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Pioneers landing at Port Adelaide
Title : Pioneers landing at Port Adelaide Pioneers landing at Port Adelaide
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Creator : Skipper, John Michael, 1815-1883, artist
Date of creation : 1839
Format : Artwork
Dimensions : 225 x 305 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Watercolour on paper sketch depicting pioneers being carried on the backs of sailors through the shallow waters of Port Adelaide as they land for the first time in South Australia.

Adelaide's port in the new colony was at first a rather primitive landing place which became known as Port Misery: the early settlers arrived at a muddy swamp, and both passengers and goods were landed unsatisfactorily at the site.

Artist John Skipper was noted for his vignettes of colonial Adelaide. Pioneers landing at Port Adelaide (1839) captures with humour the difficulties and frustrations encountered on landing at the colony. Without a wharf at the port, ships could not reach the shore and so goods were 'floated' to land and people were carried or ferried in small boats. In 1840 David McLaren built the first wharf which extended into the deeper waters of the Port River, alleviating some of the new arrivals' difficulties.

In addition to problems with landing from the ships, for several years prior to the completion of a proper road, newly arrived migrants had to walk the considerable distance to reach the settlement at Adelaide. Migrants with sufficient finances had their goods transported by bullocks, but many carried their possessions or used wheelbarrows for transport.

Early German settler Carl Gustav Schedlich described in his memoirs his disappointment upon landing at Port Adelaide in December 1846:
But speak of Adelaide. O Holy Moses. ...Adelaide was a perfect mudhole...
Schedlich continued about the colony: All my grand ideas were vanished...we found a priest-ridden, narrow-minded community. Not a sign of intellect or refinement; the country nearly bankrupt, the only industry was the grand Burra Burra copper mine.

Related names :

Skipper, John Michael, 1815-1883

Period : 1836-1851
Place : Port Adelaide
Further reading :
The Flinders history of South Australia. Social history/ edited by Eric Richards. Netley, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 1986

Lock-Weir, Tracey Visions of Adelaide, 1836-1886 Adelaide : Art Gallery of South Australia, 2005

Mudflats to metropolis: Port Adelaide 1836-1986 [Port Adelaide, S. Aust.: B. & T. Publishers, 1986]

Parsons, Ronald Port Misery and the new port (early Port Adelaide) Lobethal, S. Aust. : R.H. Parsons, 1997

Internet links :

Port Adelaide State Heritage Area [SA Deptartment for Environment & Heritage]

SA Memory: A rich tapestry Landing at Port Adelaide in December 1846



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