Port Adelaide


Port Adelaide is a rejuvenated old port filled with interesting museums and historic buildings - the ideal place for visitors to spend some time taking in the atmosphere of the place.

This locality was originally known as Port Misery, because it was a mosquito-infested swamp when the first settlers landed there. In the post-war years, the name still seemed appropriate to the migrants arriving from Europe as the area was falling into decline as a result of containerisation, leaving its wharfing facilities abandoned. These days it has been cleaned up and given a new lease of life; the old terminal building next to the lighthouse bustles with life every market day (Sundays and Monday public holidays).



The port is now home to the Dacou Aboriginal Art Gallery, a seashorse farm, the South Australian Maritime Museum, the National Railway Museum (one of, if not the country's best), the South Australian Aviation Museum, Australian Museum of Childhood and cruisers that take visitors dolphin spotting on Port River. Port Adelaide is known for its well preserved 19th-century pubs and hotels, reflecting the area's maritime history in catering to the sailors of trading ships. The earliest recorded was the Port Hotel. It opened in 1838, two years before the port was officially declared. From 1838 to 1906, sixty differently named hotels had been run on 38 different sites within Port Adelaide. Many old pubs still serve up excellent counter lunches, helping to make the whole place come alive again. The British Hotel is the longest continually licensed. It opened 1847 as a single storey building, and was rebuilt with two further storeys in 1876 for then-owner Henry Ayers. Dockside Tavern is one of the few Late Victorian style buildings remaining in the Port. It was opened as the Britannia Hotel in 1850 then was rebuilt on site in 1898, in contemporary style.

Location: 20 km north-west of Adelaide.
How to get there: by car, drive north along Port Rd; by rail, take the train to Port Adelaide station and walk north along Commercial Rd.

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National Railway Museum



The National Railway Museum rival Trainworks at Thirlemere, NSW, as Australia's largest and most comprehensive railway museum. With over 100 exhibits representing state, Commonwealth and private railway operators on the three major rail gauges used in Australia, this museum would have to be the Mecca for railway enthusiasts in Australia. Its displays include dozens of locomotives (steam and diesel), carriages and rolling stock from all eras, from the Broken Hill-Silverton ore-carrying tramway and Tea and Sugar trains of the Nullarbor Plain through to the blue ribbon Trans-Australian and Central Australian Railway express services. A narrow gauge train circles the complex, taking visitors on rides; a large model railway depicts South Australia's sea ports, the open plains, country towns, the Adelaide Hills, suburbia, and even a break of gauge station. The museum was sited in the former Port Dock railway station. A significant change in 2001 was the opening of the Commonwealth Railways display pavilion. Visitors can ride in historic railway and custom-built narrow gauge carriages. Bub, a 457 mm steam locomotive, and Ken, a 457 mm diesel locomotive, take passengers on a loop track around the two main pavilions. Another 457 mm steam locomotive, Bill, is used for some of the year on a seafront rail line between Semaphore and Fort Glanville Conservation Park. Peronne, a narrow gauge steam locomotive, is used for further runs during special events. This locomotive was built in 1919 and used by Broken Hill Associated Smelters at Port Pirie until 1964. The museum has track and trains representing all three main rail gauges used in South Australia: broad (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in); standard (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1 D2 in); and narrow (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). Locomotives and rail stock fill two large display pavilions, and are accompanied by other historic railway related displays. On site is the South Australian Heritage Register listed Port Dock Goods Shed, the last remaining building from the former railway station. It was built in the 1870s and showcases the wooden construction techniques used by the South Australian Railways in the 19th century. The museum has a railway-related retail shop, hosts special events including an Annual Friends of Thomas show. The 1947 cafeteria car, or the entire site, can be hired. Entry fees apply.

Contact: (08) 8341 1690.
Location: Lipson Street, Port Adelaide, 20 km north-west of Adelaide.
How to get there: by car, drive north along Port Rd; by rail, take the train to Port Adelaide station and walk north along Commercial Rd.





South Australian Maritime Museum



Covering the maritime history of South Australia and the development of Port Adelaide, this is an excellent maritime museum operated by the History Trust of SA. Its displays explore South Australia's connections to the sea and water environments and the journeys made had to make to get there. The Museum is housed in the former Elders Bond & Free Stores; a joined pair of Victorian warehouses. These bluestone buildings were built mostly between 1854 c1863. They were used as a warehouse until the 1970s when they began housing the Port Auction Mart.

