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Celebrating a year of milestones and great achievements
It is the 17th year of the new millennium, a leap year with 366 days to create some new history. But what about the old history - what occurred in South Australia some 50, 100 or even 150 years ago that has etched itself in the history books forever ? Let's take a look at a few, and perhaps during the year we may get out and appreciate each of these just a little bit more.
On Valentine's Day 1966 decimal currency was introduced into Australia, in what was one of the biggest changes to impact Australians. Pounds, shillings and pence became dollars and cents, with Flinders Street being a hub of underground financial activity with the vaults under the Reserve Bank building being joined at one time to the old Treasury building creating this underground financial world. Worthy of a look, the tunnels are open for tours monthly while the Treasury Bar is open daily.
It was 150 years ago when Sister Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart at Penola, and shortly after the first Catholic School in Yankalilla. Some 143 years later and Sister Mary was formally acknowledged as the first Australian to be recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church.
In late March Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, proudly opened South Australia's second university known as Flinders University. Named after the great explorer Matthew Flinders, and with a coat of arms incorporating his ship, Flinders University has grown substantially since its early days with 400 enrollees, and now has campuses at Bedford Park, Victoria Square and Tonsley.
Reducing business or trading hours is not something that we could imagine today, but it was to be the norm in 1916 when six o'clock closing was introduced in to South Australia, partly as an attempt to improve public morality and partly as a war austerity measure. Each of the other states soon followed, and before long most hotels and public houses in Australia closed their doors early. It took some 51 years before the 6 o'clock swill became a thing of the past, with South Australia being the last state to remove this morality and austerity measure.
A meeting held at the North Kapunda Hotel saw the formation of the Kapunda Football Club, a Club that is now one of the longest running football clubs of any code in the world, and believed to be the longest running Australian Rules club. With big celebrations scheduled for 2016, a trip to one of SA's oldest mining towns is a must.
Map Kernow - Steve Hudson
5 June 1866
John McDouall Stuart passed away on this day. Stuart was a Scottish explorer and led the first successful expedition from south to north and return, through the centre of the continent. The explorations of Stuart eventually led to the creation of the Northern Territory, and Stuart's name lives on with the naming of the main south-north highway in his honor.
Celebrating its 150th Birthday this year, after an initial build cost of about £17,000 is the Adelaide Town Hall. With the first stones laid in 1863, the building was officially opened in 1866. Tours of the Adelaide Town Hall are available weekly with details on their website.
Although the total loss of life was not as high as other battles that Australians had fought in, the Battle of Long Tan has significant memories for many Vietnam veterans. Long Tan is memorialised by a bridge on the Northern Expressway, with a trip along the Stuart O'Grady Bikeway being the best way to view the bridge.
Osmond Gilles arrived in Adelaide on the HMS Buffalo in 1836, and was appointed as our first Treasurer, and then soon started the process of street and suburb naming . No surprises then with the names Gilles Street, Glen Osmond Road, Gilles Plains, Glen Osmond and Mt Osmond, but did you know that Oakden was named after Gilles' wife, while OG Road is one of few very roads in Adelaide named after abbreviations. Gilles passed away 150 years ago aged 78 years.
In a South Australian first (and potentially last), the Tollgate was officially opened to collect revenues to help fund the development of an improved road to Mt Barker. Unfortunately the traffic in the early days was small, and hence the monies raised were barely enough to pay for the Toll Collector, with the Tollgate being closed in 1847, and a toll way never again seen in Adelaide.
In 1866 John Martin and Otto Peters opened a store at 94 Rundle Street in Adelaide called Peters & Martin. The store soon became John Martins Ltd which was to become an iconic department store in Adelaide, most famous for its introduction of the Christmas Pageant in 1933.
10 November 1866
Edward Vardon, a Politician and a Director of the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange was born on this day in 1866. The famous East End markets were an outlet for a collective of fresh and fine food traders. Long since gone, Vardon Avenue remains and stays true to the Vardon ideals by being a hub of fine coffee shops, cafes and bars. What more of a reason does one need to get down and enjoy some of Adelaide's finest.
Relatively unknown to most Australians, Sir Hubert Wilkins, was honoured in a ceremony near Hallett in 1966 with 340 guests bravely withstanding a heatwave and a red dust storm. Sir Hubert was born and bred in the area, and formed a legacy as an Australian polar explorer, ornithologist, pilot, soldier, geographer and photographer.
The above represents only a small sample of the events that helped shape South Australia. To help us appreciate this history a bit better, let's pay a visit to each during 2016 and let's celebrate 2016.