RUNNING THE GAMUT of Adelaide and
South Australian culture 
from A to Z

 

ADELAIDEAZ connects vertical and horizontal threads of Adelaide and South Australian culture in the context of past, present, future. It explores how Adelaide, as capital of South Australia, has so many extraordinary, often exceptional, patterns through the tapestry of its A-to-Z categories. 

ADDING ADELAIDEAZ –  plus identities, innovations, incidents, idiosyncracies, ideologies, issues – to the stories of its zeitgeists

READ THESE ARTICLES AND MORE IN THEIR A-TO-Z CONTEXT
of Adelaide/South Australian categories – and their connections 

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Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 male choir survives tough times to be one of Australia's oldest

Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 is the oldest continuing choir in South Australia, oldest continuing male choir in Australia and close to oldest choir of any type in Australia. An Adelaider Liedertafel formed in 1850-51 under the conductor Carl Linger, composer of “Song of Australia”, rehearsing in Wiener-Fischer's cafe in Rundle Street until disbanded 1855 when Robert Wiener and George Fischer left to operate Tanunda Hotel. It merged with a choir rehearsing in Hotel Europe, also under Linger. Deutsche Liedertafel, founded at Hotel Hamburg in 1848-49, joined Adelaider Liedertafel in 1858, with Linger conductor (until he died in 1862) and J.W. Schierenbeck as president. In 1878, at the choir’s inspiring 20th anniversary concert in Adelaide Town Hall, it presented its first songs in English. High point of its popularity was the 50th anniversary concert in 1908 on the exhibition grounds, North Terrace. Guest choirs were Adelaide Orpheus Society, Adelaide Choral Society, Adelaide Bach Society, Port Adelaide Orpheus Society, Adelaide Glee Club and Broken Hill Quartette Club. The state governor spoke of the immense value of German immigration. Five years later, with World War I, concerts stopped. Again, with World War II in 1939, many members were interned, though singing continued. Friends in Tanunda hid sheet music and its 1860 banner donated by J.F.M. Armbrüster. In 1945, Hermann Homburg started rebuilding the choir with eight members and Emil Metz conducting. In 1978, it received the Zelter plaque from the Federal Republic of Germany government for contribution to German song.

Tanunda Kegel Club rolls out South Australian German tradition from 1858 in Barossa Valley

Tanunda Kegel Club, claiming to be the southern hemisphere’s oldest sporting club, has its origins with a kegelbahn or skittles alley built in 1858 in Paul Fischer's Tanunda tea gardens in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. A precursor to tenpin bowling — kegel or kegeln (German for “skittle”) – was played by the valley’s early Silesian settlers. Tanunda’s is the only surviving kegelbahn of other Australian towns with German population. The kegeln scoring system is complex. Based on traditional German nine-pin bowling and closely related to skittles and tenpin bowling, the game’s object is to knock down nine pins. Leaving only the front pin (kegel) of the nine pins standing scores 60 points. In 1931, Tanunda kegelbahn was dismantled and reassembled at the showgrounds in wooden kegel barn style, with its narrow 38-metre alley that can be affected by soil dampness underneath, adding to its challenges. Some of original pins and wooden balls. Unlike modern kegel clubs in Germany, a pinsetter is still required to reset pins after each roll and send the balls back down. Tanunda kegel competitions were social events, mostly on Sunday afternoons, with coffee and German cakes. League competitions now are on Thursday and Friday with the venue available for hire on weekends. Women weren’t allowed to play until the 1970s but now have their own competition. Tenpin bowling is a much more recent in Australia. The first tenpin alley in Sydney in 1937 didn’t take off and it wasn't until 1960 that tenpin became popular, when an eight-lane manually-operated centre was built at the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg.

