooden cottages...
The scene in 1897 was a little different:
[I] am astonished and disgusted to find one of our most important business
thoroughfares converted into a rendezvous for the assembling of a most disreputable
class of men who ply their trade of gambling in the street, and under the
eye, and apparently with the sanction of the police.
(Register, 10 July 1897, page 7h.)
26 March 1840, page 3d,
2, 16 and 23 April 1840, pages 4d, 5a and 4a.
"Talk with a Pioneer - The First White Woman in Adelaide" is in the Register,
28 December 1906, page 5b.
"Early Adelaide After 1840" is in the Observer,
16 January 1926, page 49e.
A reprint of an article by Nathaniel Hailes entitled "Early Adelaide" is in
8 July 1907, page 4h.
Recollections of early days of the colony are in the Advertiser,
27 December 1886, page 5d.
Adelaide Pre 1841
(Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)
Brought from the discomforts of shipboard, we were lodged in a square of not exceeding ten feet, exposed to wind, water, heat and cold. During our sojourn in these quarters it often occurred that in same small square were crammed two families, evincing the great regard paid by the authorities to decency and general comfort, 'sadly destroying morality and engendering in the habitus from many steaming carcases, diseases, miseries and death.'
The square, situated in the Park Lands in the vicinity of the modern-day railway yards and north of the Newmarket Hotel, consisted of a good number of weatherboard houses which had been brought from England in framework. They were fixed on brick, about a foot from the ground, and had strong board floors and gabled ends, with the door and window facing west and east.
Interspersed with these structures were ramshackle huts each comprised of two rooms, each compartment being 16 feet square, with sapling sides, the roofs being thatched and filled with reeds gathered from the banks of the River Torrens. The hospital, the dispensary and the resident doctor's quarters were in the centre of the square.
There were twenty or more of these houses forming the square, but only one or two had a fireplace, the fuel consisting of green bushes brought by the Aborigines. To kindle a fire required a certain expertise because safety and/or lucifer matches were not in common use. Accordingly, the following method was utilised - In one hand a piece of flint was held, and in the other a piece of steel and these had to be struck against each other until the sparks went down on to the tinder.
Shortly after our arrival the miserable sheds forming the Emigration Depot were declared to be incapable of affording that comfortable and healthy shelter that persons coming off so long a voyage require. I recall, vividly, a mother lying on a bed and groaning with dysentery, while in the same room two hulking fellows narrated past adventures with flippant indecency of tongue. Diseases gained strength in the foul air and the great number of beings congregated in such confined spaces should have called for remedial action by the authorities. But, alas, during our period of occupation, no positive action was undertaken.
Further, the medical attention supplied to the emigrants was exceedingly defective and it was believed, generally, by the inmates that the necessity for cool, pure water could have been alleviated at a moderate cost by sinking wells.
I might add that the first general store in South Australia was established here in 1837 when John B. Hack and his brother, Stephen, brought to the colony a quantity of groceries and drapery. A Mrs Chittleborough purchased some of the stock and opened a shop in 'Buffalo Row' but, unfortunately, the family's reed hut and store caught fire in the middle of the night and was razed to the ground.
One event I recall was a banquet prepared by John Adams for about a dozen colonists at a cost of a half-a-crown per head. A special fire was made in the open air as there were no fireplaces. Two forked sticks were put in the ground on each side of the fire and a cross piece on the top. A bullock's heart was suspended before the fire and kept revolving, a dish underneath being utilised to catch every drop which, I assumed, was to be combined with some flour to make a 'piquant' gravy. It was no sooner pronounced as being ready for the table when it was attacked with gusto and 'there was none wasted'.
Information on the square is in the SA Record,
November 1837, page 8c,
17 January 1880, page 114b,
12 April 1924, page 58d,
31 December 1894, page 6e.
"Cruel Robbery" at an Immigrants' Depot is in the Register,
8 January 1855, page 2g.
The reminiscences of Nathaniel Hailes are in the Register,
9 July 1857, page 3f,
20 July 1907, page 44c and
James Chittleborough (ex Buffalo) in the Advertiser,
29 November 1912, page 12b;also see
26 April 1900, page 6g.
Emigration Square is described in the Observer,
29 December 1906, page 37c,
20 July 1907, page 44c,
27 July 1911, page 9c under "Landing in Pioneer Days":
The square consisted of a good number of weatherboard houses which had been
brought from England in framework. They were fixed on brick, about a foot
from the ground, and had strong board floors and gabled ends, with the door
and window facing west and east... The hospital, the dispensary and the resident
doctor's quarters were in the centre of the square.
