Adelaide, South Australia
View of Port Adelaide over the Port River from Birkenhead, with (L to R) Ales and Sails hotel, Port Adelaide Lighthouse and Queen's Wharf Markets visible.
|Population||1,293 (2011 Census)|
|Location||14 km (9 mi) from Adelaide|
|LGA(s)||City of Port Adelaide Enfield|
|State/territory electorate(s)||Port Adelaide|
|Federal Division(s)||Port Adelaide|
Port Adelaide is a suburb of Adelaide lying about 14 kilometres northwest of the City of Adelaide. It lies within the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and is the main port for the city of Adelaide. Port Adelaide played an important role in the formative decades of Adelaide and South Australia, with the port being early-Adelaide's main supply and information link to the rest of the world.
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.
Port Misery 
The effective foundation day of Port Adelaide was 6 January 1837. On this day the first Harbourmaster, Captain Thomas Lipson (Royal Navy), took up residence with his family on the edge of Port Creek. The new port was used for shipping later that month, and passengers began disembarking the next. At this point the site was known as The Port Creek Settlement.
When founded the port's land was just higher than the surrounding tidal flats; at high tide the port could be rowed around. The port had a significant problem—reported in letters from Light and complaints to the Governor from ship owners—of a lack of a fresh water supply. At first the river was not used for larger ships; they had to land at Holdfast Bay until the port was charted. This early port was plagued by mosquitoes, was a comparative long distance from Adelaide, had few amenities and had a risk of inundation when the tide was very high. By 1840 it had acquired the name "Port Misery"; the name was widely used in news reports. It was first coined in a book credited to T. Horton James, probably a pseudonym, and comes from a line stating:
|“||This is Port Adelaide! Port Misery would be a better name; for nothing in any other part of the world can surpass it in every thing that is wretched and inconvenient.||”|
The original drawings of Adelaide City Plan by Light show that he envisaged a canal (sea communication) between Port Adelaide and the City of Adelaide. The canal was not built; it would have required a massive investment that was not available at the time.
By early 1838, large vessels could only get as far as the end of Gawler Reach (near the current Birkenhead Bridge). Arrivals had to use smaller boats, traverse the mangrove swamps at low tide and climb sandhills to reach the road to Adelaide. A canal for the loading of sailing ships was constructed in 1838, and town acreages nearby surveyed and sold. By the years end deficiencies of the canal were clear. The canal was dry for most of the day and cargo movement very slow. Seagoing ships had to stop some distance from the settlement due to the mudbanks. Cargo and passengers covered the remaining distance in ship's boats. All had to traverse 2–300 m of swamps after landing to reach sandhills, and eventually the road to Adelaide. The new port's first maritime casualty was the migrant ship Tam O'Shanter which ran aground on the outer sand bar. Later a small waterway in the port was named after the ship; the waterway later became the Port Adelaide Canal.
New port 
The port's initial location was intended to be temporary. The location for a proper port was chosen by Governor George Gawler, between the original settlement and the Governor's preferred location at the junction of the North Arm and the Port River. One reason for the chosen site was Gawler's instructions on leaving England to limit expenditure; the North Arm site would have required more transport infrastructure and reclamation work. Gawler awarded a tender allowing the South Australian Company to construct a private wharf, again partly to limit government expenditure. Along with the wharf they were to construct a warehouse and roadway. The roadway was to be a 100 feet (30 m) wide and run from the port to dry land, a distance of approximately 1 mile (1.6 km). This first wharf was built near the end of the modern Commercial Road.
The wharf, known as Maclaren Wharf, was finished in 1840. McLaren Wharf was 336 feet (102 m) long and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep at low tide. Contrary to usual practice, it was allowed to be built at the low water mark, which made construction simpler. The Wharf, warehouse and road were opened by Governor Gawler in October 1840. The opening procession from the old port to the new included over 1,000 people; then the largest assembly of colonists to date. The procession included 600 horsemen and 450 vehicles, almost all of colony's wheeled transportation. At the opening a parcel was ceremonially landed from the barque Guiana. Upon opening the port could accommodate vessels up to 530 long tons (539 t).
During reclamation work, the ground level was raised by approximately 9 feet (3 m), with mud and silt from dredging work. Early houses had their ground floors below the now raised ground level; some had steps built down from road level. The Port Admiral Hotel's original ground floor now forms part of its basement. The last major reclamation was of the Glanville Reserve in 1892. By the mid-1840s, with increasing trade, the wharves proved insufficient and some more private wharves were constructed. During the late 1850s the state of the dry and dusty plain, between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, led to the pejorative terms "Dustholia" and "Mudholia" in summer and winter.
