State Library of South Australia
Manning Index of South Australian History
  • South Australia
  • Adelaide
  • Port Adelaide
  • Place Names
  •  

  • About the Index
  • Searching
  • Text-based menus
    (Use this option if your browser will not open the folders.)

    South Australia - Miscellany

    Billycans

    The origin of the "billycan" is traversed in the Register, 1 December 1916, page 9e:

    Miscellany - Choose again

    Burying the Dead

    Also see: South Australia - Miscellany - Cremation., Place Names - West Terrace. and Adelaide - Cemeteries, Burials and the City Morgue. "Old Cemeteries" is in the Register,
    8 June 1920, page 6f.

    "Lonely Bush Graves - Perils of Pioneering" is in The Mail,
    24 September 1927, page 17a.

    "Government Funerals" is in the Register,
    12 and 19 April 1856, pages 2d and 2d.

    "Pauper Burials" is in the Observer,
    23 March 1861, page 1g (supp.).

    "Intramural Graveyards" is in the Register,
    18 April 1862, page 2f; also see
    Observer,
    17 May 1862, page 5f,
    13 December 1862, page 6d.

    "Regulation of Cemeteries" is in the Register,
    5 September 1862, page 2d,
    "Burial Grounds" on
    12 December 1863, page 3c.

    "Cemeteries" is in the Register,
    9 June 1864, page 2f,
    "The Graves of Pioneers" on
    24 July 1900, page 4c,
    20 and 23 August 1900, pages 7b and 6b.

    "Burial Grounds" is in the Register,
    12, 16 and 19 December 1863, pages 3c, 3c and 2h.

    "Unbaptised and Unburied" is in the Express,
    13 November 1865, page 2a.

    "Funeral Undertaking" is in the Observer,
    5 June 1869, page 13e.

    "Mortuary Return - Persons Who Have Died or Been Found Dead in Any Public Place from 1/1/70 - 31/12/70" is in the Register,
    31 January 1871, page 3.

    "Burial Reform Association" is in the Express,
    21 July 1874, page 2b,
    3 August 1874, page 3b,
    21 and 22 September 1874, pages 2b and 3b.
    "The Funeral Reform Meeting" is in the Register,
    22 September 1874, page 4g,
    6 October 1874, page 6e,
    Observer,
    26 September 1874, pages 4c-10e,
    10 October 1874, page 6c; also see
    The Irish Harp,
    25 September 1874, page 3a,
    Chronicle,
    26 September 1874, pages 6d-12b,
    22 January 1876, page 5b,
    Express,
    26 April 1875, page 2c,
    "The Burials Bill" in the Chronicle,
    22 April 1876, page 5d,
    "Funeral Reform" on
    30 September 1882, page 5c,
    Observer,
    9 and 16 January 1886, pages 14a and 14a.

    "Cheap Funerals" is in The Lantern,
    26 September 1874, page 6a.

    "The Funeral Reform Meeting" is in the Observer,
    26 September 1874, pages 4c-10e,
    10 October 1874, page 6c; also see
    The Irish Harp,
    25 September 1874, page 3a,
    Chronicle,
    26 September 1874, pages 6d-12b,
    22 January 1876, page 5b,
    Express,
    26 April 1875, page 2c,
    "The Burials Bill" in the Chronicle,
    22 April 1876, page 5d,
    "Funeral Reform" on
    30 September 1882, page 5c.

    "Funeral Customs" is in the Express,
    19 October 1874, page 3b.

    Information on State funerals is in the Observer,
    21 September 1878, page 3b.
    A history of State funerals is in the Register,
    10 July 1884, page 5g.

    "Public Men and Public Funerals" is in the Register,
    10 July 1884, page 4g.

    "Funeral Reform" is in the Register,
    12 January 1886, page 7g.

    A poem titled "Epitaph on an Undertaker" is in The Lantern,
    23 May 1885, page 17.

    "The Disposal of the Dead" is in the Register,
    19 October 1889, page 4g.

    "Buried Alive" is in the Observer,
    26 October 1889, page 22a.

    "Burying the Poor" is in the Express,
    14 and 23 July 1890, pages 3f and 6f,
    Register,
    24 July 1890, page 6a,
    The Herald,
    17 June 1905, page 3a.

