The Duel in the City of Adelaide...

A duel is something you associate with westerns. Two cowboys pacing it out on a dusty street before turning around, and drawing their guns as quick as possible. And usually the fastest one wins. So when I found out that there was a duel in my hometown city of Adelaide, South Australia naturally I was intrigued, and had to check it out further. There was no cowboys, or dusty streets, or tumbleweeds in this duel … (actually the streets may well have been dusty still at this stage), but certainly no cowboys or tumbleweeds. Instead we had politicians! The two players in this duel are Charles Cameron Kingston, Q.C. & M.P., (1850-1908) and Richard Chaffey Baker, M.L.A. (1841-1911). The scene was the Adelaide Town Hall, on King William Street, Adelaide, and the time was 1.30pm, on Friday, 23 December 1892 … and it all started over name calling! The Australian Dictionary of Biography sums up the who episode quite succinctly in the following paragraph … “The most dramatic and colorful episode in Kingston’s political career occurred in 1892. After a prominent conservative member of the Legislative Council, (Sir) Richard Baker, denounced him as a coward, a bully and a disgrace to the legal profession, Kingston responded by describing Baker as ‘false as a friend, treacherous as a colleague, mendacious as a man, and utterly untrustworthy in every relationship of public life’. Kingston did not stop there. He procured a pair of matched pistols, one of which he sent to Baker accompanied by a letter appointing the time for a duel in Victoria Square, Adelaide, on 23 December. Baker wisely informed the police who arrested Kingston shortly after he arrived, holding a loaded revolver. Amidst widespread publicity he was tried and bound over to...

They Died in the Asylum

Parkside Lunatic Asylum is the original name for the building that was subsequently renamed to Parkside Mental Hospital, then Glenside Hospital and more recently Glenside Health Services. Situated on Fullarton Road at Glenside, it is in one of Adelaide’s leafy eastern suburbs and is by outwards appearance, a magnificent place. But the asylum was far from that for the inmates at the asylum, and sadly for so many it was their last home. The Parkside Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1870 initially housing men, but by the 1880s men, women and children were being housed there. It housed not only those suffering from mental illness, but also people with intellectual disabilities and medical conditions like epilepsy. While browsing around on Trove, I found this article in the Adelaide Advertiser, 14 January 1910, and was saddened by the fact that there was so many who even in a six month period, died without family nearby. LUNATIC ASYLUM. Return of persons who have died in the Lunatic Asylum during the half-year ended December 31 whose relatives are unknown or reside outside the State:  – Margaret Sinnott (81), died July 3 last, the cause of death being cardiac disease and senile decay – Wilhelm Heinrich Dittich (71), July 5, pulmonary disease and cardiac failure – Judy (aboriginal female), (60), July 10, gastritis and cardiac failure – Guiseppe Castagneth (58), August 8, apoplexy and cerebral disease – Rosalie Russell (63), August 20, hepatic disease and ascites – Theodosia Byrne (78), August 20, apoplexy and senile decay – Sarah Jane Hayes (35), August 29, phthisis and exhaustion – Bridget (alias Annie) Evans, (42), August 29, suicide by hanging – William Conway (36) September 1, general paralysis and apoplexy – Dora Knout (80), September 2 cardiac disease and senile decay – William Carruthers (75), September 5, diarrhoea and senile decay – Thomas...

Emigration from England to South Australia in the 1800s...

The “Mayflower” is ‘the ship’ in US history. The first ship to transport passengers from England to the United States in 1620. 102 people, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Well, in South Australian history the “Buffalo” is the equivalent. It was one of a fleet of ships to arrive in the colony at the end of 1836. Once it arrived at Glenelg, Governor John Hindmarsh who was on board, proclaimed the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. From then on, there was a big push to get skilled labourers from England to emigrate to the new colony, and as an enticement they were offered free passage (assisted passage). Of course there was still the option for anyone who wished to emigrate to pay their own way (known as unassisted passage), but many took up the offer of the emigration scheme, and as a result these pioneers helped make South Australia what it is today. But as with anything that’s free, there were some rules and regulations. I came across this list of rules for those wanting assisted passage in the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, dated 27 February 1839, and it’s truly fascinating. RULES FOR EMIGRATION The Act of Parliament declares that the whole of the funds arising from the sale of lands, and the rent of pasture, shall form an Emigration Fund, to be employed in affording a free passage to the Colony from Great Britain and Ireland for poorer persons; “provided that they shall, as far as possible, be adult persons of both sexes in equal proportions, and not exceeding the age of 30 years.” With a view to carrying this provision into effect, the Commissioners...