Brought from the discomforts of shipboard, he is lodged in a square of
not exceeding ten feet, exposed to wind, water, heat and cold...; often
into the same small square are crammed two families, evincing the great
regard paid by the authorities to decency and general comfort, sadly destroying
morality and engendering in the habitus from many steaming carcasses, diseases,
miseries and death.
13 April 1839, page 3c; also see
18 February 1843, page 2d,
16 May 1846, page 2c,
26 June 1839, page 2e,
8 January 1932, page 14i.)
...those miserable sheds forming the Emigration Depot - a place notwithstanding
the outlay of a large sum of money in repairing it... has been pronounced...
to be "incapable of affording that comfortable and healthy shelter which
persons coming off so long a voyage require."
(Adelaide Chronicle, 22 July 1840, page 3d.)
Adelaide Pre 1841
Also see Place Names - Light.
On Reading the Mystified Square Controversy in the South Australian Register
The difference between one mile square and square mile one
Oh! Why should it puzzle me?
The last refers to area alone,
The first to boundary.
In laying out our Adelaide City
Square acres were the go,
And puzzled many - more's the pity!
Even the D.S.GL* was so.
For our new Northern Capital,
Half-acres are the rule,
If square, to find root principle
Need we all go back to school.
R.G. Symonds (former assistant-surveyor to Colonel Light) in the Advertiser,
5 February 1864, page 3c.
* Vide South Australian Gazette, Nov., 1838
Information on Colonel Light's survey of Adelaide is in the Observer,
14 January 1854, page 1c (supp.).
"Selecting the Site of the City" is in the Observer,
17 September 1881, page 41d,
26 March 1904, page 40a,
"Colonel Light's Adelaide - Peculiarities of His Plan" in the Advertiser,
8 July 1921, page 9a,
"Another Historic Map" on
12 July 1921, page 7a; also see
13 July 1921, page 11d.
"City of Adelaide - Question of Boundaries" is in the Register,
11 October 1919, page 11a.
"Place of First Peg in City - Survey to be Marked" is in the Register,
20 February 1929, page 9a.
Information on and photographs of "The Survey of Adelaide - The Starting Point" are in the Chronicle,
18 July 1929, page 48.
"The Birth of Adelaide" is in the Chronicle,
10 January 1935, page 48,
"In and About Early Adelaide" on
26 March 1935, page 47,
4 and 11 April 1935, pages 48 and 48.
"Colonel Light and the Survey of Adelaide" is the subject of a letter from
Colonel Palmer to George Fife Angas - see Register,
23 February 1874, page 6a,
"Historic Relics - Used in Survey of Adelaide" appears on
5 April 1919, page 5a.
Information on the foundation of the city supplied
by G.S. Kingston is in the Register,
17 May 1877, page 5b - see
21 May 1877, page 6e for a lengthy letter from him on his day to day movements during November and December 1836.
"Then and Now" is in the Observer,
8 January 1870, page 11f.
The Register of 20 January 1883 at page 5b has an interesting snippet of history concerning a Mr Corney who came out to South Australia "with the survey party under Mr Kingston":
When the survey of Adelaide was being commenced all the officers and men were
grouped around Colonel Light who said to Corney "Now, Corney, undo the chain
and if you live to be an old man you can say you measured the first town
(Also see Register, 24 January 1883 (supp), page 1c.)
26 March 1910, page 6,
"Adelaide's Youth - Bargains in Land" in the Advertiser,
2 August 1913, page 22a,
"Original Cost of Adelaide" in The Mail,
16 January 1926, page 1a.
The original purchasers of Town Acres are listed in the Chronicle,
29 July 1871, page 5.
An obituary of an early surveyor, James Lewis, is in the Register,
16 April 1891, page 5a.
"Alignments in the City - The Need of Permanent Marks" is in the Express,
8 June 1893, page 3g.
"The Old Survey Stables" is in the Register,
29 January 1903, page 4f.
"Disposition of Public Lands" is in the Observer,
1 March 1913, page 39a.
"Early Adelaide - Survey and Land Grants" is in the Register,
25 December 1913, page 18.
"Colonel Light's Town Office" is in the Register,
8 December 1917, page 8f.
Unveiling an obelisk to commemorate the survey of Adelaide is reported in
17 July 1929, page 10a.