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    Adelaide - Streets

    Streets by Name

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    Street Nomenclature

    An Essay on the Streets of Adelaide

    It is a matter of very serious danger and difficulty to make way at all through the slush and filth which cover the footways of the city, and a fearful catalogue of colds, bruises and damaged boots is already registered for the sole benefit of the medical profession and the leather trade. It may be all very well for the undertakers, but we did not come out to this province to be drowned in the streets.
    (South Australian, 6 July 1849)

    When the streets and squares delineated on the first plan of Adelaide were to be named, the duty was entrusted to a competent and influential Committee which introduced a valuable historical element in the performance of its task. Thereafter any person who subdivided a piece of land and established a new street had the privilege of naming the thoroughfare, with the result that, in the absence of official control, the derivation of many of the less important street names is lost in obscurity.

    The first Governor (Captain John Hindmarsh, RN) and the Resident Commissioner (Mr J.H. Fisher) each claimed as his special prerogative the duty of naming the original streets and squares, and, according to the letters of John Brown (Emigration Agent), the appointment of the Committee represented a compromise between the opposing factions. That body was comprised of Governor Hindmarsh, Sir John Jeffcott (Judge), Colonel William Light (Surveyor), Mr Robert Gouger (Colonial Secretary), Mr (afterwards Sir) James Hurtle Fisher (Resident Commissioner), Mr John Barton Hack, Mr (afterwards Sir) John Morphett, Mr Edward Stephens (banker), Mr T. Bewes Strangways, Mr Thomas Gilbert (Colonial Storekeeper), Mr John Brown (Emigration Agent) and Mr Osmond Gilles (Colonial Treasurer).

    The names for the squares and the original streets delineated on Colonel Light's plan were chosen on 23 May 1837 and gazetted on 3 June of the same year. The following extract from the letters of John Brown makes it clear on whose side he was on in the squabble that occurred between the rival factions:

    The Governor brought a pocketful of Royal Navy heroes, but, afraid of proposing them himself, got Sir John Jeffcott to try. King William Street and Victoria Square were assented to by all, but when he got to "Duncan" and "Howe" as the proposed names of the next streets we divided, and "Grote" and "Wakefield" reigned in their stead.

    I am rather ashamed of myself of having any hand in this business, but votes were wanted, or it would have been a journal of our Governor's life and adventures. As to this business, however, he cannot keep quiet. He sent Gouger the other day to Mr Fisher to know whether he had any objections to one of the names "Willoughby" being changed to "Archer" Street. Fisher objected on the ground that it was trifling with the proceedings of the Committee appointed. Thus he will meddle, let the trifle be what it will. Archer Street is inserted contrary to the vote of the Committee, and contrary to the Colonial Secretary's orders.

    General Notes

    A series of comprehensive articles on individual city streets commences in the Observer,
    24 August 1929, page 30c; also see
    5 June 1937, page 24e.

    "The Naming of Adelaide Streets - Historic Squabbles" is in The Mail,
    14 July 1934, page 1.

    A criticism of the "street nomenclature" of Adelaide and suburbs is in the Advertiser,
    21 April 1926, page 12g; also see
    The News,
    4 April 1932, page 9d and South Australia - Nomenclature.

    Street nomenclature under the heading "Street Corner History" is in the Observer,
    24 and 31 August 1929, pages 30c and 2a,
    7, 14, 21 and 28 September 1929, pages 2a, 2a, 2a and 2a.

    "Delving into Derivations - Street Names in Adelaide" is in The Mail,
    7 August 1926, page 17a.

    Streets - Choose again

    Motor Cars and Traffic

    Also see South Australia - Transport - Motor Cars.

    "The Motor Car Dust Storm" is in the Register,
    6 and 9 August 1904, pages 6g and 7h.