    A satirical article titled "An Undertakers' Banquet" is in the Observer,
    1 August 1891, page 26d.

    "Treatment of the Dead" is in the Chronicle,
    12 December 1891, page 22d,
    "Some Improved Methods" on
    19 October 1895, page 16e.

    "Burial on Land and at Sea" is in the Register,
    23 June 1894, page 4f,
    Observer,
    30 June 1894, page 42d.

    Biographical details on Henry E. Brookes, Supervisor of Cemeteries, are in the Observer,
    10 August 1895, page 16a.
    His obituary is in the Register,
    27 May 1909, page 5c;
    an obituary of his wife is in the Observer,
    12 July 1902, page 31b.

    "Bury or Burn?" is in the Observer,
    29 May 1897, page 12a.

    A Mohammedan cemetery in Adelaide is discussed in the Observer,
    12 June 1897, page 28e.

    "Our Funeral Customs" is in the Register,
    6 November 1897, page 4g.
    Observer,
    13 November 1897, page 33a.

    "The Burning and Embalming of Bodies" is in the Register,
    15 December 1897, page 4f.

    "The Cost of Funerals" is in the Observer,
    16 June 1900, page 22a,
    "Funeral Reform" on
    16 June 1900, page 33b.

    "Graves of the Pioneers" is in the Register,
    24 July 1900, page 4c,
    Observer,
    28 July 1900, page 24e.

    "Burying the Poor" is in The Herald,
    17 June 1905, page 3a.

    "A Question of Burial - Death of a Sikh" is in the Register,
    4 and 6 May 1903, pages 4i and 4e-5i.

    "The Coffin Trick" is in the Register,
    12 May 1905, page 4f,
    Observer,
    13 May 1905, page 33c.

    Information on the North Road cemetery is in the Register,
    17 and 20 July 1905, pages 4f and 4f.

    "Funeral Reform" is in the Register,
    24 March 1906, page 6e.

    "Premature Burial" is in the Register,
    23 and 30 November 1907, pages 8d and 14e.

    "Untidy Cemeteries" is in the Register,
    12 May 1914, page 6h.

    "Some Burial Grounds of the South" is in the Observer,
    19 January 1924, page 19d,
    "Some Northern Cemeteries" on
    26 January 1924, page 49e.

    "Burial of Suicides" is in The News,
    9 February 1924, page 5a.

    "Another Old Graveyard [at Angaston] - Interesting Records" is in the Observer,
    9 August 1924, page 17.

    Information on Sanctuary Park Cemetery Ltd is in The News,
    2 August 1935, page 5c; also see
    17 August 1935, page 4d,
    2 November 1935, page 5f.

    Miscellany - Choose again

    Clocks and Time

    Time Balls, Public Clocks and Standard Time

    (Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)

    Introduction

    Most of us learned in our schooldays, and forgot as rapidly as possible afterwards, that owing to certain peculiarities of the waltzing of the earth, the true solar day is not always the same length, but the difference between the real and computed day is so small as to escape ordinary observation, and is a mere detail permitted for the ecstasy of astronomers, mathematicians and dry-as-dust philosophers.

    The vagaries of the moon have given calendar makers a good deal of trouble. The year of the ancient Egyptian was, we are told, based on the changes of the seasons alone, without reference to the lunar month, and contained 365 days divided into 12 months of 30 days each, with five supplementary days at the end of the year.

    The Jewish year consisted of lunar and intercalary months, of which they reckoned twelve in a year, inter-calculating a thirteenth when necessary to maintain the correspondence of the particular months with the regular recurrence of the seasons.

    The Greeks, in the earliest period, also reckoned by lunar months, but after one or two changes adopted the plan of Meton and Euctemon, who took account of the fact that, in a period of nineteen years, the new moons return upon the same days of the year before. This period of nineteen years was found, however, to be about six hours too long and subsequent calculators still failed to make the beginnings of the seasons return on the same fixed day each year.

    The Romans, at first, divided the year into ten months, but they adopted the Greek method of lunar and intercalary months, making the lunar year consist of 354 days and afterwards 355, leaving ten or eleven days and a fraction to be supplied by the intercalary division. This arrangement continued until the time of Caesar.