Tanunda Kegel Club rolls out South Australian German tradition from 1858 in Barossa Valley

Tanunda Kegel Club, claiming to be the southern hemisphere’s oldest sporting club, has its origins with a kegelbahn or skittles alley built in 1858 in Paul Fischer's Tanunda tea gardens in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. A precursor to tenpin bowling — kegel or kegeln (German for “skittle”) – was played by the valley’s early Silesian settlers. Tanunda’s is the only surviving kegelbahn of other Australian towns with German population. The kegeln scoring system is complex. Based on traditional German nine-pin bowling and closely related to skittles and tenpin bowling, the game’s object is to knock down nine pins. Leaving only the front pin (kegel) of the nine pins standing scores 60 points. In 1931, Tanunda kegelbahn was dismantled and reassembled at the showgrounds in wooden kegel barn style, with its narrow 38-metre alley that can be affected by soil dampness underneath, adding to its challenges. Some of original pins and wooden balls. Unlike modern kegel clubs in Germany, a pinsetter is still required to reset pins after each roll and send the balls back down. The bowling competitions were social events, mostly on Sunday afternoons, with coffee and German cakes. League competitions are on Thursday and Friday nights with the venue available for hire on weekends. Women weren’t allowed to play until the 1970s but now have their own competition. Tenpin bowling is a much more recent in Australia. The first tenpin alley in Sydney in 1937 didn’t take off and it wasn't until 1960 that tenpin became popular, when an eight-lane manually-operated centre was built at the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg.

Albert Mümme, Adelaide violinist, singer, teacher and patriotic composer around pre-war 1900s

Albert Mümme, a prolific Adelaide music teacher, was another German-heritage South Australian composer to display overt patriotism – forgotten during the anti-German World War I backlash. During fundraising for the South African War (1899-1902), Mümme’s song “For the Flag” was popular at 1000-voice concerts by public and private schools in the exhibition building. He also wrote and performed “The Royal Salute” for the Duke of York’s visit and arranged and conducted orchestral works for services at St Peter's and St Francis Xavier's cathedrals celebrating the coronations of Edwards VII and George V. Born in Adelaide in 1868 to a German immigrant Heinrich Gustav Friedrich Mümme and Emily (nee Clisby), Mümme had an uncle Carl who was an tenor in the Liedertafel choir (conductor 1886-91) and St Francis Xavier's Cathedral choirmaster. His grandfather Redford Clisby opened Adelaide's first musical instrument warehouse. At the German School in Wakefield Street, Adelaide, Mümme learnt music from six and later studied with Italian teachers: piano and harmony under Signor Giorza and singing under Faustino Ziliani. He added violin under Francesco Gargaro and bowing under Raffaele Squarise. At 14, he composed with music to D. H. Bottrill's “Haven of Love", bought by Glasgow publishers Kerr and Co. At 17, he was violinist and pianist at the Theatre Royal under Squarise. He played in many Adelaide orchestras and ensembles. He combined with Ziliani and Signor as a popular vocal trio. He also became well known with his music school and teaching at public and private schools. 

Albert Mümme, Adelaide violinist, singer, teacher and patriotic composer around pre-war 1900s

Albert Mümme, a prolific Adelaide music teacher, was another German-heritage South Australian composer to display overt patriotism – forgotten during the anti-German World War I backlash. During fundraising for the South African War (1899-1902), Mümme’s song “For the Flag” was popular at 1000-voice concerts by public and private schools in the exhibition building. He also wrote and performed “The Royal Salute” for the Duke of York’s visit and arranged and conducted orchestral works for services at St Peter's and St Francis Xavier's cathedrals celebrating the coronations of Edwards VII and George V. Born in Adelaide in 1868 to a German immigrant Heinrich Gustav Friedrich Mümme and Emily (nee Clisby), Mümme had an uncle Carl who was an tenor in the Liedertafel choir (conductor 1886-91) and St Francis Xavier's Cathedral choirmaster. His grandfather Redford Clisby opened Adelaide's first musical instrument warehouse. At the German School in Wakefield Street, Adelaide, Mümme learnt music from six and later studied with Italian teachers: piano and harmony under Signor Giorza and singing under Faustino Ziliani. He added violin under Francesco Gargaro and bowing under Raffaele Squarise. At 14, he composed with music to D. H. Bottrill's “Haven of Love", bought by Glasgow publishers Kerr and Co. At 17, he was violinist and pianist at the Theatre Royal under Squarise. He played in many Adelaide orchestras and ensembles. He combined with Ziliani and Signor as a popular vocal trio. He also became well known with his music school and teaching at public and private schools. 

