Echoes of Pt Adelaide 2

Pt Adelaide 5

Last week The Retired Husband (TRH) and  I took you on the first part of a tour of Port Adelaide. Today, I want to introduce you to some more of this fascinating historical port.

The heritage listed Dockside Tavern pictured above was originally named The Britannia. It was opened in October 1850 and is one of the few remaining Victorian buildings. John Murphy, a publican of the hotel in later years, was  fined ten shillings in 1878 for ‘neglecting  to have a lighted lamp in front of his house between sunset of 9 June and sunrise the following morning.” Harsh penalties!

Some of you may not know that South Australia was the only state that was free settled. Here’s just a quick snapshot of our history –

22,000 BC

Evidence of aboriginal occupation through flint mining and cave wall engravings

Discovery and colonisation of Australia

There is documented evidence of mariners sailing Australian waters since 1606.  In 1770, Englishman Lieutenant James Cook charted the Australian east coast in his ship HM Barque Endeavour. Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, comprising 11 ships and around 1,350 people, arrived at Botany Bay between 18 and 20 January 1788. This marked the beginning of British penal colonisation of Australia.

South Australia Pre-colonization

About 40 tribal groups of aborigines inhabited SA


Charles Sturt expedition from NSW reached the River Murray mouth in SA


Collett surveyed the Gulf St Vincent, climbed Mt Lofty and saw the Port River inlet


The Colonization Act of South Australia was passed


January: Free passage scheme for immigrant labourers commenced.
19 February: Letters patent issued for creation of the Province of South Australia and definition of its boundaries.
22, 24 February: 1st migrant ships left England with British pioneers for SA.
12 April: Pastor ALC Kavel first met with GF Angas in London to initiate arrangements for the emigration of German Lutherans from Klemzig & elsewhere to SA. German influence is notable and evident in SA to this day especially in the wine industry and the establishment of the Lutheran Church in Australia. The church’s headquarters and seminary are still based here in Adelaide.
1st permanent pioneer settlers in large numbers arrived at Kangaroo Island on 27, 30 July and 16 August aboard the Duke of YorkLady Mary Pelham and John Pirie.
5 September: Light (Founding Father of Adelaide) began his exploration of the areas proposed as possibilities for the capital of SA.
14 November: 1st pioneer settlers arrived on the mainland at Holdfast Bay aboard the Africaine .


Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the colony was proclaimed at the Old Gum Tree in Glenelg (a seaside suburb of Adelaide and the original location of the capital)  by Governor John Hindmarsh.

31 December: Population (excluding aborigines) 546 (estimate). Aboriginal population 12,000 (estimate). Sadly from this time on there was a sharp decline in the local indigenous population due to multiple factors not the least of which was the introduction of white man’s diseases.


31 December: Population (excluding aborigines) 3,270 (estimate).


SA Police Force established (1st in Australia)
31 December: Population (excluding aborigines) 6,000 (estimate).


Dr Matthew Moorhouse was appointed Protector of Aborigines.


1st Barossa Valley winery established at Jacob’s Creek.


Steam navigation of the River Murray began.
SA was Australia’s major wheat producer.

By 1931 the population had reached 577,079. Along with colonisation came  the growth of a thriving industry spreading across the state. The state’s economy is still largely dominated by agriculture manufacturing and mining.Tragically again a lot of it was at a great cost to the  local indigenous population.

The current population is 1.7 million, with three quarters of the people living in Adelaide. The state’s economy is dominated by agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries.

Pt A Street Art 2

The large building on the left is the old Fisheries building. Each of its walls features street art. The building itself, owned by the state government, has stood empty for the last decade.

We had lunch at the Pancake Café by the Port River. My review can be found on Trip Advisor, lol ! I started writing them just for the fun of it. To my surprise I have had 5,000 readers so far !! Not at all sure what any of this entitles me to other than Trip Advisor politely requesting I  write more reviews.

The current port location was officially opened in 1840, with the harbour being declared three years prior. As the depth of the water was too shallow for large vessels Outer Harbour was completed in 1908, allowing larger steamships to dock. This facility is still in use with Adelaide becoming a more popular destination for cruise liners of late.

The first bridge to span the river was opened in 1859 with the Birkenhead bridge being the first bascule  moving bridge in Australia. Bascule I have discovered is the fancy name for a drawbridge.

The ships graveyard in the North Arm has 25 identified wrecks. For some time in the late 1800’s it was used to house explosives.

Pt Adelaide 4

The Fishermen’s Wharf markets are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Located next to the Lighthouse in a huge warehouse it’s a hub of activity on weekends. There isn’t much that can’t be found there, including local  buskers and  the obligatory fast food vans.

One of the big tourist attractions in Port Adelaide are its famous dolphins.  The  Indo-Pacific Bottlenose can be seen leaping and cavorting in the waters of the Port River. Our ketch Finnally is always escorted by dolphins when she is out sailing. They also come into the marina where she is berthed. Careful records are kept by volunteers and dolphin health is closely monitored.   Extensive research is being also being conducted  by the Australian Dolphin Research Foundation (ADRF) on the behavior and life-cycle of the coastal dolphins, in particular in Port Adelaide. Each dolphin studied by the ADRF has been identified and named. Like people, they have individual personalities. Billie, Sparkle, Captain Hook and many others, live and play in and around the waters of Port Adelaide which has been declared a Dolphin Sanctuary, the first  of its kind to be established in an urban environment. It was opened on Saturday 4 June 2005, the eve of World Environment Day.

Pt A st26

Port Princess Dolphin cruises are a popular way to spend a leisurely afternoon .

The Port River is home to a thriving industry. Just one of them is Techport Australia.  It is home to Australia’s two largest naval projects – the Collins class submarine sustainment and Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyer. When we drove around the area accessible to the public, we were surprised at how busy it was. When TRH was last there the car parks were almost empty. Now there was not a vacant spot to be found. The photo in the poster above is a newly completed war ship. Others were in progress with bits of ships waiting to be put together  – much like a Lego construction kit I imagine!

Pt A Street Art 1

Some more of the colourful wonderwall artworks to be found in Port Adelaide.

Pt Adelaide 3

Above top is  the Marina Adelaide where many private yachts are moored. It is also the site where Finnally is brought in to dry dock for major maintenance such as repainting.

The industrialised areas on the outskirts of Port Adelaide are not so pretty. They house mountains of empty containers. There are also many yards of new imported cars waiting to be distributed to their destinations.


© Raili Tanska



9 thoughts on “Echoes of Pt Adelaide 2

    1. Thanks Calen 🙂 They are always around Finnally and often glide along in the wake or surf alongside. There are some well known local identities too and some who bring their babies in to the Port River.

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