    "Controlling Street Traffic" is in the Register,
    6 May 1911, page 12i.
    "Street Accidents" is in the Register,
    22 July 1912, page 6d,
    "Among the Noises" on
    11, 15 and 17 February 1913, pages 6d, 6e and 10c,
    "Business Streets in 1863" on
    6 June 1913, page 15a,
    "Controlling Street Traffic" on
    10 January 1914, page 13e,
    "Street Traffic" on
    3 September 1914, page 5d.

    Regulating street traffic is discussed in the Register,
    26 January 1916, pages 4d-5a,
    "A Few West Adelaide Memories" is in the Observer,
    1 July 1916, page 32b,
    "Memories of the Early Days" on
    25 November 1916, page 48c.
    "Problems of City Traffic" on
    13 March 1920, page 9c.
    "City Traffic" is in the Register,
    26 and 27 May 1925, pages 8b and 9a,
    "Traffic Control" on
    29 and 31 July 1925, pages 8e and 11f.

    Information on and a photograph of a "Stop-Go" traffic signal are in the Register,
    21 December 1927, page 10,
    "New Traffic Signals" on
    9 February 1928, page 9b,
    "Traffic Control" on
    21 March 1928, page 15e,
    "Traffic Extermination" on
    18 and 19 April 1928, pages 8c and 8h.

    Photographs of police traffic control are in the Chronicle,
    26 August 1916, page 30.
    "The Policeman on Point Duty" is in the Register,
    24 and 25 July 1916, pages 5c and 7c,
    20 January 1917, page 11f; also see
    22 February 1919, page 6d,
    19 March 1919, page 6e.

    "Problems of City Traffic" is in the Register,
    13 March 1920, page 9c.

    "The City's Traffic - Need for North-South Arteries" is in the Express,
    26 and 29 May 1922, pages 2f and 2c.

    "City Traffic Problems" is in the Register,
    10 July 1923, page 8d,
    26 and 27 May 1925, pages 8b-9a and 9a,
    29 and 31 July 1925, pages 8e and 11f,
    "Safety Zones and Traffic Cops" on
    23 May 1922, page 7c,
    "Safety Zones" in the Register,
    31 July 1923, page 9b,
    28 May 1925, page 8f.
    "Silent Traffic Cops" in the Register,
    19 February 1929, page 7c.

    "Parking or Ranking of Motor Cars" is in the Advertiser,
    9 December 1925, pages 12f-15c.

    Regulating the bus traffic is discussed in the Register,
    4 December 1925, page 8c.

    A letter complaining about "Dangerous Street Traffic" is in the Register,
    26 October 1926, page 13b:

    There is probably no other city in the world in which the street traffic is so madly misconducted... In King William Street one has to travel about nine yards from the safety (?) zone to the tramway across an almost continuous stream of motors... up to the great double-deckers... each... yelling, tooting, groaning and whistling according to its kind... I would sooner tackle nine yards in Hades.

    Also see Register,
    28 October 1926, page 15c,
    15 and 17 December 1926, pages 13d and 8c,
    7 January 1927, page 12c,
    7 February 1927, page 8c,
    25 and 26 July 1927, pages 9h and 8d,
    16 September 1927, page 9a,
    30 January 1929, page 11f.

    "Traffic Policemen" is in The News,
    28 March 1927, page 11e.

    Traffic Police

    (Taken from the unpublished reminiscences of A.R. Calvesbert, edited by G.H. Manning)

    [The traffic policeman]... has no originality about him when on duty. He stands on a little wooden grating at intersections looking for all the world as though he had just stepped out of a bath... He appears to be worked by a string from the inside.
    (Register, 26 May 1923, p. 10.)

    The introduction of police to control the traffic at busy city centres proved to be a great success from the time it was introduced in 1916 and among the first officers on point duty were Constables Lillywhite, Whitfield, Keene, Preston, Golding, Ryan and Curtis, with Sergeant Reiley in command.
    Also see Streets - Miscellany and South Australia - Transport - Motor Cars.