South Australian nature zones declared as parks, reserves and areas for wilderness protection

Recreation parks, regional, conservation, native forest reserves and wilderness protection areas are different nature areas declared by the South Australian government, beside national parks and conservation parks. Recreation parks, for the public to enjoy in a natural setting, in 2018 were Anstey Hill, Blackwood Forest, Brownhill Creek, Caratoola, Coobler Creek, Granite Island, Greenhill, Long Island, O’Halloran Hill, Onkaparinga River, Shepherds Hill, Sturt Gorge and Totness. Regional reserves conserve wildlife or natural or historical features while allowing responsible use of the areas’ natural resources. As of 2018, regional reserves were Chowilla, Innamincka, Lake Frome, Nullarbor, Munga-Thirri- Simpson Desert, Stzelecki and Yellabinna. Conservation reserves, for natural and cultural features, were at 2018: Bernouilli, Buckleboo, Bunbury, Bunkers, Cortlinye, Cox Scrub, Cunyarie, Desert Camp, Hardings Springs, Lacroma, Moongi, Moortra, Pinkawillinie Reservoir, Poolgarra and Tola. The Forestry Act 1950 allowed reserves to conserve, develop and manage land for native flora and fauna, run by the South Australian Forestry Corporation (ForestrySA), a state government business. As of 2014, native forest reserves in the southern Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges and Limestone Coast included Bagdad, Cudlee Creek, Dry Creek, Glencoe Hill, Grundy Lane, Kangaroo Flat, Kersbrook, Mount Benson and Nangwarry. Wilderness protection areas, to restore land to pre-colony condition, included from 2018: Billiatt, Cape Bouguer, Cape Torrens, Danggali and Memory Cove.

 

Woodroofe's Lemonade survives sale of South Australian company to remain 'still best made'

Generations of South Australian mothers gave their sick children boiled Woodroofe’s lemonade under medical advice. Generations of South Australian mothers gave their sick children boiled Woodroofe’s lemonade under medical advice. Woodroofe’s (or Woodies) was started by William Woodroofe and Bruce Randall as a soft drink business in 1878 in Norwood. The factory drew water from a natural spring. Woodroofe’s innovative products and marketing brought it success as a regional independent soft drink producer for more than a century. The most popular flavour was, and continues to be, lemonade. In the 1970s, the growth of national producers and increasing popularity of international brands (particularly Coca-Cola) gave Woodroofe increasing challenges. The business was family owned until it was bought by Adelaide businessmen Michael Harbison and Tim Hartley. They reinvigorated the business, including new flavours, such as fruit- flavoured mineral water. In 1983, Harbison and Hartley floated the business on the Adelaide Stock Exchange. South Australian Brewing bought its soft drink manufacturing and onsold the business to Cadbury Schweppes, who closed the historic Norwood factory and moved production to their plant at Payneham. In 2009, Schweppes was bought by Japanese beer company Asahi. Asahi/Schweppes closed the Payneham operations in 2016 and shifted production to Melbourne and Perth but Woodroofe drinks were still marketed in South Australia. Most popular is lemonade, advertised for many years with the jingle: “Still the best lemonade made”. 

Johnny Haysman raised to Adelaide icon as an unashamed individual in undress and dance

Adelaide’s Johnny Haysman has been ranked among the world’s best-known local characters, and elevated to South Australian icon status, for his fearless individualism and defiance of convention. The tall Aboriginal Clare-born wineries worker was a traffic stopper for many years in Adelaide city from the late 20th Century with his displays of unashamed expression. These most notably included daily promenades up and down the city’s main retail strip, Rundle Mall, in a white leotard or mankini and koala-shaped backpack. His extensive secondhand opshop fashion sense also was famous for mismatched plains and stripes or a white jacket with black bicycle pants or football shorts. In summer, Haysman, with his sparse-but-bushy hair, would strip down to Speedo bathers and white gumboots in warm weather. This was often his choice for parading, without flinching under a shower of plastic beer cups, in front of a packed rowdy crowd on the scoreboard hill at an Adelaide Test cricket match. His walks also were spiced by spontaneous outbreaks of dance: “I love to dance. It connects body and soul”. In 2015, Haysman appeared on a national Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Australians on Porn program, dancing in a pink mankini in front of his computer webcam. He described, as a self-confessed 46-year-old virgin, how he spent up to $300 a week webcamming with a porn star to express his sexuality. Haysman also was featured on ABC television The Mix enterntainment arts program. A Johnny Haysman Appreciation Society was also formed through Facebook. 