    The first day of the month was called the 'calends'. From the inaccuracy of the Roman method of reckoning the calendar came to represent the vernal equinox nearly two months after the event and, at the request of Julius Caesar, the Greek astronomer, Sosigenes, with the assistance of Marcus Fabius, constructed the so-called Julian calendar.

    The chief improvement consisted in restoring the equinox to the proper place by inserting two months between November and December, so that the year 707 (BC 46), called the 'year of confusion', contained fourteen months. In the number of days the Greek computation was adopted, which made it 365. To dispose of the quarter day it was determined to intercalate a day in every fourth year between the 23rd and 24th of February. This calendar continued in use among the Romans until the fall of the empire, and throughout Christendom until 1582.

    By this time, owing to the cumulative error of eleven minutes, the vernal equinox took place ten days earlier than its date in the calendar, and Pope Gregory XIII issued a brief abolishing the Julian calendar in all Catholic countries, and introduced in its stead the one now in use, the Gregorian or reformed calendar. In the English calendar of 1752 also, the first of January was now adopted as the beginning of the legal year. The revolutionary government of France in 1793 adopted a new calendar, but Napoleon restored the Christian or Gregorian in 1806.

    The Hegira, or Mohammedan calendar, which dates from the flight of the prophet from Mecca to Medina, which was on the night of 15 July 622, has a small error that will amount to one day in about 2,400 years.

    The subdivision of the day into twenty-four hours has prevailed since the remotest ages, though different nations have not agreed as to the manner of distributing the hours. We learn, also, that the Babylonians began the day at sunrise; the Jews at sunset; the Egyptians and Romans at midnight, as do most modern peoples.

    The civil day in most countries is divided into two portions of twelve hours each. The Greenwich day practically determines the date for all the world. Midday at Greenwich is the only instant at which we have the same date all over the world - The difference in time between Wellington, New Zealand and Honululu in the Sandwich Islands is only about two hours, yet a person at Wellington may date a letter 9 am, 31 January, while a person writing at the same instant in Honolulu would date it 11 am 30 January.

    By 1895 the 'standard' or 'zone' time had grown in favour among people of the scientific or technical training throughout the world. It had been adopted in many parts of Europe, while progressive Japan had adopted the system some years before.

    An impetus was given to the movement in the colonies at the International Conference of Surveyors in Melbourne in November 1892, when the Hon. A.C. Gregory, of Queensland, moved: 'That the zone-time system should be adopted in Australia.' That proposition was carried unanimously.

    Steps towards intercolonial agreement were taken at a postal conference in New Zealand, when Sir Charles Todd, the Post-Master General of South Australia, submitted a resolution affirming the desirability of legislation in the Australian colonies in favour of standard time.

    Acts of parliament followed - in Queensland the Standard Time Act came into force on 1 January 1895, while those passed in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia became effective on 1 February 1895. From that day when the hour of the day was noon in any part of Western Australia it was one o'clock in any part of South Australia and two o'clock in all portions of the three eastern states; Tasmania was, presumably, included in this zone, but was not mentioned specifically.

    The observance of standard time in South Australia caused considerable inconvenience, delay and confusion on the part of business people and others, while our mercantile firms were placed at a great disadvantage when conducting interstate business. Further, sporting, athletic people and the agricultural community were known to favour a reduction of the hour difference with the eastern states.

    Accordingly, as from 1 May 1899 the difference was reduced to half an hour and the general pleasure prevailing within the community is evident in the following report:

    Public Clocks and Adelaide's Twelve o'Clock Gun

    By the close of 1851 the want of some public clock to regulate town time was felt severely by all men of business and a suggestion was made that a turret clock, with four faces, should be installed at the Post Office, while less expensive instruments should be considered at the Police Office, the Local Court an the Assay Office.

    At the time there were plenty of clocks of one sort or another, but the main desire was a standard by which they were set. Mr Davis's clock in Rundle Street and Mr Griffin's in Hindley Street often differed to the extent of ten minutes or more and those at Trinity Church, the Exchange and the government offices were almost always at variance.

