If you have read my review on Glenelg beach you will be aware of the restrictions put on people (particularly males) bathing on the beach during day light hours in the second half of the 19th century and, when the bathing was eventually permitted during the day, the restrictions on bathing attire that could be worn into the 20th century.
The picture above (from the State Library of South Australia – PRG 280/1/14/601) is a 1912 shot of children and a dog paddling at Glenelg beach – appropriately attired for the year.
No posing on the beach for Glenelg – promenading on the jetty or along the foreshore was the thing to do!
The first jetty on the beach opened on 25 April 1859 and was 381 metres long. The steelwork for the jetty was shipped out from the UK. The jetty was used not only by fishermen but also to accept cargo from ships, including a P&O mail service from the UK between 1874 (six months after the opening of the Adelaide-Glenelg rail service) and 1888 by which time Port Adelaide replaced it as Adelaide’s main port.
In 1872 a wooden lighthouse was built at the end of the jetty. This caught fire in 1872 and was jettisoned into the sea before serious damage was caused to the jetty. In 1874 a new lighthouse was built. Public baths, an aquarium, kiosk, tearooms and even a police shed quickly followed – obviously the place to go in the 1870s and into the 20th century. You can just about make out some of these structures in the 1912 picture attached.
In 1943 the kiosk was destroyed in a storm and the whole jetty was lost to a cyclone in 1948. A new, and the current structure, was completed in 1969.
Though it is only 215 metres long it remains a great spot for a promenade to this day and affords excellent views back to the beach and foreshore – note the line of King Island Pine trees on the foreshore. Just be careful as there is no shade on the jetty so come prepared.
The jetty is also a popular spot for fishermen though I have yet to see anyone actually catch anything.
Address: Glenelg Beach
Directions: At the beach end of Jetty Road