    During the first decade of such operations there was only one accident of serious nature to the men employed in that work when a policeman received a severe blow to the arm as the result of a door of a motor van swinging open as the vehicle passed; others had narrow escapes, while Inspector McGrath was to say at the time:

    Granted that the traffic is comprised of careful and sober drivers, the policeman need have little fear... When first inaugurated constables stood on a street corner and steadied the traffic. However, today [1927] they stand in the centre of the four streams of traffic. Usually men of tall stature are chosen for this work as they are easier to see by drivers of vehicles. Sergeant Whitfield, who is in charge of the traffic policemen, has been engaged on this work for many years.

    In 1934 a police constable was detailed to visit schools for the prime purpose of educating children in respect of traffic signals and regulations and the need for their implicit and prompt obedience; the danger to be avoided at particular crossings; the perils of such items as dogs that menace the motorists; sticks thrown into the spokes of motor vehicles; the riding of scooters and tricycles in thoroughfares; games on the roadways and bicycles without lights:

    In the resplendent uniform of the mounted police, with an attendant constable, both riding snowy chargers and appropriately heralded by the beat of a drum, Inspector W.F. Johns arrived at Gilles Street Public School on 11 July 1934 for the second of his traffic talks to children which have been inaugurated by the Education Department in conjunction with the Commissioner of Police. So impressive was the arrival that many inquisitive passersby hung over the fence to watch proceedings and might well have listened with interest and benefit to the discourse that followed....

    In a few simple words he summed up the first principles of safety and expounded the traffic laws and the necessity for them. He did so in a graphic manner that the children will not easily forget... 'Don't be afraid of the policeman', he said, 'he is not a bogey, but only the umpire in the game of life. He is there to protect and not to frighten you. Obey the law and you will always find him a friend.'

    "Street Litter" is in the Advertiser,
    25 June 1927, page 13a,
    "Street Traffic Congestion" on
    6 July 1927, page 13a,
    2 August 1927, page 16f,
    "Noisy Motorists" on
    14 July 1928, page 19c,
    "Car Parking" on
    4 April 1929, page 8f,
    "Nuisance of Litter" on
    21 December 1929, page 18i.

    "Adelaide's Traffic Problems" is in The Mail,
    28 April 1928, page 1f,
    "Trouble in Narrow Adelaide Streets" on
    26 May 1928, page 12f,
    23 June 1928, page 16e,
    21 July 1928, page 29c,
    18 August 1928, page 3e,
    22 September 1928, page 21a.

    "Punishment for City Parking" is in the Advertiser,
    6 and 7 October 1931, pages 9c and 14d.

    "Humanising Traffic Laws" is in the Advertiser,
    26 January 1932, page 8d,
    "Pedestrian v. Motorist" on
    23 April 1932, page 14f,
    20 June 1932, page 8e,
    "City Traffic" on
    28 December 1932, page 6e.
    "City Traffic Alterations" on
    15 February 1937, page 19h.

    "Traffic Lights for the City" is in The News,
    14 April 1936, page 5h,
    9, 13 and 14 April 1937, pages 5a, 1c-7c and 6g,
    12 August 1937, pages 6g-7a.
    "Lights for Traffic" is in The Mail,
    10 April 1937, page 2a.

    "Police Urge Rundle Street Traffic Ban" is in the Advertiser,
    8 and 24 May 1937, pages 25f and 16d.

    Streets - Choose again

    Drinking Fountains

    Adelaide's Drinking Fountains

    (Taken from G.H. Manning, A Colonial Experience)

    What can be more pleasant to the eye and refreshing to the senses than a beautiful fountain of sparkling water flinging upwards its liquid gems... but if you want to behold the reality step down to Hindmarsh Square and there behold a dirty, slimy, disgusting puddle...
    (Register, 22 December 1875, page 6.)

