Welcome to the early autumn edition of
the Glenelg Historical Society (GHS) Newsletter. Your Committee hopes that your favourite
football team is on the way to a victorious season and that you all enjoy a
pleasant Easter. The weather has just started to give us some of those fabulous
autumn mornings and evenings to enjoy.
Review of Events:
On Sunday 25 February, at the Jetty Hotel Beth Duncan
gave a most informative talk entitled “From
Fishing Village to Burgeoning Township.
C1837-1867”. The news of this
event made it to the local paper and so we welcomed many additional guests. Beth
will deliver Part 2 of this very information Glenelg background later in the
25 March 2018 saw us enjoying a private
guided tour of the local historic Glenelg Air Raid shelter.
This was a fabulous tour and anyone who could not attend may want to go to one
of their general open afternoons. The
stairs were much better than expected and the whole shelter is very well
lit. We had a great guide who gave us
such a lot of previously unknown (to most of us) information about the
“preparations for war if it came to South Australia”. After the tour we all met
for an excellent meal at the Glenelg Football Club.
Sunday 15 April 2018, Tour of Fort
Glanville, Largs Bay. Our visit to Fort Glanville is to learn
something of its fascinating history, since the Russian Invasion Scare
subsided, and of its restoration and preservation by the Fort Glanville
This tour will be preceded by lunch at
the Grange Hotel at 12 noon with the Fort Glanville tour commencing at 2.30pm-4pm
max. (Details are below at #). Beth Duncan has kindly provided us with some
information to help set the scene before the tour.
THE RUSSIAN INVASION SCARE -- RUSSIAN
EXPANSIONISM 19th CENTURY STYLE (References *)
flagship of the Russian Pacific Squadron visited both Sydney and Melbourne in
1863, just seven years after the end of the Crimean war. Tensions between
Russia and Britain had not subsided and Britain was very wary of potential
Russian expansion particularly into India and beyond. Another visit by a
Russian warship in 1870, this time to Hobart, also caused considerable concern.
Although these visits were ostensibly goodwill in nature, they were
unannounced, and the warships had been able to gain access to port virtually
unnoticed. Britain’s view that Australian coastal centres were vulnerable to
naval invasion and advice to upgrade defence capabilities, resulted, at the
request of the colonies, in the War Office, instituting an enquiry into
Australia’s coastal defence needs, during the latter part of the 1870’s. Sir William Jervois, a highly qualified
military engineer specializing in land based fortifications against naval
attack, was appointed to undertake the task. Co-incidentally Sir William
Jervois was commissioned South Australia’s 10th Governor in October
Coastal defences were non-existent in South
Australia. Troubled citizens pressured the Government to put in place the plan
recommended by Jervois, in his former military capacity, which would protect,
particularly, Glenelg and Port Adelaide from attack from the sea. However, the
Government was very slow to act probably due to lack of funds.
further unannounced visit by Russian warships brought matters to a head. On the
morning of February 26 1882, the residents of Glenelg woke to find three
Russian naval vessels anchored in Holdfast Bay. Once again the visit appeared
to be friendly and Admiral Alsenbergoff and his officers were received
cordially by Glenelg’s Mayor and Councillors. A ball attended by the Governor,
Sir William Jervois, was held in the Glenelg Institute (now Glenelg Town Hall)
in their honour. The ships were opened to the public and crowds of sightseers
flocked to Glenelg in something of a festive atmosphere, curiosity seemingly
overcoming their earlier anxiety and fear of a ‘Russian invasion’.
on the fleet’s departure, Governor Jervois again strongly advised that South
Australian shipping and coastal settlements were vulnerable to Russian attack and
that his plans for three coastal forts at Glenelg, Glanville and Largs be fully
implemented; the Glenelg defence to protect Adelaide and the Adelaide plains
and those at Fort Glanville and Fort Largs to protect Port Adelaide. By this
time construction of Fort Glanville had been underway since 1880 and work on
the remaining two coastal defences was begun. The three defences were to be
connected along the coast by a road built on the eastern side of the sand
dunes, and now known as Military Road.
both Fort Glanville and Fort Largs were completed, and are both still in use
today although no longer as coastal batteries, the fort at Glenelg was never
built. A couple of sandbag batteries, armed with ‘ancient’ 24-pounder howitzers
were temporarily set up in the sand hills on the northern side of the Patawalonga,
but were removed in 1885 in preparation for the permanent fort. Two breech
loading guns were imported from Britain and in mid-1888 they were transported
from Port Adelaide to the site by barge and off loaded into the sand hills. The
project assumed something of a farcical, comic opera quality when
insurmountable difficulties over valuation and price arose in the purchase of
the land for the fort. Plans for its erection were abandoned in 1889, leaving
the guns lying in the sand hills. The guns were sold to an English firm four
years later at a cost to the state of £25,000.
*REFERENCES FOR FORT GLANVILLE TEXT
The West Torrens Historian, Vol.4 No.1, December 2012 The Russians Are Coming.
Wikipedia Australia–Russia relations
pp1-3; Fort Glanville Historical
society, Jervois, William, www.slsa.gov.au/manning/pn/g/glenelg2.htm pp15-23
EVENT - Sunday 20th May: Cummins House tour &
Devonshire Tea at 2.00pm Details will be issued closer to the date
EVENT: Sunday 24th
June: Negotiating, but NOT finalised, for a visit to the Police Museum,
Thebarton for a tour & Devonshire Tea.
EVENT: Sunday 29th
July. Mark the date in your diary. TBA - event.
EVENT: Sunday August 26th.
Jetty Hotel @ 4.00pm. Beth Duncan presents second half of her Glenelg History
talk, Glenelg 1868 – c1900.
EVENT: Sunday 23rd
September. Negotiating, but NOT finalised, Tour of West terrace
2018 - we anticipate holding a major event in October. This will be centred on the unveiling of a
plaque to the memory of Mary Thomas and all of the early pioneering women who
helped to establish early South Australia.
More details will be circulated as they become available.
Glanville Tour details:
Lunch at the Grange Hotel at 12
noon. Bookings essential. Please email: email@example.com OR Jo
Cole on 0418 809 763
Sunday 9 April 2018. Directions - travel along Seaview road to Jetty Street,
Grange, Turn left. The Hotel is on the
northern side of the Esplanade & Jetty Street, 489 Esplanade, Grange.
Glanville: Continue along Military Road to Fort Glanville, cnr Bower Road and
Military road. Tour will commence at 2.30pm
and the Fort closes at 4pm.
Members are encouraged to think about taking an
active part in the GHS Committee. The Executive meets at the Jetty Hotel on the
first Tuesday of the month at 7pm. If
you are interested, please contact Jo Cole or Bronwyn Schoen and let them know
you would like to attend so that we can confirm the meeting date and greet you
before the meeting starts.
We hope you have enjoyed 2018’s events
so far and we look forward to your continued active participation in the Society.
With best wishes to all GHS members.
Peter Alexander, President