180, and Still So Young!...

Happy Birthday South Australia! 28th of December. The day that my beautiful homestate celebrates its birthday, and today it turns 180. And while 180 is ancient in human terms, for the age of place it’s really only a baby. But even so, in those 180 years, the colony (and now State) has seen so many remarkable achievements throughout the years. But first South Australia’s birthday is officially called “Proclamation Day“, and Wikipedia says … “Proclamation Day in South Australia celebrates the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. The proclamation was made by Captain John Hindmarsh beside The Old Gum Tree at the present-day suburb of Glenelg North on 28 December 1836.“ John Hindmarsh, who became the first governor of South Australia arrived in South Australia on the “Buffalo”, on 28th December 1836, and when he stepped ashore at Holdfast Bay (near the Old Gum Tree), he read the proclamation. Each year re-enactments of the events of South Australia’s founding are still held on the same day, by the remains of the same Old Gum Tree. The proclamation calls upon the colonists to “conduct themselves with order and quietness,” to be law-abiding citizens, to follow after industry, sobriety, and morality, and to observe the Christian religion. By so doing, they would prove to be worthy founders of a “great free colony.” You can read the full proclamation on the Adelaidia site. The People … As with any place, South Australia has many men and women of ‘note’. Those who’ve made an impact on the State  in various ways, and you’ll find many of these mentioned in the 150 Great South Australians post (see links below), but obviously the list is confined to 150, with others who...

Christmas Day in Adelaide, and it’s (Another) Scorcher...

“Adelaide set for hottest Christmas Day since 1945 as heatwave conditions hit South Australia”. That’s the headline on the ABC News website, and yet it’s not even the hottest Christmas Day that Adelaide’s had. A quick check on Trove lead me to an article in The Advertiser, dated 26 December 1945, part of which is below. This says that the top temperature in Adelaide on: Christmas Eve, 24 December 1945 was 104.6F (40.3C) Christmas Day, 25 December 1945 was 105.3F (40.7C) But even these aren’t the highest. Go back further as we find even hotter Christmas Days. Christmas Day, 25 December 1941 was 106.2F (41.2C) And according to Dick Whitaker, on Dick’s Blog, the all-time top Christmas Day temperature record for an Australian capital city goes to Adelaide back in 1888, when the mercury soared to 107.9F (42.1C). So while it’s not a regular occurrence, it’s not unheard of having a 40C+ Christmas Day temperature. But it’s still not fun for those who have to travel during the day, or who had planned an outdoor Christmas do. So my advice for those who are in Adelaide for Christmas in 2016, stay inside (as much as you can), stay cool, and try not to bake, roast or fry (yourself that is, not the Christmas dinner)! Merry Christmas everyone! Save Save Save Save...

South Australia’s First Motor Car and Early Registrations...

What was the first car in South Australia? Or why not make that Australia? If your answer was anything to do with Henry Ford, you’d actually be wrong. In fact the honour of the first car in Australia actually is an Australian built one and goes to a gent from Mannum, which is a small country town along the River Murray … Below is a portion of an article from Adelaide’s ‘The Mail’ newspaper, dated 10 July 1926. You can read the full article on the Trove website. AUSTRALIA’S FIRST MOTOR CAR Mannum Manufacturer’s Invention VEHICLE THAT WAS ON THE ROADS 30 YEARS AGO Well known in South Australia as a manufacturer of farm implements, Mr. David Shearer, of Mannum, River Murray,can claim to be Australia’s first inventor of a motor car. In the early nineties he designed and built a power-propelled vehicle, which, a few years later, astonished all Adelaide as it chugged its way through the streets at 15 miles an hour. Special permission from the Mayor had to be obtained before the car could be driven through the streets. Designed 10 years before Henry Ford’s first models, little is known today of the South Australian’s invention, but farmers, who lived a quarter of a century ago in and around Mannum remember how Mr. Shearer worked day and night on his “automobile,” and they relate today to the younger generation, how Mannum might have been the Detroit of Australia. England’s first car, which made its appearance two years after Mr. Shearer’s, had a speed of 10 to 12 miles an hour, while the South Australian car actually travelled at 15 miles an hour. Anyway this post isn’t going into the deep history of “Australia’s first motor car”,...

South Australia’s Record Breaking Heatwave...