    By February 1859, with the advent of a reticulated water supply promised within twelve months, the thoughts of many citizens turned to the possibility of adopting a system of street fountains which were popular in England and adjoining colonies. Indeed, the Editor of the Register suggested the completion of 'two or three fountains, with troughs for horses, at convenient places.'

    A citizen, hiding behind a pen-name of 'Blue Shirt' went a little further with some informative prose which is worthy of repetition: 'Upon no class in Adelaide will the blessing of an abundant water supply fall with more refreshing power than upon those whose occupations necessarily involve the obligation of constant exposure to the fervid heat and blinding light of an Australian summer.

    'It is now the duties of the "powers that be" connected with the sanitary improvement of our young city to take early advantage of the anticipated supply of water, not only that the grateful element may be furnished to houses for private use, but that a portion may always be available to the public, in order that all may drink at will.

    Many scores of wayworn bullock-drivers and others have to tramp for miles along the dusty roads leading to town, parched, hot, and weary, looking in vain for the means of quenching their thirst naturally by drinking that fluid that all animals except man prefer.

    The wayside accommodation, like that in town, is a most questionable benefit as far as the object of such establishments is concerned. Any person at all acquainted with the nature of man and animals knows well enough that extreme thirst, occasioned by exhaustion, cannot be satisfied by nobblers, ale, ginger-beer, lemonade, or other expensive and useless substitutes.

    All those who, through prejudice or ignorance, fall back upon such fallacious palliations of thirst very soon find out that they are not quite so knowing as their horses or bullocks. Such drinks are all very well in their way (used, not abused), but are totally inadequate as substitutes for the great gift of God to man - water.

    Thirst, Mr Editor! How delightful it would be for poor fellows like myself, after a journey with their teams, to find right in the middle of cross roads of Hindley, Rundle and King William Streets, fountains of cool water sparkling in the sunlight, while at the top of each erection there was a lighted lamp at night to guide the thirsty wanderer to the spot where he might drink freely; and, oh - delight most rare with those who drink - nothing to pay.

    Would not such a sight be one of the most gratifying that could gladden the eyes of a thirsty man. Let us hope that such a boon will not only be accorded, but that it will be an initiatory step in the aqueous progress of baths, wash-houses, etc., so that Adelaideans may hereafter have that qualification that we are told is second only to godliness.'

    The matter was considered by the local authorities, but it was not until November 1860 that tenders were called for the provision and 'fixing [of] drinking fountains of a simple and inexpensive kind in various parts of the city. The castings were undertaken at Wyatt's Foundry and were declared to be 'very unpretending' but 'by no means inelegant.'

    They were seven feet high with an octagonal base, relieved by sunken panels, an eight-sided shaft and a simple but suitable cap. At a convenient height on the shaft an ornamental spout projected over a small shell-shaped basin, into which a tiny stream of water fell from the spout, thus presenting the thirsty wayfarer the water in the coolest possible condition. On overflowing the water fell into a larger basin below where dogs and other creatures, privileged to be at large, could quench their thirst without hindrance.

    Thirteen were erected at the following locations - South Adelaide - At the City Bridge road, North Terrace; King William Street, near the Bank of Australasia ; Victoria Square, near the entrance opposite to the government offices and at the entrance to the southern portion of the square in the produce market; in Light and Hindmarsh Squares (near the northern entrance in each case); in Hurtle and Whitmore Squares (near to the southern entrance in each case) in Rundle Street, corner of Gawler Place; in Hindley Street, corner of Leigh Street; North Adelaide - At Wellington Square, near southern entrance; in O'Connell Street, corner of Childers Street and in Kermode Street, opposite to the Scotch Thistle. They were opened in February 1861 when passers-by 'tested the water and generally appeared to appreciate it as a welcome boon.'

    General Notes

    "Public Fountains" is in the Register,
    4 February 1859, page 2e,
    29 November 1859, page 2g,
    12 February 1859, page 6g.