Within the museum is a reconstructed ketch and displays showing the accommodation for ship travelling migrants. The Museum houses the Port Adelaide Nautical Museum Collection. At the Port Adelaide Institute a diverse curio collection was formed into a museum from 1872. It was changed to specialise in maritime objects in 1933. The collection is displayed in its original Victorian cabinets. The collection includes the steam tug Yelta and the former police launch Archie Badenoch, which are both still afloat and used for harbour cruises; the ketch Nelcebee, the oldest powered ship in Australia, is on hardstand on Dock 2. Entry fees to the Museum apply.



Contact: (08) 8207 6255.
Location: 126 Lipson St, Port Adelaide.
How to get there: by car, drive north along Port Rd, north along Commercial Rd, right into Divett St; by rail, take the train to Port Adelaide station and walk north along Commercial Rd, right into Divett St.



South Australian Aviation Museum



The South Australian Aviation Museum displays the museum's comprehensive collection of civil and military aircraft, surrounded by a display covering the early pioneering days to modern times. Take the controls of the Aero Commander, activate the Lincoln Bomber propeller, climb aboard the Dakota C47 and see the classic Spitfire and more aircraft. Learn about South Australia's rich aviation history with the memorabilia displays. A new two hour tour is a great way to get up close and personal with the iconic F-111. The museum's guides take guests on an individual tour of this great aircraft s exterior and cockpit and explain its many features.

In 1991 the State Historical Aviation Collection became part of the museum. This collection was formerly held by the National Motor Museum in Birdwood. A collection of rockets from Woomera was received for display in 1996.[89] Amongst the exhibits are a Spitfire Mark VC that was recovered after crashing in Papua New Guinea in 1943, a de Havilland Sea Venom formerly from the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and a Douglas C-47B (Dakota) that was used for Government VIP transportation.

In 1996 the Museum became the home of the heritage rocket collection associated with the Woomera Test Range in the period 1950-1980. The heritage rocket collection is the property of the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Location: Lipson Street (South), Port Adelaide.
Contact: (08) 8240 1230.
How to get there: by car, drive north along Port Rd, north along Commercial Rd, right into Divett St; by rail, take the train to Port Adelaide station and walk north along Commercial Rd, right into Divett St.



Birkenhead Bridge



Servicing both road and shipping traffic, the twin bascule span bridge is unusual in Australia, and was in fact the first bascule bridge in Australia. "Bascule" refers to the "see-saw" action of the lifting mechanism that allows each 360 tonne leaf to tilt upwards to allow ships through. By 1940 the need for access to the developing industrial areas of Birkenhead and Osborne from Port Adelaide was obvious and the Birkenhead Bridge was opened in 1940. Birkenhead Bridge services both road and shipping traffic for South Australia's major port, Port Adelaide. It spans the upper reaches of the Port River and links the LeFevre Peninsula with the Adelaide metropolitan area.

Tom 'Diver' Derrick Bridge, commonly referred to as the 'Diver' Derrick Bridge, is an opening, single-leaf bascule bridge over the Port River. It was built at the same time as an adjacent rail crossing, the Mary MacKillop Bridge. At the opening of both bridges the State Premier Mike Rann unveiled a plaque dedicated to Mary Mackillop blessed by Pope Benedict during his recent visit to Sydney.

Port River



Prior to European settlement Port Adelaide was covered with mangrove swamps and tidal mud flats, and lay next to a narrow creek. The entrance to this creek, the Port River, was first reported in 1831. It was explored by Europeans when Captain Henry Jones entered in 1834. The creek's main channel was then fed by numerous smaller creeks, and was 2-4 fathoms (4-7 m) deep. The navigable channel was narrow and the creek soon faded into swamps and sandhills. At low tide the channel was surrounded by mudbanks. Dry and solid land ended near present-day Alberton.

The Port River is the western branch of the largest tidal estuary on the eastern side of Gulf St Vincent. It extends inland through the historic Inner Harbour of Port Adelaide, to the constructed salt-water West Lakes in the north-western suburbs of Adelaide.

The lower reaches of the Port River flow between the Lefevre Peninsula, and the Section Bank and Torrens Island, and form the sea entrance to the port facilities of Adelaide, and connect to the Barker Inlet to the east via the North Arm and Angas Inlet which surround Garden Island. Before European settlement of Adelaide's western suburbs and the construction of various flood mitigation channels and levees, the Port River formed one of the outlets of the River Torrens.

The banks of the river are largely industrialised and have some of Adelaide s wharves, bulk cargo and container handling facilities, although there are some remnant mangroves. One of its main attractions other than transport is the Port River dolphins, which are the only wild dolphins in the world that live within a city.


