1 February 1895 – The Day Time Stood Still in South Australia

At midnight on 1 February 1895, clocks were stopped, and time stood still in South Australia so as to bring the State (or colony as it was then) into line with international standard times.

Actually this was an Australia-wide change as up to this time, each colony had followed their own time set at a local observatory in their capital city.

A long article in the  South Australian Register, Thursday 31 January 1895, starts off with the following:

To-night the process of marking that period which Hamlet calls ‘the very witching time of night’ will be exceptionally puzzling throughout the greater part of Australia. By the provisions of the Standard Time Act the Legislatures of five colonies have taken the liberty of declaring that an hour shall not be sixty minutes in duration, but something else, varying in different localities with the ‘ hour-zone’ in which those localities happen to lie. Thus, in South Australia the space from 11 o’clock till 12 p.m. of this 31st of January will be seventy four minutes twenty and two fifth seconds. In other words all clocks and watches, in order that they may indicate the correct time to-morrow, must be put back fourteen minutes twenty and two-fifth seconds.”

So as far as South Australia was concerned the clocks stopped at midnight for 14 minutes and 20 seconds, bringing it in line with the 135th meridian, and adopting Central Standard Time.

The article continues …

“In this colony we have to put our clocks back, and therefore we gain time; but in Victoria, as in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, the people are to lose time and the Victorians in particular do not appear to relish the idea, although, of course, it is a nominal loss and nothing more … “

The eastern states actually only lost 5 minutes, bringing it in line with the 150th meridian.

“The main fact now to be borne in mind by commercial men and the general public is that the time of all the eastern colonies will henceforward be exactly one hour ahead of that of South Australia …”

So it is true to say that back in 1895, time in Adelaide, or more precisely South Australia, really did stay still!

General Post Office with the very prominent clock tower, King William Street, Adelaide, 1885 [State Library of South Australia, ref: B-43013]

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!

Adelaide Town Hall, 1923 Source: State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/45/106

Adelaide Town Hall, 1923
Source: State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/45/106

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 keep the peace for twelve months. The sentence was still in force when he became premier in June 1893.”

But the best description I’ve found of the whole saga (and there’s literally hundreds on Trove), is one from a Sydney newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, dated Saturday 24 December 1892

“Considerable excitement was caused in the city to-day when a rumor gained currency that Mr. C. C. Kingston, Q.C., M.P., had challenged Mr. R. L. Baker, M.L.C., to a duel over a feud which lately has been brought prominently before the public in Parliament and elsewhere. Many rumors are in currency with reference to the affair. As far as can be ascertained the facts are these.”

It goes on …

“A messenger called at Mr. Baker’s office in the city with a package and a letter from Mr. Kingston, which was stated to be “important” by the messenger. Mr. Baker was attending a meeting of the Queensland Mortgage Company, of which he is chairman of directors, and did not receive the communication till 1 o’clock. The letter asked Mr. Baker to meet Mr. Kingston in front of the Town-hall at 1.30 that day. The package accompanying the letter contained a revolver and cartridges. The police were communicated with on the matter; and Detective Kitson and Constable Rea awaited near the square at the time appointed. It is understood that Mr. Baker sent word to Mr. Kingston that he would attend as requested. At the hour named Mr. Kingston, with a six-chambered revolver, fully loaded, went to the square, where he was taken charge of by the officers of the law. It is stated that Mr. Kingston resisted the efforts of the police to secure possession of his revolver, and that Mr. Baker also kept his appointment. Mr. Kingston was detained at the police station for some time, and then released.”

The article goes into what provoked the reaction:

“The trouble arose as follows: Mr. Baker, in a letter to Sir Edwin Smith, which was read in tho Assembly, attacked Mr. M’Pherson and the Trades and Labor Council, whereupon Mr. Kingston severely criticised Mr. Baker’s conduct. Tho latter replied in the Council in a speech in which he stigmatised Mr. Kingston as a “bully and a coward,” and said that the Wheat Rates Committee had found him “guilty of untruth.”

