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South Australian "firsts" 1836-1986

This list was compiled by Brian Samuels, when he was with the History Trust of South Australia, to draw attention to some of South Australia's more interesting innovations and firsts. We reproduce it here courtesy of Brian Samuels and the Trust. Brian said about the listó

"It is not comprehensive. Nor is there any point in striving for such a goal, since by defining firsts narrowly-for example, the first mine, the first copper mine, the first opal mine and so on-an almost infinite number of firsts can be generated. The firsts are firsts in an Australian or wider context, not in a purely South Australian one. Hence the first colonist to set foot, the first hotel and so on have been excluded.

Three general reference books have been cited as sources in abbreviated fashion. They are L. Port & B. Murray's Australian Inventions (Cassell Australia 1978), B. Fraser (ed) The Macquarie Book of Events (Macquarie Library 1983) and P. Robertson The Guinness Book of Australian Firsts (Collins Australia 1987). I would also like to thank all those people who assisted in my hunt for significant items. An earlier version of this chronology appeared in E. Kwan (ed) Living in South Australia: A Social History (S. A. Government Printer 1987)

I would welcome any suggestions for additions to this listing. I would also appreciate receiving suggestions for a List of significant lasts."

Brian is now with Heritage South Australia where you can email him.

1838
The first Lutheran service in Australia was held at Port Adelaide.
(T. Hebart The United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia 1938, p 37)

1839
Adelaide Chamber of Commerce established, the first in Australasia.
(H. G. Viney A Century of Commerce in South Australia 1836-1936 1936, p 20)

1841
The first metal mine in Australia was opened at Glen Osmond.
(I. Auhl & D. Marfleet Australia's Earliest Mining Era. 1975, p 26)

1843
John Ridley constructed the first stripper harvester in Australia.
(L. Port & B. Murray p 16)

1845
The first Lutheran College and Seminary in the Southern Hemisphere opened at Lobethal.
(A. Brauer Under the Southern Cross 1956, p 189)

1848
Die Deutsche Post fur Die Australischen Colonien, the first non-English language news-paper in Australia, was published in Adelaide.
(Macquarie p 134)

1851
Adelaide branch of the London YMCA formed, the first YMCA branch outside Europe. [Got own charter in 1878]
(J.T. Massey The YMCA in Australia 1950, p 332)

South Australia was the first part of the British Empire to end State aid to religion.
(E. Richards (ed) The Flinders History of South Australia. Social History 1986, p 202)

1854
The first public animal-powered railway in Australia opened, connecting Goolwa and Port Elliot.
(Macquarie p 94)

1856
South Australia was the first Australian colony not to have plural voting in upper and lower house elections.
(The Centenary History of South Australia 1936, p 280)

South Australia was the first Australian colony to introduce male adult suffrage for parliamentary elections.
(R. M. Gibbs A History of South Australia 1984, p 115)

South Australia was the first Australian colony to have parliaments elected for three year terms.
(R. M. Gibbs A History of South Australia 1984, p 115)

1858
The Real Property Act introduced a new method of registering the ownership of (or title to) land which was subsequently copied internationally.
(G. D. Coombe Responsible Government in South Australia 1957, p 92; Guinness p 73)

1866
The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the first entirely Australian order of nuns, was founded by Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods at Penola.
(M. T. Foale The Josephite Story 1989, p 1)

1867
First croquet club in Australia formed at Kapunda.
(J. Daly Elysian Fields 1982, p 166)

1869
South Australian Chamber of Manufactures established, the first in Australia.
(H. G. Viney A Century of Commerce in South Australia 1836-1936 1936, p 44)

1872
Adelaide was the first Australian capital city to be connected by telegraph with London.
(Macquarie p 126)

1876
South Australia was the first territory of the British Empire, excluding Britain, to legalize trade unions.
(J. Wanna Defence Not Defiance 1981, p 12)

South Australia was the first Australian State to introduce probate and succession duties.
(D. Jaensch (ed) The Flinders History of South Australia. Political History 1986, p 172)

The stump-jump plough was invented by Mr Robert Bowyer Smith of Kalkabury, near Maitland.
(L. Port & B. Murray p 38)

1878
Adelaide was the first Australian city to begin to develop a system of horse-drawn trams.
(H.T. Burgess The Cyclopedia of South Australia 1907 & 1909, vol 2 p 200)

The first major long-distance telephone call in Australia was made from Semaphore to Port Augusta.
(A. Moyal Clear across Australia 1984, p 73)

1879
The Advanced School for Girls, the first state secondary school for girls in Australia, opened.
(H. Jones In Her Own Name 1986, p 80)

1880
The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia was held in Adelaide.
(L. Tarling Thank God for the Salvos 1980, p 16)

1881
A Public Trustee Office was created, the first in Australia.
(A Century of Trust n.d., p 6)

Adelaide was the first Australian capital city to be connected to a water-borne sewerage system.
(R. M. Gibbs A History of South Australia 1984, p 162)

The University of Adelaide was the first in Australia to be able to admit women to degrees.
(W. G. K. Duncan & R. A. Leonard The University of Adelaide 1874-1974 1973, p 14)

1882
Hockey was first played in Australia by Royal Navy teams in the Adelaide parklands.
(Guinness p 65)

The first cement manufactured in Australia was produced at Brighton by William Lewis.
(J. F. Drexel Mining in South Australia 1982, p 165)

