Echoes of Port Adelaide 1

Pt Adelaide 1

Yesterday TRH (The Retired Husband) and I went touristing. Right here in our hometown of Adelaide. To be more specific, Port Adelaide. A historic location, Port Adelaide was officially proclaimed a harbour on the 23rd February 1837.  By 1900 over 1000 ships a year called in, bringing supplies and passengers to the growing population of the state. The hustle and bustle of the early days is long gone. Beautifully appointed and researched, the Railway and Marine Museums housed in the Port detail the history of the era.

The Clipper Ship, City of Adelaide, pictured top left,  is the world’s oldest clipper ship. Built in Sunderland, England, and launched on 7 May 1864, it took a group of volunteers 13 years and AUD2 million to organise for her return to Adelaide for restoration in Feb 2014. Sadly, the project has now run out of funds. 

Between 1864 and 1887 the ship made 23 annual return voyages from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. During this period she played an important part in the immigration of Australia. On the return voyages she carried passengers, wool, and copper from Adelaide and Port Augusta to London. Here’s some trivia for those interested in maritime history – 

  • An estimated 250,000 Australians can trace their ancestry to the City of Adelaide.

  • Of composite construction (iron frame with timber hull) it was the pinnacle of sailing ship design.

  • Older of only 2 surviving composite clipper ships, the other being the Cutty Sark.

  • Made 23 return voyages from England to South Australia

  • Among the fastest clippers on the London—Adelaide run, sharing the record of 65 days with Yatala, which was later broken only by the Torrens.

The Port Adelaide Lighthouse, pictured above bottom right hand corner, was first lit in 1869 at the entrance to the Port River. It was relocated to its current position in 1986 now serving as a tourist attraction.  Heritage listed, 21 metres in height, it is an iconic local landmark.

Pt A Street Art 4

In January 2015 the local council held a Wonderwalls Festival in Port Adelaide. More than 20 local and overseas artists painted murals on the walls of buildings in the Port. The art work can be found in many locations, lifting the ambiance and adding vibrancy to the community.


Pt A Street Art 5

Street art in Adelaide has become popular over the last few years, with local councils supporting it and holding arts festivals. I’ll thrill you with more trivia on street art next week. Adelaide street art  includes the full gamut of contemporary street art mediums such as stenciling, murals, paste-ups, sticker art and yarn bombing. It can be found in many locations.  The main concentrations can be found in Port Adelaide and the CBD.


Pt Adelaide 2

Two bridges span the Port River. Birkenhead Bridge, a drawbridge,  was opened in 1940. The second opening road bridge,  the Port River Expressway Bridge,  is a relatively new addition, being opened in 2008. The heritage listed Harbours Board building now houses educational programs. The river hosts dolphin cruises, the occasional Tall Ships, container vessels, some cruise liners and other odds and sods.

The Torrens Island Power station pictured on the bottom right burns natural gas to generate electricity for the state. It is the largest power station in South Australia, piping in gas from Moomba in the Cooper Basin. Our yacht, Finnally is moored at the Small Boat Club located just down the road from it.


Pt A Street Art 3

There is a lot more to tell about this historic location of our city. I’ll do that next week.

Jacqueline hosts a weekly Echoes of My Neighbourhood over at her blog – it’s a great way to armchair travel:


© Raili Tanska


15 thoughts on “Echoes of Port Adelaide 1

  1. This is especially interesting to me, Raili, because, although we are not in touch I have family in Adelaide – the descendants of two Uncles who emigrated from UK soon after WW2

    1. Yes, there’s a core group of volunteers who man the site every day to raise profile, attract interest etc Don’t know how successful they are, but they are certainly motivated and persistent.

      1. It would be a massive undertaking, but I wish them well. I’ve never visited Adelaide, but I have an ancestor who was born in Sunderland in 1805 and who died of the DTs in Adelaide in 1852. His widow and 2 children spent some time in the Adelaide Destitute Asylum.

      2. Oh my! You’re the second person to tell me they have some sort of link to Adelaide ! The Asylum was not a nice place back then, poor people !!

      3. Oh yes. The location was changed too in the early days. Moved to the country so the loonies weren’t close to ordinary people! That site is inner city now 🙂 The service delivery model of course is very different now too.Thank goodness!

      1. Darwin is at the very top of Australia. Almost directly opposite Adelaide, which is way down south by over 2000 km. I’m talking about Port Adelaide.

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