Questions were later asked of Mr Baker as to why he declined taking part in the duel, the following article from the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, on 31 December 1892 explains his reasons

“I had two reasons,” continued Mr. Baker, ” for declining a meeting with Mr. Kingston. One was that, though I was not afraid of him, or of being shot by him, I was afraid of breaking the law and of either being hung for murder or sent to gaol for the rest of my life. Under these circumstances I left the matter entirely in the hands of the Government, in the full belief that the Government would vindicate the law. “

So, yes a duel was scheduled … but no, it never actually happened, thanks to the authorities being notified. But even so, what a sensation it caused. And if you want to read more about it, here’s a link to over 200 articles on Trove about it.

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.

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 Paddock (70) September 17, cardiac disease and senile decay
– Alfred Perfect (48) September 18, apoplexy and paralysis
– George Henry Holmes (52), September 26, pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion
– Isaac Mowatt (69), November 2, empyæmia
– Mary McNulty (60), November 13, Pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion
– Oscar Genske (55), December 6, cardiac disease and paralysis
– John Kew Dawson (69), December 10, senile decay and exhaustion.
Another article I found in Adelaide’s Daily Herald, from 6 May 1910, gives you an idea of how big this place was …
In the course of his annual report the Resident Medical Officer of the Parkside Lunatic Asylum states:—”The asylum population during the 12 months ended December 31, 1903, showed no increase in numbers and, what was a curious coincidence, there was no alteration in the respective number of male and female patients. There were therefore resident in the Asylum—males, 597; females, 454; total, 1051. The average number of patients resident during the year was 1050—males, 593; females, 457. This is an increase over the number during 1908, when the average number resident was 1027—males 586; females, 441. The ratio per 1000 of lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind to the population was 2.5 for both sexes males, 2.66; females, 2.32. The male ratio is the lowest for 20 years.”
The asylum is full of tragic sad stories, let alone the horrors of Z Ward which is where the “criminally insane” were said to be held.
Glenside Hospital, formerly the Parkside Lunatic Asylum

Glenside Hospital, formerly the Parkside Lunatic Asylum, taken 2015
Source: denisbin Flickr

And while none of the names listed above are relatives of mine, they are someone’s grandparent, great grandparent, or great aunt or uncle, and while I don’t know the stories behind any of them being in the Asylum, I felt they should be recognised and remembered, rather than just being another entry on a asylum admission register.
Parkside Lunatic Asylum on Find & Connect
Untold Stories of the Parkside Lunatic Asylum on Weekend Notes

South Australia’s History Festival 2017 in Review

Well May came, and May went … and to say it flew by is an understatement. So that means bye, bye to South Australia’s History Festival for another year.

As far as attending events, I did better this year than I have in the past, as I planned ahead and made sure I booked into things early, and I even managed to get a little time off to go to some but I had to stop looking at the program, as I was just getting annoyed at all the awesome things on, that I couldn’t get to.

Anyway I promised a mini review of the events I went to, so here goes …

Friday 5 May 2017 & Saturday 6 May 2017
Exploring & Writing Family & Local History seminar
organised by Unlock the Past
This seminar was organised by my work, so I was partly working at the event (manning the Gould Genealogy display tables). But as our tables were in the same room the talks, I got to hear them too. There was 16 talks packed into 2 days, so it was pretty full on, but the talks were great, and much was learned. There was a great turnout for the event with a number coming from country South Australia, and even a few from interstate. I’m not going to write a review of each talk, but there was many great points gained from them. House history, maps, DNA, writing your history, oral history, photos, black sheep and so much more was covered. As a bonus I got to catch up with two fellow geneabloggers, and that’s a real treat as there doesn’t seem to be too many of us in South Australia.

and w're ready to go ...

and we’re ready to go …

Kerry Farmer giving an Introduction to DNA talk to the group

Kerry Farmer giving an Introduction to DNA talk to the group

South Aussie geneabloggers L-R: Joanne Mew, Alona Tester (yes, me), and Jenni Gay

South Aussie geneabloggers L-R: Joanne Mew, Alona Tester (yes, me), and Jenni Gay

Monday 8 May 2017
Meet the Old Colonists photographs display
organised by the State Library of South Australia
When I heard about this display, I knew it was something I had to go and see. … and it was totally worthwhile. These huge photographs are a collage of around 500 men and 500 women all who were ‘pioneers’ of South Australia (meaning they arrived in South Australia prior to 1841) and were members of the Old Colonists’ Association. I do have a number of ancestors who fit into the ‘old colonists’ category, but I don’t know if they were members of the Association. However I did find a 3x great grandpa pictured there, so that was very cool. There is an amazing story behind these incredible pictures. You can read more about them here: http://www.gouldgenealogy.com/2017/05/meet-old-colonists-south-australias-pioneers/

This display wasn’t put up “just” for History Month. My understanding is that it’s there permanently. So whenever you’re in the city and near the State Library of SA, pop in, go upstairs and check out these spectacular photos for yourself.

