Timeline of Adelaide history

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This is a timeline of Adelaide history.

Prior to 1800s[edit]



1835 tent city set up as the capital of South Australia on the site now known Kingscote on Kangaroo island

  • 1836: The site for Adelaide is chosen by Colonel William Light beside the River Torrens as Australia's first free colony. Governor John Hindmarsh on the HMS Buffalo lands at Holdfast Bay and proclaims the new colony of South Australia on 28 December.
  • 1837: Colonel Light completes the survey of Adelaide and designs the city's grid layout. Single-acre allotments are made, first to holders of land orders and then by auction. The city's first hospital is opened on North Terrace.
  • 1838: The South Australia Police, the first police force in Australia, is formed in Adelaide under Henry Inman. The first German immigrants arrive and settle in Adelaide and its surrounds.
  • 1839: Colonel Light dies at Thebarton and is interred in Light Square - a memorial will be built over the grave. Port Road opens as the first road built in South Australia.
  • Late 1830s: The first stone house in Adelaide is built by William Austin Barnes on the corner of Morphett and Grote streets



  • 1850: G. P. Harris and J. C. Lanyon, the forerunner to Harris Scarfe, opens on Hindley Street.
  • 1851: Responsible Government is introduced to South Australia, enfranchising wealthy male colonists.
  • 1852: The Corporation of Adelaide is reconstituted and James Hurtle Fisher again becomes mayor. The first overland transport of gold arrives in Adelaide.
  • 1853: The first four local governing bodies in South Australia (apart from the Corporation of Adelaide) were established as the district councils of Mitcham, East Torrens, Onkaparinga and Hindmarsh, following the passing of the 1852 'Act to appoint District Councils'.[2] The Philosophical Society of Adelaide founded (later becoming the Royal Society of South Australia).
  • 1855: Central Adelaide Mosque
  • 1856: The South Australian Institute is founded, from which will derive the State Library, State Museum and Art Gallery. The first telegraph line and steam railway between Adelaide and Port Adelaide are opened.
  • 1857: Adelaide Botanic Gardens opens at today's site in the Parklands off North Terrace. Railway between Adelaide and Gawler was opened.
  • 1858: The Melbourne-Adelaide telegraph line is opened.
  • 1859: A jetty more than 350 metres in length is constructed at Glenelg. It has a wooden lighthouse at its end, which will later be destroyed by fire.
  • 1859: The Norwood Town Hall was built on the Parade at Norwood. It was the first Town Hall in South Australia.





  • 1890: Adelaide's first public statue, Venus, is unveiled on North Terrace.
  • 1893: The Australian Association for the Advancement of Science meets in Adelaide - credit is universally accorded to Colonel Light for his selection of the site and for the design of Adelaide.
  • 1894: The world's second Act granting women suffrage is passed in Parliament House on North Terrace.
  • 1896: Moving pictures are shown for first time in South Australia at Theatre Royal on Hindley Street. Happy Valley Reservoir is opened.
  • 1899: The South Australian contingent left Adelaide for the Second Boer War.


Early 1900s[edit]


  • 1912: The Verco Building, an early 'skyscraper', is built on North Terrace.
  • 1913: The first metropolitan abattoir opens.
  • 1915: Liquor bars close at 6 pm following a referendum.
  • 1917: German private schools are closed. The first trains travel to Perth following completion of the East-West continental railway.
  • 1919: Adelaide is awarded official city status and Mayor Charles Richmond Glover becomes the first Lord Mayor.


  • 1924: Radio broadcasting begins.
  • 1925: The Wayville Showgrounds open.
  • 1927: The North-South railway is extended. The Duke and Duchess of York visit.
  • 1929: The electric tram service to Glenelg commences.



  • 1940: Birkenhead Bridge opened. Second industry rapidly expanded throughout Adelaide region and South Australia at large as the war-effort intensified.
  • 1942: Rationing of tea and clothing introduced. Racesport and bookmaking banned.
  • 1943: Rationing of butter introduced. Racing re-allowed.
  • 1944: Rationing of meat introduced.
  • 1945: Gas and electricity restrictions imposed.
  • 1947: Orchards ripped up following discovery of fruit fly in the metropolitan area.
  • 1948: Glenelg jetty destroyed and widespread damage caused by severe storms. Clothing and meat rationing abolished. Holden began production.








  • 2000: All government bus operations handed to private operators, buses and infrastructure still government owned. Heysen Tunnels in Adelaide Hills are opened.
  • 2001: Construction of Alice Springs-Darwin track starts. The National Wine Centre of Australia opens in the East Parklands.
  • 2002: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Adelaide. First low floor bus entered service on the O-Bahn Busway.
  • 2003: The transcontinental railway line from Adelaide to Darwin is completed.
  • 2004: Port Adelaide Football Club wins the AFL Grand Final. Trains travel from Adelaide to Darwin for the first time.
  • 2005: Adelaide Airport's new T1 terminal is opened. Port River Expressway opened.
  • 2007: World Police and Fire Games held in Adelaide. Adelaide-Glenelg tram service is extended to North Terrace (City West).
  • 2008: Record breaking heat wave set in March. RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 visits Adelaide for the last time. Electrification of suburban rail network announced.
  • 2009: Temperature reaches 45.7° Celsius[4] on January 30. Lance Armstrong Rides In the Tour Down Under


See also[edit]


  1. ^ *Glover, C. R. J. (Charles Richmond John); Archive CD Books Australia (2007), A history of first fifty years of Freemasonry in South Australia, 1834-1884, Archive CD Books Australia, ISBN 978-1-921461-29-3 
  3. ^ *Hilbig, P. B. (Paul Berthold), 1903-; Mander-Jones, Evan, 1902-1975; Freemasons. Grand Lodge of South Australia (1976), A history of craft masonry in South Australia, 1884-1934, Grand Lodge of South Australia, ISBN 978-0-9596459-0-3 
  4. ^ "THE EXCEPTIONAL HEATWAVE OF JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2009 IN SOUTH-EASTERN AUSTRALIA". Australia Bureau of Statistics. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Giant 'royal' cruise ships Queen Victoria, Queen Mary II visit Adelaide". AdelaideNow. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Giant cruise ship the Queen Mary 2 heads for Adelaide". AdelaideNow. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Storms wipe $300m in grain crops in South Australia". Herald Sun. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Queen Mary 2 to steam into Outer Harbor today". AdelaideNow. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton impressed with Adelaide's facilities". AdelaideNow. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "SA's $200m medical research institute officially opened by Prime Minister and Premier". ABC News 24. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  11. ^ The Seaford line is now electrified Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure

Further reading[edit]

  • Gargett, Kathyrn; Marsden, Susan (1996). Adelaide: A Brief History. State History Centre, History Trust of South Australia in association with Adelaide City Council. pp. 40–42. ISBN 0-7308-0116-0. 
  • Whitelock, Derek (2000). Adelaide: A Sense of Difference. Kew: Australian Scholarly Publishing. pp. 393–405. ISBN 0-87560-657-1.