Located on Timpson Street just in from the Port River are two memorials to seafarers which were formerly located elsewhere in Port Adelaide – the older Merchant Navy Memorial and the more recent SS Admella Memorial – The Navigator.
Ships made a vital contribution to the development of South Australia as an early colony through the shipment of both cargo and passengers. Prior to the availability and introduction of modern navigational aids more than 340 ships were wrecked along the state’s coast. These memorials are dedicated to the seafarers who lost their lives in the these ships.
The Navigator – in granite, lyten steel, breakwater rocks and timber – is the work of local sculptor Karen Genoff and was first unveiled in 1992, It specifically commemorates the loss of the SS Admella (so named for her circuit Adelaide, Melbourne, Launceston). It was rededicated/ unveiled at its new and current riverside location in a candle light vigil at 5.30am on 5th August 2009 marking the time the ship departed from Port Adelaide on her ill fated voyage 150 years previously.
Loaded with copper bars from nearby Kapunda, a team of racehorses heading to what is now the Melbourne Cup races and 113 passengers and crew the SS Admella left Port Adelaide bound for Port Melbourne on 5th August 1859. On the 6th August it came to grief at Carpenter’s Rocks with the loss of 89 lives making it one of the worst maritime disasters in Australian history.
The Navigator Memorial, I think very well, depicts the disaster. Great and easily understood symbolism here; the ships wheel sticking out of the sea; the smashed compass pieces and the offending Carpenter’s Rocks half exposed – all of which allude to the loss and tragedy. The GPS co-ordinates cited by the black granite slab of the memorial give the precise location at with the Admella was lost.
Behind (landside off) the Navigator Memorial is a simple slab of rock moved from the former Seafarers’ Centre in Nelson Street. This is a merchant navy memorial.
The plaque on the memorial simply states:
“This memorial is dedicated to the merchant seamen who served Australia in times of war and peace.”
Address: Timpson Street
Directions: Just in from the Port River Bank (Queens Wharf)