South Australia's Old Colonist's photos at the State Library of South Australia

South Australia’s Old Colonist’s photos at the State Library of South Australia. The men’s photo is the one on the left, with the women’s photo on the right.

Monday 8 May 2017
Bringing the Past to Life: Destitute Asylum
organised by the Migration Museum
Destitute records aren’t records I’ve ventured into as yet, but I do know that at least one family member found herself in and out of the system, so I thought this would be a good talk to go and learn about them. Held in the city at the Migration Museum (which is the where the old Destitute Asylum used to be), staff from State Records SA came to show and discuss the types of records you’ll find they hold that relate to those who were at the Asylum. They explained how records at the Destitute Asylum are often the only record available for that person. Truly incredible, and very sad, but these records are amazing. We also had a tour of the a portion of the Migration Museum, which used to be the Women’s Lying-In Hospital, and head about the babies that were born and died there.

printed on the floor of the old Lying-In Hospital

printed on the floor of the old Lying-In Hospital

and looking up ... details of all 1683 babies who were born in that hospital

and looking up … details of all 1678 babies who were born in that hospital

written on the window ion the old Lying-In Hospital

written on the window ion the old Lying-In Hospital

one of the original ledger books from the Desitute Asylum

one of the original ledger books from the Destitute Asylum

Thursday 18 May 2017
Adelaide Arcade Ghost Tour
organised by Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons Ghost Tours
Doing a tour of the Adelaide Arcade was something that I’d wanted to do last year during History Festival, but missed out. So this time I booked early. Mr Lonetester even came with me to this, and we joined a group of others for a two hour history lesson and walking tour of the Adelaide Arcade.

The tour started at 7.30pm on a Thursday night, after all the shops had closed, and that itself was an interesting feeling being the only ones in Rundle Mall at that time. We learnt about when and how the place was built. We learnt that it’s the oldest Arcade in Australia having opened in 1885, and that incredibly it took only 5 months to build? Along with the 50 shops downstairs with housing for the shopkeepers upstairs, it was also the first (or one of the first) to have electric lighting in Adelaide, so it was very fancy indeed! And did you know that there were public baths in a portion of the Arcade? What about the downstairs tearooms?

And have you heard of Francis Cluney? He was the caretaker of the Arcade until a tragic accident there in 1887. It is said that his ghost roams the corridors there. The security guard who came with us on the tour, talked about strange things he’s encountered while working there, along with stories from current tenants.

We were taken in side corridors, storage rooms, upstairs, down into the basement (which was the old tearooms) and more. Unless you hear the history of this place as you tour it, you really don’t appreciate it.

I am now completely fascinated by this place and can’t believe I didn’t know the history of it before. Anyway stay tuned for more on the Arcade, there’s amazing history and stories here which I’ll write about in more detail.

the Adelaide Arcade, taken May 2017

the Adelaide Arcade

Adelaide Arcade Founstation Stone was laid on 6 May 1885

the Foundation Stone was laid on 6 May 1885

Adelaide Arcade, taken May 2017

Adelaide Arcade lower floor

the original stairs still in what was the old tearooms

the original stairs still in what was the old tearooms

Sunday 21 May 2017
Archives Open! State Records SA Open Day
organised by State Records SA
The Open Day at State Records started at 10am and went for most of the day with talks, tours and a bbq lunch. As the talks and tours were repeated I found I didn’t need to stay all day, which worked out well as I had another event I wanted to get to.

Anyway the State Records SA was established back in 1919 “to collect and preserve the archival records of the South Australian State Government”. Since then they now have over 70 kilometres of records on shelves in their collection. They are the place to look for immigration records, colonial secretary’s records, land records (titles and maps), schools, social welfare and hospital records, law enforcement (including prison and trials), public employees (including teachers, railway workers and more), local government records including rate books, and WW1 photos. They have a collection of photos of over 3000 South Australian’s who were in WW1. These are in the process of being digitised and put up on Flickr.