    Also see Register, 1 November 1860, page 2h,
    Observer, 12 and 16 February 1861, pages 3e-5e and 7e,
    8 June 1861, page 3f, 26 October 1861, page 5g.

    A letter complaining about the absence of drinking fountains is in the Register,
    24 January 1860, page 3c; also see
    20 March 1860, page 3h,
    1 November 1860, page 2h,
    30 January 1861, page 2h,
    4 March 1861, page 2f,
    12 December 1861, page 2h,
    10 December 1867, page 2h and
    4 January 1877, page 5g.

    "Mr Gouge's Fountain" is in the Chronicle,
    30 March 1861, page 5b and
    "Gouge's Fountain" is in the Register,
    12 March 1861, page 3,
    12 December 1861, page 2h,
    8 March 1861, p. 3,
    26 October 1861, p. 5,
    24 October 1908, p. 32.
    "An Historic Fountain [in Hurtle Square]" is in the Register,
    20 October 1908, page 4e,
    1 December 1908, page 4h.

    Ornamental and public fountains are discussed in the Register,
    29 and 30 January 1861, pages 2h and 2h,
    4 and 7 March 1861, pages 2f-3d and 3b; also see
    1, 3, 8 and 17 February 1862, pages 3c, 3b, 3b and 3g.

    Information on a fountain in Hindmarsh Square is in the Observer,
    23 May 1868, page 13c,
    20 June 1868, page 5d.

    A colonial fountain is discussed in the Register,
    17 November 1868, page 3e,
    19 December 1868, page 16c.

    "The City Fountains" is in the Register,
    8 February 1870, page 5e.

    On 22 December 1875, page 6f a correspondent to the Register said, inter alia:

    What can be more pleasant to the eye and refreshing to the senses than a beautiful fountain of sparkling water flinging upwards its liquid gems... but if you want to behold the reality step down to Hindmarsh Square and there behold a dirty, slimy, disgusting puddle...

    Further information on drinking fountains is in the Observer,
    1 December 1877, page 12f,
    7 April 1908, pages 6e-9f,
    24 October 1908, page 32.

    "Health and Drinking Fountains" is in the Register,
    27 January 1917, page 5d.

    "Old Drinking Fountains" is in the Register,
    15 June 1921, page 9g.

    "Adelaide - A Fountain City" is in The News,
    18 February 1936, page 4g; also see
    17 August 1936, page 3e.

    Streets - Choose again

    Gambling on the Streets

    Also see South Australia - Gambling.

    "Shops and Clubs Betting" is in the Register,
    5 September 1902, page 7g.

    "Alleged Unlawful Gambling - The Freeman Street Raid" is in the Register,
    24, 27 and 31 October 1903, pages 4d, 4e-6f and 9d.

    Under the heading "Street Gambling" a correspondent to the Register on 1 October 1904 at page 8g says:

    The crowd that assemble nearly every day and all day in the vicinity of the Tattersall's Club [make] it all but impossible to use either the footway or the roadway, [and] are there... for gambling purposes and nothing else...

    Street betting is commented upon in the Advertiser,
    13 May 1905, page 6e,
    11 August 1905, page 4c,
    21 September 1905, page 6c,
    10 August 1905, pages 3e-4e,
    21 September 1905, page 7d.

    Under the heading "A Futile Betting Prosecution" the editor of the Register on 26 August 1905, page 6g says, inter alia:

    The law-abiding public...deserve the main streets of Adelaide to be rid of the gambling evil which is now blatantly indulged in, to the discredit of the city's fair fame.

    "Big Gambling Raid" is in the Advertiser,
    23 October 1905, page 5g,
    "Increase of Street Betting" on
    13 July 1909, page 6f.

    Information on gambling raids is in the Register,
    23 October 1905, page 5a,
    7 and 8 November 1905, pages 3g-4f and 9d,
    15 and 16 March 1906, pages 3d and 6d.

    "The Betting Evil" is in the Register,
    31 March 1906, page 3h.

    Streets - Choose again