    With such an ill-sorted set of chronometers it was impossible for appointments to be kept punctually. Accordingly, a call went out for 'the old plan of firing a gun at 12 o'clock every Saturday' to be resumed.

    Events of November 1853 give an interesting insight into Adelaide's only official 'timepiece'. The citizens fully expected to have heard the welcome sound of the gun at noon on Saturday, 19 November, but were disappointed, no discharge having taken place.

    The arrangements were of a complicated nature - A small flagstaff, about twenty feet high, was erected in the garden of the government offices, as close as possible to the corner of King William Street and Victoria Square. Upon this a ball was hoisted at five minutes to twelve, while Mr Davis, the flagstaff-man on West Terrace, was supposed to be on the lookout, match in hand, and ready to fire the cannon.

    The ball was lowered at six seconds before noon so as to allow him to quit his telescope and apply the match to the priming of the gun, so that the discharge would take precisely at midday. This looked well in theory, but in practice it turned out very differently.

    Mr Davis had his gun loaded and his match prepared and, as his watch admonished him of the approach of 12 o'clock, he stood straining his eyes at the glass, gazing on the slender spar, which from its position was scarcely visible at the best of times. But just at that critical moment the dust rose in Franklin Street and wholly shut it from his view until the ball had been raised and lowered again.

    I was there a half an hour later and the same thing occurred; so that under the prevailing system it was evident that a puff of wind, a shower of rain or, I may add, the passing of a loaded dray, would have prevented the firing of the gun, or compel Mr Davis to rely upon his own watch; in which case the little flagstaff at the government offices could have been dispensed with altogether.

    There were also other objections to the existing arrangements. The gun was a beautiful piece of mounted artillery - a 12 pound brass howitzer - one of those imported from England by Governor Robe and used on the occasion of the first meeting of the Legislative Council and would have, no doubt, made noise enough if properly placed and loaded; but on West Terrace, and charged with only a pound of powder, it was fired twice on the previous Friday and I have scarcely met with any one who heard it.

    Then it was pointed towards Franklin Street and within six or eight yards of West Terrace, so that accidents were exceedingly likely to occur from horses taking fright at being fired upon. It was generally agreed that Victoria Square would have been a better location for it; the ball could be seen there with the naked eye, the report would have come from the centre of the city and the gun need not to have been pointed towards any street in the immediate vicinity.

    In December 1853 the gun was removed to the old police barracks on North Terrace and was fired daily but, unfortunately, it did not keep correct time and, in 1857, a solid cast of tarred rope descended on Rundle Street after being fired from the gun. A few days previously, a heavy wooded plug, used to close the mouth of the gun, was fired across North Terrace and knocked down part of a fence. By January 1862 it had ceased operations, for the carriage of the gun was dilapidated and its firing a dangerous exercise.

    The Adelaide Time Ball

    Upon the cessation of the 12 o'clock gun Mr J. Davis, watchmaker of Rundle Street, installed a time-ball at the top of his establishment and it was lowered at precisely one o'clock on an October day in 1863, when several hundred persons assembled to witness the fall of the ball. A band was stationed on the balcony and the christening was heralded by the performance of the National Anthem. It was hoped that the time-ball would be of great public convenience, for absolutely correct time was an element exceedingly difficult to be obtained.

    The ingenuity and skill employed in the construction of astronomical clocks and chronometers are truly wonderful, but instruments of that kind were proportionately expensive. The sun dial is but a rude method of ascertaining apparent time, which has to be corrected by an 'equation' table.

    Ordinary watches can seldom be relied upon for many days together, being affected by temperature and other disturbing causes. And even the 12 o'clock gun, though discharged with the greatest possible precision, mislead a person who heard it at a few miles distance, because of the time taken for the report to travel over the intervening space, amounting to nearly one minute for every twelve miles. The time ball was unaffected by any of these incidental causes of error and when it was lowered each day exactly at one o'clock, Adelaide mean time, the inhabitants of the city and surrounding country were able to correct their watches with sufficient accuracy for all the ordinary purposes of life.

    General Notes

    "Public Clocks" is in the Adelaide Times,
    21 April 1852, page 3b.

