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Commercial and social aspects

The Commercial and social aspects within South Australia during the era 1852-1883, include the further establishment and advancement of religion, religious beliefs and their associated societies including Sunday schools, which also gave rise to the development of public and private schooling. Other aspects include the advancement of shipping and trading through the various South Australian ports, the development sophistication and circulation of our Newspapers, and perhaps for the first time, sentiments of national pride were put to music, authored by Carl Linger. See also SA Memory: Religion in South Australia and SA Memory: SA Newspapers.

Selected highlights;

Shipping: Founded in 1875 the Adelaide Steamship Company (ASC) began operations with the steamship Flinders, which had in fact been built for the Spencer's Gulf Steamship Company, in some manoeuvering by share holders in both companies. ASC bought South Australian and Victorian in 1876 and 1877. Almost identical in size at 716 and 718 tons, both ships could carry 100 passengers, had a cruising speed of 14 knots and used about 30 tons of coal a day. They were considered luxurious, speedy and efficient. The ASC advertised is for its new steamers South Australian, Victorian and Aldinga operating on the run to Melbourne, and offered reduced fares. They used an aggressive campaign as they sought to monopolise on South Australian coastal and inter colonial trade. The company could not force all of its competitors out of business but it did engage in fierce rate wars, which often ended with it gaining an upper hand.

Trade: In 1874, major South Australian exports were discussed in an editorial report on the South Australian Government Gazette of 4 June. Copper and copper ore, wheat and other cereal grains and wool featured highly. Other exports include wine, preserved meat, skins, hides and tallow, and wattle bark for the tanning industry. Lesser quantities of fruit and eggs are also among the exports. According to the value of their exports, these South Australian ports were the busiest: Port Adelaide, Wallaroo, Port MacDonnell, Port Wakefield, Blanchetown, Robe, Port Pirie, and Port Caroline. Port Augusta was not listed as it was not the season for wool exports. These rankings periodically changed as local industries changed. Port Pirie for instance in the late 1880s would become the outlet for the ores from Broken Hill and in the early 1850s Port Wakefield had been the second most important port in the colony.

Societies: The Deutsche (German) Club was formed in Adelaide in 1854 by a group of upper middle-class German emigrants with the aim of preserving and enjoying German high culture ('kultur'), customs and language. In 1859 the Gawler Institute conducted a competition for an Australian anthem, over 40 years before the attainment of federation in 1901. The song of Australia won the competition; the Institute awarded cash prizes to Caroline Carleton for the words, and German born Carl Linger for the music. In February 1853, the Adelaide Philosophical Society held its first meeting. Late in 1880 this organisation became the Royal Society of South Australia. The Point McLeay Aboriginal Mission, now know as Raukkan, on the northern end of the peninsula between Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, was founded in 1859 by the Aborigines' Friends' Association. The first missionary agent was George Taplin who started his duties 4 April 1859.

Religion: The first Hebrew services in Adelaide were held in hired rooms in the city, and in the home of Burnett Nathan in Currie Street. At a meeting held in Emanuel Solomon's 'Temple Tavern' in 1848, it was decided to begin collecting money to build a synagogue. The first synagogue in Rundle Street was completed in 1850, but it was not until 1870 that a qualified rabbi, the Rev Abraham Boas, was appointed to Adelaide.

Newspapers: By the 1850s type was set by hand, one letter at a time, and each of the newspaper's four pages were printed individually, on enormous cylinders, with the printing machine making 'a noise like quartz-crusher' (Observer, 9 June 1923, p. 15). In 1855 the Register became the first newspaper in South Australia to be printed by steam-driven presses. The gathering of news was highly competitive in the middle of the 19th century. Reporters were sent to Port Adelaide to travel out with the pilots to board ships newly arrived from London and obtain the latest overseas news. In 1858 a telegraph line was completed between Melbourne and Adelaide, via Willunga, Goolwa, Robe and Mount Gambier (Observer 28 February 1857, p. 6). This enabled Adelaide reporters to send news direct to Melbourne, as well as receive inter-state news. An evening newspaper, the Telegraph, was founded and named to commemorate this development. However, major advances came with the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line in 1872, linking Adelaide direct with London, via a submarine cable between Darwin and Java. This revolutionised reporting, and gave Adelaide an Australian monopoly, being the place where overseas news arrived first (SA Memory: SA Newspapers, South Australian press, Early History).

South Australiana: Sources a comprehensive list of websites, published and non-published sources for South Australiana materials.

Click on 'view details' below to explore the selected resources relating to some of the commercial and social aspects of South Australia, 1852-1883.

 

Adelaide Steamship Company operates new fast steamers
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Adelaide Synagogue
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City and country newspaper front cover
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Daily ration book
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Design for proposed new Bath Hotel, the Parade, Norwood
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Matthew Burnett
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Port Pirie gazette and Areas news, front page
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Reminiscences of F.A. Oschar of Yorke Peninsula
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Salvation Army at Gawler cartoon
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South Australian exports
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St. Peter's Cathedral
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Terowie enterprise : front page
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