If you haven’t been to State Records SA before or haven’t been on the “behind the scenes” tour … it’s mind blowing. And I have no doubt that while it seems large, I’m sure it’s small compared to many other archives interstate and around the world. Still it is awesome to see so many of our State’s records being preserved.

And it’s a good reminder of just how many records AREN’T online, and that I should visit them more.

State Records of South Australia

State Records of South Australia

State Records of South Australia Open Day 2017

the Open Day program

State Records of South Australia

sample records: school records, hospital records, criminal record books, land records and more!

Sunday 21 May 2017
The Tintype Traveller 
organised by the South Australian Maritime Museum
The Tintype Traveller was part of the “Retro Lens” event put on by the South Australian Maritime Museum, where they had a whole day dedicated to learning about and participating in vintage photography.

My interest though was purely in visiting the Tintype Traveller to get an old tintype portrait picture taken. The Tintype Traveller is a vintage caravan that has been converted into a custom-designed darkroom, which allows photographers the ability to use traditional photographic processes on location.

So I went to Port Adelaide and found their caravan, but what I didn’t count was them having been booked up in advance. So alas, I didn’t get my picture taken which was disappointing. However the lovely people from the Tintype Traveller let me stand and watch the process of developing the tin photos in their caravan, so that was very cool.

Anyway I’ll just have to keep an eye out and see where they’ll be taking their caravan next, and try to get in.

the Tintype Traveller caravan

the Tintype Traveller caravan

Tintype Traveller

setting up for another photograph

As I don’t have any tintype photographs to show you, I’ll simply direct you to a video that they have produced, and to their Facebook Page, which has a number of pics they’ve taken. And you can read more about them here.

Sunday 27 May 2017
Caring for your Digital Collections talk
organised by the State Library of South Australia
While I believe that I’m fairly au fait with keeping things safe and up to date as far as storage and accessing digital records etc. I felt this would be good to go to, as there’s always something to learn.

Kate Pulford who is an Archivist at the State Library of SA says that we “need to monitor and protect your digital memories”. Emails, websites, photos, scans all classify as a “digital collection”. A key phrase she used was that “digital information is fragile. Once it is list, it can be lost forever”. So she suggests making a plan to review your storage methods every 3-5 years and migrate to a newer method as required. For instance who has backups on old 31/4″ floppy disk? Can you still access them? What about CD-ROMs? So many computers these days come without a CD drive, so it won’t be long before they are obsolete. She also showed those at the talk her method of recording what was what on each storage device and when it was last backed up. For this she simply uses an Excel spreadsheet.

And just for information she did advocate using the cloud, but only as a 3rd backup option. Instead use option 1 and 2 (external harddrives placed in separate locations) first.

SA History Festival talk

talk at the State Library of SA

Sunday 27 May 2017
Adelaide’s Pop-up Bookshop
organised by Adelaide’s Pop-Up Bookshop
This was one event I have to say I was very disappointed with … advertised as :

“Hundreds of South Australian history books have been specifically brought in to be explored, including a rare copy of Lost Adelaide – a treat for history buffs! Transport yourself to other times and places with histories on local regions and families. Books available for viewing and purchase.”

Held in Adelaide’s Central Market I found the range the Pop-up Bookshop had was very limited, and the prices seemed pricey. But anyway, I’m sure they would have appealed to some. But honestly I found the Central Market Bookshop (also in the markets) more interesting.

Adelaide's Pop-Up Bookshop in the Central Market

Adelaide’s Pop-Up Bookshop in the Central Market. By the look of that lock I assume there were the super-duper pricey books

Central Markets Books

Central Markets Books … this is more my style

As always there was at least another 100 things I would have loved to have gone to, but time and work didn’t allow it … still I got to go to some, and enjoyed learning more about records and South Australia’s history.

But that’s it for another year of South Australian’s History Festival events. With 356 different organisers, and over 600 events held it was a HUGE month. I just hope that even a portion of them will consider holding an event (or even the same event) for National Family History Month in August, that would be awesome.

And one last shoutout must go to the History Trust of SA, who are the co-ordinators of this event. Without their organisation and promotion, History Month simply wouldn’t happen. THANKYOU … you’ve done an awesome job, and I’m sure that it’s because of the backend organisation that the event continues to grow each year.