At present Adelaide is the middle of another heatwave, we’re melting on our third day of over 40°C. It is one of those “burn-the-moment-you-step-outside” type of heatwaves. The “burn-yourself-on-the seatbelt” type heatwaves. On the plus-side this weather is absolutely fabulous getting your washing dry, though you will get sunburnt while you’re hanging it out. While South Australia usually gets one or two heatwaves a summer, they usually hit later in summer. So to say that is has hit us all rather unawares, is an understatement! For those who come from the colder parts of the world (ie. everywhere else), I just wanted to claify what a “heatwave” is defined as. The Bureau of Meteorology define it as “three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area”. Which is similar to my understanding of it, which is that it was a run of three consecutive days with the temperature 35°C or higher. But hot weather in Adelaide is nothing new. A quick look on Trove comes up with numerous articles which mention the “record breaking” weather. And while it hit 45°C the other day, it has been higher than that back in 1939! A quick check on the fahrenheit to celsius converter tells me that 116.9°F is 47°C. So yes, that’s most certainly M-E-L-T-I-N-G weather!! And just think … back in 1939 they wouldn’t have had all the comfort that we do with air conditioners in our house, car, workplace, shopping centres etc. So think what it would have been like back...

Open House Adelaide 2015...

Back in 2012 and 2013 Open House Adelaide was a part of the About Time History Month celebrations, with one weekend in May being when all the “Open House” events were on. I noted that they were not part of this year’s History Month celebrations, so I have been keeping an eye out for when they were on, and have discovered that Open House Adelaide will be a part of the Festival and Architecture and Design (FAD) which runs from 8-13 October 2015. This Festival is said to … “… deliver a fun, engaging and informative program of architecture and design talks, forums, exhibitions, performing arts, children’s activities, guided walking tours and the return of Open House Adelaide program”. For those not familiar with what Open House Adelaide is, it is a weekend where businesses, buildings and historical places around the city open their doors for you to wander through, look at the history and architecture and enjoy seeing parts of Adelaide you may not have seen before. If you visit the FAD website, you can find details of all 40 or so events, tours, talks, workshops and more including all the Open House Adelaide ones too. Adelaide is just one of four Australian cities that have taken on the”Open House” idea, which is actually a global idea, and continues to grow each year. Adelaide – http://www.fad.org.au/ Brisbane – http://brisbaneopenhouse.com.au/ Melbourne – http://www.openhousemelbourne.org/ Perth – http://www.openhouseperth.net/ To see what other cities around the world that are taking part, visit the Open House Worldwide website http://www.openhouseworldwide.org/. Do yourself a favour, and explore the buildings in your city. You’ll be surprised what you don’t know, and how cool they really...

Adelaide’s “Old Treasury” Building and the Underground Tunnels...

In Australia National Family History Month is held during August, so it was timely that a historical place I’d been wanting to check out had another open day during the month. Not that they had planned it as far as I know, but hey I’m counting it towards my National Family History Month (NFHM) activities. Adelaide’s old Treasury Building (which is now hotel apartments, “the Adina Apartments Hotel“) on Flinders Street in the heart of Adelaide, has a history dating back to the early years of the colony. This former Treasury Building was built in stages from 1839 to 1907, and is a building that has been at the centre of South Australia’s administrative and governmental affairs for more 130 years. And one of the original walls still stands. It housed the Cabinet Room from 1876 until 1968, before that moved to another building. For more on this history of this magnificent building you can read about it here. Anyway it’s been a long, cold winter, so I was pleased that Adelaide put on a blue sky, sunny day (still cold, but sunny) for my day trip to the city with Mr Lonetester to check out this building. Booked in for the 11.00am tour, we were joined by about 60 other people keen to explore the history of this place. Divided into two groups for the actual tour, the group I was with was led by Grant who’s a volunteer at the National Trust, and clearly loves what he does, knows his history, and shares it with enthusiasm. Firstly Grant showed us the “Records Room” that was made as a fire proof room …  which originally had with slate floor, and arched brick ceiling – and held together without any...

More Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy and History...

Back in 2011 I compiled my 33 Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy post, and despite having written it almost 4 years ago, it is still one of the most looked at posts on my blog. Since then a lot of new South Australian records and sites have gone online, so I felt it was time for an update. Many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. Although I haven’t titled this “Discovering Links”, I’m putting in that series of posts since it contains a whole bunch of links. These are I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about. === SOUTH AUSTRALIA === GENERAL HISTORY South Australian Historical Archaeology Database The Historical Archaeology of Adelaide Project is based in the Department of Archaeology, Flinders University. It is a long term project to record and document archaeological data from three key site types throughout South Australia: cemeteries, standing structures (buildings), and monuments/memorials. The project data has been compiled by second and third year undergraduate archaeology students as part of their work in the topic. These databases are available as a public resource for heritage research. History As it Happens History is not only about things that happened long ago. It is happening here and now and we are all part...