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Faces of Fort Largs Photo Exhibition

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
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Take a sneak peek into your history
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Barbed Wire on an Adelaide Beach ca 1944 (Image: State Library of SA B-70024-50)


During the reign of Queen Victoria Australians became increasingly concerned about the threat of foreign invasion. As a consequence coastal defences were built near major cities in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Three coastal forts were planned for South Australia - Fort Largs, Fort Glanville, and Fort Glenelg. Fort Glanville was completed first, but later dwindled in importance due to the superior firepower of Fort Largs. Guns were purchased for Fort Glenelg, but the fort was never built and the guns eventually returned to England.

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10th Garrison Artillery at Fort Largs 1913 (Image: State Library SA PRG-280-1-7-108)


From 1883 until the 1950's Fort Largs played a significant role in South Australia's military history. Many World War 1 soldiers enlisted at Fort Largs before fighting at Gallipoli and other places overseas. An internment camp operated at Fort Largs briefly before being moved to Torrens Island.

During the Depression Fort Largs played a part when civilians were armed with rifles and bayonets to help break a strike by Port Adelaide waterfront workers.

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Moving Artillery Guns From Fort Largs to Fort Malta 1942 (Image: National Archives)


World War 2 saw Fort Largs being expanded, with a new Barracks and Drill Hall being built. While the artillery guns were temporarily relocated to Fort Malta, Fort Largs remained a hive of activity throughout the war.

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27th Battalion at Fort Largs 1939 (Image: State Library SA B-7798-637)


The fort became the first Womens' Royal Australian Army Corps barracks in Australia after the war until it was sold in 1961 to the SA government to be used as the Fort Largs Police Academy. Since that time much of the fort's military heritage was carefully preserved until 2011, when a new police academy was built next door.

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Mess Ladies at Fort Largs Police Academy (Image: SA Police Historical Society)


In its 130 year history thousands of men and women have lived and worked at Fort Largs. The fort is a monument to their commitment, sacrifice and dedication to service.

Some families have been associated with Fort Largs for generations, and have family members who worked in the military, and others who are now SA police officers. The fort is not just bricks and mortar - it is the embodiment of a tradition. The contributions of our military and SA police heroes demand respect, and the free Faces of Fort Largs Photo Exhibition aims to showcase some of the human face of Fort Largs.

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Course 108 Graduation 1971 (Image: SA Police Historical Society)


The Faces of Fort Largs Photo Exhibition contains many rare historical photos from the archives of the Army Museum of South Australia, the SA Police Historical Society, and the Australian War memorial. It documents some of the highlights of fort activities over more than a century, and is sponsored by National Trust of South Australia's Heritage Watch campaign.

Two local photographers have also contributed stunning night time images of contemporary Fort Largs, which is at risk of being sold to a developer and being demolished.

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Police Cadet With Horse (Image: SA Police Historical Society)


The Faces of Fort Largs travelling photo exhibition is being held at the Port Adelaide Library. It's well worth visiting to view the seldom seen images of life at the fort in the last hundred years. After seeing the exhibition why not stay and browse their wonderful Local History Collection.

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Chief Superintendent Edwards With Heritage Commission Certificate 1984 (Image: SA Police Historical Society)


The National Trust of South Australia is proud to present this unique exhibition, and gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Army Museum of South Australia, the SA Police Historical Society, and the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL.

Please check the Port Adelaide Library website for opening hours.

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Why? This free photo exhibition captures an important part of South Australian life.
When: See Library website for opening hours
Where: 2 Church Street, Port Adelaide SA 5015
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Great article Dave. It is often hard to believe that barbed wire was all we needed to keep invaders out of Adelaide.
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1230) 934 days ago
The 1971 photo is not course 108. I graduated from the academy in 1971, and I was in course 27. We graduated in December of that year.
by brown (score: 0|6) 935 days ago
Showing my age, but... my memories of Fort Largs was Christmas times. Many families from Broken Hill mines came, huge family tents were pitched, and us kids (as we were then)loved the bonfires and freedom of the sandhills, and then we would go on to Semaphore some nights for the wonderful merrygoround.
It' s one of the wonderful memories I have of childhood
by sandw (score: 1|58) 931 days ago
Many thanks again again for the reminder of places to go as we have people over from the West ( WA that is ) also local times and places. Thanks and Regards from Terry Bourke
by ladyw (score: 1|34) 928 days ago
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