1885
Roseworthy Agricultural College, the first agricultural college in Australia, opened.
(Guinness p 12)

South Australia was the first Australian colony to levy income and land tax under Act 323 of 1884.
(E. Richards (ed) The Flinders History of South Australia. Social History 1986, p 591; D. Jaensch (ed) The Flinders History of South Australia. Political History 1986, p 172)

1886
Australia's first trunk telephone line was opened between Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
(Guinness p 128)

1887
The first irrigation settlement in Australia was established at Renmark.
(D. Coleman Golden Heritage 1954, p 12)

1890
The first juvenile court in Australia was established in Adelaide.
(A. C. Castles & M. C. Harris Lawmakers and Wayward Whigs 1987, p 214)

1891
Cremation was legalized, an Australian first.
(Guinness p 42)

1895
South Australia was the first Australian Colony to grant women the vote, following the Constitution Amendment Act 1894 gaining Royal Assent.
(A.C. Castles & M.C. Harris Lawmakers and Wayward Whigs 1987, p 173)

South Australia was the first place in the world to allow women to stand for parliament.
(H. Jones Nothing Seemed Impossible 1985, p 153)

1897
The University of Adelaide was the first in Australia to establish a Conservatorium of Music.
(W. G. K. Duncan & R. A. Leonard The University of Adelaide 1874-1974 1973, p 41)

The first public demonstration in Australia of wireless telegraphy was conducted by Professor William Henry Bragg at the University of Adelaide.
(J. F. Ross A History of Radio in South Australia 1897-1977 1978, p 6)

1903
The first crematorium in Australia opened in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. (Demolished 1969)
(Guinness p 42)

1904
The first community-run hotel in the British Empire was established at Renmark.
(D. Coleman Golden Heritage 1954, p 47)

1906
The first licence to drive a motor vehicle in Australia was issued in Adelaide.
(Guinness p 47)

1915
Women police appointed, the first in the British Empire appointed on equal terms with male officers.
(P. Higgs & C. Bettess To Walk a Fair Beat 1987, p 19)

Babies Hopital for children under 12 months opened at St Peters by the School for Mothers (more recently known as the Mothers' and Babies' Health Association); the first in Australia.
(H. Jones In Her Own Name 1986, p 182)

1917
The first Australian Town Planning Conference was held in Adelaide.
(A. Hutchings & R. Bunker With Conscious Purpose 1986, p 52)

1919
Mrs Susan Benny was the first woman to enter local government (Brighton) in Australia.
(Australian Dictionary of Biography vol. 7, p 271)

1920
Archives Department of the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery opened, the first public archives in Australia.
(C. Bridge A Trunk Full of Books 1986, p 108)

1925
An Act regulating the disposal of State and Local Government documents was assented to, the first such act in Australia.
(C. Bridge A Trunk Full of Books 1986, p 106)

1927
Winifred Kiek became the first woman to be ordained into the Christian ministry in Australia.
(M. Knauerhase Winifred 1978, p 26)

1928
The first practicable pedal wireless sets in Australia were made by Alfred Traeger of Adelaide.
(L. Port & B. Murray p 116)

1929
David Unaipon's booklet Native Legends was the first Australian publication by an Aboriginal author.
(A. Shoemaker Black Words, White Page 1989, p 42)

1932
Australia's first trolley bus began running from Payneham to Paradise.
(J. C. Radcliffe & C. J. M. Steele Adelaide Road Passenger Transport 1836-1958 1974, p 93)

1936
The South Australian Housing Trust, the first public housing authority in Australia, was founded.
(S. Marsden Business, Charity and Sentiment 1986, p v)

1938
The first talking fire alarm in the world was installed at Woodville.
(M. Page & M. Bryant Muscle and Pluck Forever! 1983, p 381)

1952
Xerography (photocopying) using liquid developer was perfected by Messrs Ken Metcalf and Bob Wright of the Defence Standards Laboratory, Adelaide.
(L. Port & B. Murray p 141)

1964
The first commercial natural gas well in Australia was completed at Gidgealpa.
(J. F. Drexel Mining in South Australia 1982, p 198)

1965
Roma Mitchell became the first female judge in Australia.
(A. C. Castles & M. C. Harris Lawmakers and Wayward Whigs 1987, p 373)

1966
The Prohibition of Discrimination Act 1966 prohibiting racial discrimination was assented to; the first such Act in Australia.
(M. Sawer Sisters in Suits 1990, p 205)

1970
South Australia was the first Australian State to legalize abortion in certain circumstances under the provisions of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act Amendment Act 1969.
(Guinness p 9)

1975
The legal consequences of illegitimacy were abolished by the Family Relationships Act 1975; an Australian first.
(H. Jones In Her Own Name 1986, p 182)

South Australia was the first Australian State to decriminalize homosexual relations between consenting male adults in private.
(A.C. Castles & M.C. Harris Lawmakers and Wayward Whigs 1987, p 353)

1976
Rape in marriage was made a criminal offence, the first such measure in the English-speaking world.
(Guinness p 111)

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was proclaimed, making discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status in employment, education, accommodation and the provision of goods and services unlawful; the first such Act in Australia.
(M. Sawer Sisters in Suits 1990, p 206)

 
   
 
 

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