No. 2 Dock

Besides shipping using the river's main channel, a fishing fleet operates out of the North Arm which also has a speed boat club. Recreational boating marinas are located in the Angas Inlet and on the Lefevre Peninsula.. The ASC (formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation) has its construction and maintenance facility and dock at Osborne, and there is a heritage-listed former Quarantine Station on Torrens Island.

Several power stations including the Torrens Island Power Station and the Pelican Point Power Station, draw seawater from the Port River for cooling purposes. The Port Adelaide Rowing Club has rowed on the river for one hundred and thirty years, and the river was formerly a frequent venue for the Intervarsity eights race.

History of Port Adelaide



Prior to European settlement Port Adelaide was covered with mangrove swamps and tidal mud flats, and lay next to a narrow creek. The entrance to this creek, the Port River, was first reported in 1831. It was explored by Europeans when Captain Henry Jones entered in 1834. The creek's main channel was then fed by numerous smaller creeks, and was 2-4 fathoms (4-7 m) deep. The navigable channel was narrow and the creek soon faded into swamps and sandhills. At low tide the channel was surrounded by mudbanks. Dry and solid land ended near present-day Alberton.

Colonel William Light began closely exploring the area in late 1836 while deciding on a site for the colony of South Australia's port. After initial trepidation, he reported to the Colonisation Commissioners that the location was a suitable harbour. By this time it had acquired the name "the port creek". Light's choice of separating the port and Adelaide was strongly opposed by a few merchants, a newspaper and Governor John Hindmarsh. This opposition was largely based on the distance between them. The division of power in the colony meant that the final decision was Light's alone. He kept Adelaide and the port separate principally due to the lack of fresh water at the port.

The development of the Lefevre Peninsula and Port Adelaide began in 1849 when the Semaphore area was surveyed by the Government, even lthough Semaphore was widely used a harbour as early 1837-38. Two years later the original Semaphore Hotel opened on the south corner of Blacker Street and The Esplanade. In 1856 a telegraph line was extended to Semaphore from Port Adelaide. Three years later, Port Bridge opened, connecting Semaphore and Port Adelaide.

In 1878 after the completion of the Jervois Bridge, a railway line from Semaphore to Port Adelaide was opened and Semaphore began to grow. It became popular both as a residential suburb for Port Adelaide as well as a seaside resort for metropolitan Adelaide and towns near the country railways.

Port Adelaide was officially proclaimed as a harbour in 1837. Its original name, Port Misery, is said to have been adopted because it was a mosquito-infested swamp when the first settlers landed there. It has also been suggested the name described the unsatisfactory handling of goods at the site. In 1839, the name was changed to Port Adelaide. Today, it still maintains the port working-class feel but it is slowly becoming gentrified, especially along the Port River. The suburb has many old colonial buildings, such as the Port Adelaide Uniting Church, primarily near the wharves (St Vincent Street, Lipson Street and Divett Street), that have been placed under State heritage listing.

Birkenhead was laid out on section 700, Hundred of Port Adelaide, by Thomas Elder and John Hart. It is believed to have been named after Birkenhead in Cheshire, England which derives from the Old English bicern - 'birch', thus, 'headland overgrown with birch'.

Landowner John Lapthorne subdivided Exeter sometime before January 1854, but the name of Exeter doesn't appear on official documents until 1882. Lapthorne arrived in South Australia on the Orissa in 1840. He was born at Exeter, Devonshire in 1807 and died at Exeter, Adelaide in 1889. The name come from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "fortress on the river". In 877 AD it was written as 'exe-cestre' where the 'exe' refers to the River Exe and 'cestre' derived from the Old English 'ceaster - city or walled town'.

The name Glanville recalls John Hart, an early colonial who, in 1856, built a home on land he owned on Le Fevre Peninsula which he called 'Glanville Hall', after his mother, whose maiden name was Mary Glanville. One of the imposing family mansions of early SA, the house was constructed of stone bought from near Port Vincent on Yorke Peninsula across Saint Vincent Gulf by flat bottom sailing barges which were sailed across the tidal flats at Ethelton at high tide, the stone unloaded onto drays on the ebb and carted to the side of the mansion. The first subdivision of the area was in 1859 when part section 908-9 were cut up into 'Township of Portbridge' by the owners, Mrs. Alfred Watts and Philip Levi. John Hart laid out Glanville on section 910 in 1865.

The suburb of Peterhead was laid out in August 1875 by William Diverall, a land broker of Port Adelaide. The name was originated in Scotland from whence Mr. Diverall immigrated in the 'Atlanta' in 1886. In early history it was recorded as 'petri-promontorium' while in 1595 it was corrupted to 'peterpolle; poll' - 'a head' another source states it was written as 'petyrheid' in 1544 and concludes - "the remains of the old Church of Saint peter can still be seen."












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