    Information on the "twelve o'clock gun" is in the Register,
    21 and 28 November 1853, pages 3e and 2f,
    6 December 1853, page 2f,
    28 January 1862, page 3c.
    Its "bombardment of Adelaide" is reported in the Observer,
    21 November 1857, page 1c (supp.).

    "The Adelaide Time-Ball" is discussed in the Register on
    20 October 1863, page 2h,
    Advertiser,
    26 January 1918, page 6f and
    the Port Adelaide Timeball in The News,
    21 July 1927, page 4g.
    Also see Semaphore.

    "Electric Clocks" is in the Observer,
    4 September 1875, page 7f,
    Register,
    10 January 1885, page 5e.
    "The Time by Our Watches and Clocks" is in the Register,
    4 April 1894, page 4f.

    "Altering the Clock Hands" is in the Register,
    26 October 1894, page 5a.

    "The Hour-Zone System" is in the Advertiser,
    7 December 1894, page 4g,
    "Putting Back the Clock" on
    31 January 1895, pages 4d-5h,
    "Standard Time and Clocks" in the Observer,
    26 January 1895, page 30d,
    2 February 1895, pages 24c-32a,
    "The New Time" in the Express,
    31 January 1895, page 3d.

    "The Standard Time Act" is in the Register,
    14 and 16 January 1895, pages 5a and 6g,
    "Standard Time and the Clocks" on
    31 January 1895, pages 4e-5a-6a,
    1 February 1895, page 6d.

    An alteration to "Standard Time" is discussed in the Register on
    18 June 1898, page 7c,
    15, 16 and 31 August 1898, pages 6d, 3e and 6c
    Advertiser,
    12 September 1898, page 7e,
    Register,
    1 and 3 November 1898, pages 6d and 10i,
    7 March 1899, page 4h,
    8 and 29 April 1899, pages 5a and 6f-7c,
    1 May 1899, page 4i,
    Observer,
    15 April 1899, page 13e,
    6 May 1899, page 16a.

    "Altering the Clock Again" is in the Advertiser,
    2 September 1898, page 4d,
    "Standard Time" on
    12 September 1898, page 7e,
    1 May 1899, page 4c,
    Observer,
    25 June 1898, page 14a,
    15 April 1899, page 13e,
    Express,
    8 and 22 April 1899, pages 2c and 2b,
    Register,
    29 April 1899, page 7c,
    1 May 1899, page 4i.

    "Zone Time" is in the Observer,
    26 January 1907, page 38a.

    "Sun Clocks" is in the Observer
    , 8 October 1910, page 14a.

    "Lost Daylight" is in the Register,
    2 July 1908, page 4c.

    "The Observatory - Checking Time by the Stars" is in the Advertiser,
    2 December 1911, page 7a,
    "Telling Adelaide the Time - How the Stars Control our Clocks" on
    26 October 1935, page 11g.

    "Accuracy in Time - How the Observatory Works" is in The News,
    17 November 1927, page 12d.

    "Daylight Saving" is in the Advertiser,
    25 September 1909, page 8d,
    25 October 1909, page 6d,
    23 December 1909, page 6c,
    Register,
    20 October 1909, page 6h,
    20 July 1911, page 9d,
    Advertiser,
    21 July 1911, page 8c,
    18 January 1912, page 6c,
    22 April 1912, page 8c,
    1 April 1914, page 14c,
    9 and 12 May 1916, pages 4b and 7d,
    Register,
    4 January 1917, page 4f.

    "Sun Clocks - Their Use and Value" is in the Register,
    4 October 1910, page 6g.

    "Nightlight Saving" is in the Observer,
    20 and 27 January 1917, pages 29e-35b and 30d.

    Also see Advertiser, 16 December 1916, page 14h,
    1 January 1917, page 7d,
    Register,
    10 and 17 January 1917, pages 4i and 4c,
    Advertiser,
    17 March 1917, page 8e,
    Observer,
    24 March 1917, page 29d,
    Register,
    21 and 23 March 1917, pages 6c-d and 3d,
    Advertiser,
    26 January 1918, page 6f,
    23 November 1929, page 22f.

    "What's the Time? - Correcting Clocks of State" is in The Mail,
    1 September 1928, page 16f.

    Miscellany - Choose again