Gas street lighting was erected by the local council in 1881. The town received its first electric lighting in January 1889, lit with the colony's first town supply from a powerhouse in Nile Street. During the rest of the 1800s harbour facilities expanded and the town grew. It gained an impressive range of commercial and institutional buildings. Many have survived, resulting in Port Adelaide having one of the best concentrations of colonial buildings in South Australia. Their significance was recognised in May 1982, when a sizeable part of the town centre was declared a State Heritage Area.
The first wharf was removed or disappeared between the world wars. In the 1920s and 1930s the Port Adelaide wharves underwent a significant reconstruction programme, changing the face of the waterfront. The introduction of containerisation in the 1960s had a major impact on the Port, changing cargo handling methods and significantly reducing the size of the local workforce. To compound the effect of a declining workforce on business activity, competition for shoppers arrived in the form of regional shopping centres. Up until the 1960s the Port had been second only to Adelaide as a shopping and commercial precinct. The opening of shopping centres in nearby suburbs led to a general decline in retail turnover.
Activity in the suburb has declined significantly from its heyday, leaving parts empty and derelict. Historic buildings are closed and sometimes vandalised, shops in the main streets are empty and boarded up. In October 2009 it was named, by the National Trust of Australia, as one of the country's most at risk heritage sites. A lack of people living in, and travelling to, Port Adelaide is seen as the major cause of this decline. Efforts to revitalise the suburb are underway by different parties. The Port Adelaide-Enfield council was lobbying from late 2009 to have the National Motor Museum relocated from its Adelaide Hills location of Birdwood.
Redevelopment of the waterfront was first publicly discussed in 1975. Over the following years, plans and costs were proposed and discussed but most lapsed without action. By 2002, the "Newport Quays" consortium was the government's preferred bidder for a $1.2 billion project to cover 51 hectares (130 acres) of under used land. The development was unveiled in 2003 and land sales began two years later. This development was stated to be worth $1.5 billion and would comprise 2000 homes, construction of which would create 4000 jobs. By 2006 Newport Quays was being criticised for its poor planning for a residential development, criticism that continued with each stage of the project. By early 2007, two stages of the now $2 billion development were under construction, or nearing completion, and the third's plans submitted; The plans included provision for a 100-berth marina and one building built over the water. By 2008 reports showed the resale value of some properties in the developments were under the initial cost. the local council estimated that less than half of finished properties were occupied.
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. Three years later the First Commercial Inn opened. It has the longest licensing history in the suburb, though discontinuous; It did not trade for 12 years following a fire in 1857.
The British hotel is the longest continually licensed. It opened 1847 as a single storey building, and was rebuilt with two stories in 1876 for then owner Henry Ayers. The South Australian Brewing Company acquired it in 1937. It was known from c. 1907–1952 as "McGraths British Hotel".
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. It was renamed as the Dockside Tavern in 2002. The Golden Port Tavern is on the corner of Vincent and Robe streets. On this site the Carpenters' Arms Tavern opened in late 1850. The Arms was burnt down in 1865 and was replaced with the current hotel, then known as The Globe. The hotel's name was changed to the current one in 1981.
Black Diamond Square—named after the Black Diamond Hotel—is the main intersection of Port Adelaide, at the end of Commercial Road. The hotel was designed by Adelaide architect William Wier. It opened as the White Horse Cellars Inn in 1851, with an integral 600 seat theatre. Parts of the building were used for an early freemason hall, library and the Port Adelaide Institute. It was renamed as the Family Hotel in 1876, then as the Black Diamond Hotel c. 1878. This last name came from the Black Diamond Line shipping company. From 1866–1883 Cannon brand beer was brewed in the hotel. The building was converted to retail shops in 1884 and the Central hotel erected on southern side.
Port Dock Brewery hotel won business awards as best hotel and restaurant in 2001. It was built in 1855 and opened as the Dock Hotel. The current building structure results from an 1883 rebuild, with stone from Dry Creek near Yatala Labour Prison. The Hotel lost its licence in 1909, after a 1906 Opinion Vote. The building was renovated, part of it converted into a small brewery, and reopened as a hotel in 1986. Railway Hotel opened in 1856 opposite the new Port Adelaide railway station, a month before the line to Adelaide was opened. The hotel retains many original features including leadlight windows and an 1890s glass fanlight.
Two six-room houses were built on the corner of Cannon Street and Church Place in 1873. They were converted into a single building and opened as the Kent Hotel in 1875. The building's exterior was restyled in Art Deco fashion in the 1940s and the interior of the hotel completely renovated in the 1990s. It is now known as the Port Anchor Hotel.
