The European history of South Australia owes much to mariners who transported people and property there over the years, right through from the first settlers in the 1830s. One often hears about Australia’s convict history and how many of European extraction have convict roots. Unlike New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania in particular, South Australia was not a convict colony.
The early settlers of South Australia came here of their own violation with most of them landing in this Port Adelaide/Semaphore area or at nearby Glenelg. The original mainland settlement of South Australia took place at Glenelg in 1836 where a proclamation was read announcing the establishment of the State of South Australia on 28 December 1836. See my separate Glenelg review – The Old Gum Tree for more detail.
The Seafarer’s Memorials in nearby Port Adelaide remind us that prior to the availability and introduction of modern navigational aids more than 340 ships were wrecked along the State’s coast. These Seafarer’s Memorials are dedicated to the seafarers who lost their lives in the these ships.
This memorial at Semaphore differs and is dedicated to sea captains, officers and men of sailing ships that visited Port Adelaide (in the second half of the 19th century) and in particular recalls the captains who lived in Semaphore – their names are recorded on the memorial plaque. These are the people who got through and helped in making the history of the State.
The memorial was unveiled on 30 April 1952 by the Mayor of Port Adelaide – Mr. H. J. Moore. The anchor which forms the main part of the memorial is believed to have been taken from the wreck of the Star of Greece.
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I like find an Irish connection in any place I visit. Well as it happens, the Star of Greece was a three masted steel hulled vessel ship built in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1868. It was wrecked in a violent storm 200m off Port Willunga on the 13th July 1888. The Captain, H R Harrower, aged 29 years was lost along with another 17 of his crew, principally due to a completely botched rescue exercise. Ironically the ship had just started on a return voyage to Belfast laden with wheat when she perished.
Picture four above is a water-colour painting of the wreck of the Star of Greece at Port Willunga, 1888, by George F. Gregory, Jr. from the South Australian Maritime Museum Collection. The Star of Greece’s figurehead can also be seen in the South Australian Maritime Museum in nearby Port Adelaide. Well worth a visit.
The perhaps more visually appealing monument behind the subject of this review in a couple of my pictures and upon which I have written a separate review is the Semaphore War Memorial.
Address: Semaphore Foreshore
Directions: At the end of Semaphore Road (the towns main street) sea side of the more prominent War Memorial.