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Shipping at Port Adelaide, 1879
Title : Shipping at Port Adelaide, 1879 Shipping at Port Adelaide, 1879
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Source : Edwardes Collection volume 38, number 33
Date of creation : 1879
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

This three section panorama photograph shows extensive shipping at Port Adelaide. The initial port was further upstream south of the Jervois Bridge but proved unsatisfactory. In 1840 the New Port was opened at the current Inner Harbor. The South Australian Company built the McLaren Wharf and the road between the port and Adelaide. From these beginnings the port burgeoned. Dredging improved the depths of the water and allowed ever larger vessels to use the port. The spoil was used to build up the adjoining land.

By this time in its development Port Adelaide was managed by the Marine Board under the terms of the Marine Board Act (Number 17 of 1860 An Act to consolidate the Acts relating to the regulation of the ports, harbours, havens, ... and fort he better regulation of shipping ...).

In 1879 work began on the New Dock or Port Adelaide Dock which would extend the harbour's capacity allowing another 15 or so vessels to discharge and load their cargoes. Adjacent to the new dock a number of handsome buildings were constructed; wool and grain stores for Elder Smith and Company, Joseph Stilling's warehouse, D & J Fowler's warehouse. All of these buildings still stand, although not serving their original purpose. The new dock was officially opened 20 September 1880 having accidentally flooded two days previously.

In 1881 a new act for the management of South Australia's ports was enacted: the Marine and Navigation Act of 1881. Under the terms of this the responsibility for maintaining the docks and wharves could be placed in the hands of the Engineer-in-Chief. This power was invoked several years later.

Port Adelaide continued to grow, but by the late 19th century many of the largest steamships were mooring in the Gulf adjacent to the Semaphore jetty and discharging their mail and passengers there. The issue of a sufficiently large harbour for these vessels was finally resolved with the opening of Outer Harbor in 1908. Some shipping would continue to use the Inner Harbor, but many ships, including immigrant ships would use the facilities at Outer Harbor.

Coverage year : 1879
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Port Adelaide
Region : Adelaide metropolitan area
Further reading :
Parsons, Ronald. Southern passages: a maritime history of South Australia Netley, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1986
Ritter, Ron. Triumph, tragedy and Port Adelaide [Para Vista, S. Aust.]: Ronald C. Ritter, 2005
Couper-Smartt, John. Port Adelaide: tales from a "commodious harbour" Port Adelaide: Friends of the South Australian Maritime Museum, 2003
Mudflats to metropolis: Port Adelaide 1836-1986 [Port Adelaide, S. Aust.: B. & T. Publishers, 1986]
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Motlock Wing exhibitions. Wooden Walls and Iron Sides August 2004-



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