Brunwick Pier Hotel was on the corner of Vincent and Robe Streets. It opened 1878 in what had been a butcher's shop. The hotel lost its licence in 1909, along with other hotels, after an opinion poll result in a reduction of the number of licences. After this the building was used as a furniture shop and a butcher's shop. During the 1920s it became a pharmacy specialising in photographic materials and "Kirby's Calcarea Teething Powders"; Medical suites were leased upstairs. It was bought by Birks Chemists in 1946, and remained a pharmacy until 1996; from then to at least 2001 the building was vacant.
On the corner of Dale street is a building that was opened by the Port Adelaide Market Company in 1879, divided into shops, offices and stalls. Part of the building was later adapted to make a seventeen-room hotel, the Newmarket. Colac Hotel, on Ocean Steamer's Road, opened in 1881. It was built opposite the then No. 1 Dock, alongside the 1879 extension to the South Australian Company basin. The hotel has had strong ties to both the Australian Labor Party and the union movement. Both former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and local Member of Parliament Mick Young used to talk to workers at the pub. Mick Young owned the pub from 1988–1990 and as of 2002 it was owned by the Labor Party.
From 1838 to 1906, sixty differently named hotels had been run on thirty-eight different sites within Port Adelaide. A local opinion poll was held in Port Adelaide and other Adelaide districts in February 1906, on the subject of liquor licensing. Port Adelaide voters supported the Temperance Party's platform, reducing the number of licences by a third. Fifteen hotels and three wine licences expired on 25 March 1909 and were not renewed.
Transport and bridges 
The first transport infrastructure in the suburb was the construction of a 1 mile (1.6 km) long road from the port to near the present Alberton Hotel. The road was opened in October 1840. The cost of this road, and the causeway it ran on, proved so large that Governor Gawler allowed the constructing company to charge a toll. Later investigations showed the company was making excessive profits and a compromise was reached where the colony leased the roadway. Ownership of the roadway was later moved to the government, in exchange for land at Dry Creek.
The river was first crossed with a wooden bridge in the 1850s. This was replaced with the iron "Jervois Bridge" in 1878; It was named by Sir William Jervois after himself. Jervois Bridge was an opening bridge first operated by horse power, and later by mechanical means. It was replaced with a fixed bridge in the same position in 1969, when there was no longer a need for small boats to pass. Birkenhead Bridge, the first bascule bridge in Australia, opened in 1940. 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 opened for traffic on 3 August 2008. It is between Docks 1 and 2 at Port Adelaide and links to Francis Street to the east and Victoria Road to the west. It was built at the same time as an adjacent rail crossing, the Mary MacKillop Bridge. The "Port Adelaide and Le Fevre Peninsula Ferry Co" began operations in 1877, ferrying passengers from the end of Commercial road to the other side of the river. The ferry stopped operating in 1943, consequent to opening of the Birkenhead Bridge.
In April 1856 a rail line reached the port, crossing the almost empty plain from Adelaide. By 1876 it was a thriving seaport and the principle artery from South Australia, to the rest of the country and to the World. To service the numerous stores and warehouses, many railway lines were built around the wharf areas, along streets, and connecting to the main lines from Adelaide. A horse tram line was constructed from Port Adelaide to Albert Park in 1879. This line was built in 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge to accommodate steam locomotives. Some of the line was raised on embankments to avoid swampy ground and flooding. The line used horse trams until 1914, when conversion to electric operation began; it reopened on 3 April 1917. From 1917 until its closure in 1935, the Port Adelaide tram system was not connected to the rest of Adelaide's light rail network.
Rail transport in the 21st century uses the Port Adelaide railway station which has two elevated platforms located on a viaduct, built in 1919. Trains connect to Adelaide and Outer Harbor. The line was closed in November 2009 to enable upgrade work on the line, station and viaduct. The line and station are expected to open during 2010. Scheduled bus services directly connect Port Adelaide to much of metropolitan Adelaide. The State Government has promised that the Glenelg Tramline will be extended down Port Road as far as Port Adelaide by 2018. In 2005 the road portion of the Port River Expressway was completed. It is a 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) freeway-grade road, which links Port Adelaide and the Lefevre Peninsula to the northern suburbs of Adelaide, and major interstate routes via Salisbury Highway.
Port Adelaide is home to the Port Adelaide Football Club, an Australian rules football team, though the teams' grounds are outside the suburb's boundaries. It competed in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) from 1870 until 1996, and in the Australian Football League AFL since 1997. The club was awarded the second AFL licence South Australia. It had won 34 SANFL Premierships before its move to the AFL. After moving a side bearing the club's original nickname, the Port Adelaide Magpies, was established in the SANFL and has since won two Premierships.
Port Adelaide is bounded by the Port River and Inner Harbour to the north and west, and by Webb Street and Grand Junction Road to the south. The main town is along St Vincent Street, with a residential area to the south of the train station along Commercial Road and Webb Street. Recent residential development has occurred along the waterfront promenade.
Population and demographics 
From the time of settlement, the port's population grew rapidly. By 1876 it was estimated that there were 5,000 living in 500 houses. More measured figures were 3,013 residents recorded in the 1881 census and 5005—living in approximately 1000 houses—recorded in the 1891 census. By 1911 the port was the State's second largest city and had a population over half that of Adelaide city. By 2006 the population had declined; that year's census records 1,099 living in c. 560 houses. The 2006 census also shows that suburb's median family income is average for Australia, though median individual and household income is lower. Over half of the population identified as Christian—mostly Catholic and Anglican—though almost a third expressed no religious affiliation.
National Railway Museum 
A railway museum was created by rail preservationists, and opened in 1963 on Railway Terrace, Mile End. The mostly outdoor exhibits remained on this site until 1988; during this period the 457 mm (18 in) gauge steam train known as Bub was built. Involvement of the History Trust of South Australia and receipt of a $2 million Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Grant enabled the museum's relocation to Port Adelaide in 1988. On 10 December of that year the Port Dock Railway Museum was opened by State Premier John Bannon. The museum was sited in the former Port Dock railway station, and retained the "Port Dock" name until 2001 when it was renamed the National Railway Museum. A significant change in 2001 was the opening of the Commonwealth Railways display pavilion. It was built with the assistance of a grant received under the Federation Grant Scheme; a scheme that commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the Federation of Australia. The pavilion was officially opened in October by the Honorable Peter McGauran, then Federal Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation.
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 is an independent entity, run by volunteers and a small paid staff. It 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 1⁄2 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.
South Australian Maritime Museum 
On Lipson Street, within a historic warehouse, is the South Australian Maritime Museum. 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. The site was purchased in 1980 by the State Government, during a program to redevelop the suburb. It was listed in July 1980 as a State Heritage Place. The buildings were restored, and converted to their current use, as part of the 1986 Jubilee 150 celebration.
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.
Historic fleet 
The South Australian Maritime Museum has a collection of 25 historic vessels of various sizes, most of which are in storage. 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.
Other historic ships are owned by the Department of Transport. These include the 1919-built ketch Falie, now berthed beside the Australian Fisheries Academy, just west of the Birkenhead Bridge, and the tall ship One and All, built in Port Adelaide in 1985 as part of the state's 150th jubilee project and used for sail training, which is currently berthed at the Royal SA Yacht Squadron's marina at Outer Harbor.
The City of Adelaide Preservation Trust is seeking to return the historic clipper City of Adelaide from Scotland to Port Adelaide, where she is expected to arrive in early 2013. The City of Adelaide has a strong connection with South Australia, to which she made 23 voyages between 1864 and 1886, bringing an estimated 889 passengers who came to settle in South Australia.
Austbuilt Maritime Museum 
The Austbuilt Maritime Museum, operated by the Port Adelaide Historical Society, is located on Fletcher Road, Peterhead. It houses an extensive collection of maritime memorabilia accumulated by the late Keith Le Leu, who famously bought the steam tug Fearless for $1 in Brisbane in 1972 and steamed it to Adelaide. This vessel, currently owned by the South Australian Maritime Museum, remains on hardstand at Cruickshanks Corner near the Birkenhead Bridge, while its fate is still to be determined.
Australian Museum Of Childhood 
South Australian Aviation Museum 
The South Australian Aviation Museum is the State's official aviation museum. It is run by an independent non-profit voluntary organisation that is accredited by the History Trust of South Australia. The Museum was formed in 1984 at Glenelg and relocated in 1986 to a former Port Adelaide Flourmill. It relocated again in 1996, to an aircraft hangar also in Port Adelaide, and in January 2006 opened on its present site in Lipson Street, adjacent to the railway museum.
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. 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.
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Further reading 
- Klaassen, Nic. "Port Adelaide". Flinders Ranges Research.
- Thompson, M (1988). Rails Through Swamp and Sand – A History of the Port Adelaide Railway. Port Dock Station Railway Museum. ISBN 0-9595073-6-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Port Adelaide|
- National Railway Museum
- South Australian Aviation Museum
- South Australian Maritime Museum Accessed 30 March 2012.
- Port Adelaide – Flinders Ports.
- Port Adelaide Enfield Council
- Map of Port Adelaide 1839. Taken From "The District Of Adelaide, South Australia, As Divided Into Country Sections. From The Trigonometrical Surveys Of Colonel Light, Late Survr. Genl." Febry 18th, 1839.
- Map Of Port Adelaide, Section 2112 B. 25 November 1852.
- Review of Founding History