State government takes over running South Australia's national parks (now 22) in 1972

The South Australian government's National Parks and Wildlife Service was founded in 1972 to manage protected nature areas previously controlled by various agencies within government. The state government’s 1972 takeover of managing Belair and Flinders Chase national parks and about 30 other reserves saw a push for the National Parks and Wildlife Service to be more involved in preserving bushland habitat in rural South Australia. But the National Parks and Wildlife Service had name changes and was even disbanded while a division of the state environment, land management and planning departments. In 2018, services originally provided by the National Parks and Wildlife Service were handled by the environment and water department as National Parks South Australia. New areas continue to be added to parks and reserves within national framework. Protected areas in South Australia in 2019 exceeded 335, totalling 21 million hectares – more than 21% of the state. These comprise 22 national parks, 270 conservation parks, 13 recreation parks, 10 game reserves, seven regional (multi-use) reserves and 51 conservation reserves. South Australia's national parks in 2018 were Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, Belair, Canunda, Coffin Bay, Coorong, Flinders Chase, Ikara-Flinders Ranges, Gawler Ranges, Great Australian Bight Marine, Innes, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, Lake Gairdner, Lake Torrens, Lincoln, Malkumba-Coongie, Mount Remarkable, Murray River, Naracoorte Caves, Onkparinga River, Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges and Witjira.

 

First sightings of the southern brown bandicoot since South Australia's 1986 fires

The southern brown bandicoot, the only one remaining of South Australia’s eight bandicoot species, was feared lost before being photographed in 2018 in Kuitpo Forest near Kangarilla on the Fleurieu Peninsula and seen at Crafers in the Adelaide Hills. These were first sightings of the bandicoot since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 that killed 14 people in the Adelaide Hills and 14 in the state’s south-east. But, with other evidence pointing to a bandicoot return, in 2016, volunteers began creating a wildlife corridor for them across 19 properties between Belair National Park and Mark Oliphant Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills. Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources management board has been encouraging Adelaide Hills homeowners generally to make their gardens more bandicoot friendly with native understorey and shrubs. Of 20,000 hectares of state forest in the region, nearly one third is for conserving biodiversity. Before European settlement, mammals in the Adelaide Hills included the platypus, eastern quoll, two phascogale species, greater bilby and burrowing bettong. It still has the echidna, an antechinus, two dunnart species, a bandicoot, wombat, three possums, two kangaroos, three rats and 14 types of bats. Of these, seven are threatened at state or national level and another threatened in the Hills. European colonisation favoured others. The common brushtail possum fits into urban settings and the western pygmy possum survives. Koalas, brought from the eastern states to save the species, thrived. The western grey kangaroo also has adapted well.

Little penguins' fragile recovery on South Australia's Granite Island faces night hit

Little penguins on Granite Island, off Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, had their fragile recovery from going extinct threatened in 2019. Experts were calling for the South Australian nature reserve and tourist attraction to be closed to the public at night to protect little penguins from dogs, people shining bright lights into burrows and trampling nest habitats.  The penguins declined rapidly on Fleurieu Peninsula from 2000. Their numbers also have dwindled on Kangaroo Island. But, for the first time in nearly two decades, numbers on Granite Island has almost doubled from 20 in 2012 to 44 birds in 2018. Little penguins are the smallest penguin species and are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand. Unlike on Penguin Island in Western Australia and on Tasmania's north coast, where access to the little penguins is controlled, Granite Island is open from Victor Harbor along a 600-metre wooden causeway, operating for 150 years. This ageing causeway was also due to be replaced from 2019 – another reason for concern about the effect on the penguins. While signs on the causeway prohibiti people from riding bikes and taking dogs to the island, there are no signs at the entrance mentioning little penguins or warning against using bright lights or how best to protect the birds. Stephen Hedges, who has run penguin tours on Granite Island for more than 20 years and monitored the birds as a citizen scientist for seven years, there could be a decline in little penguin numbers very quickly if more wasn't done to protect them. The penguins only had two offspring a year and only if conditions were perfect.

Conservation parks top protected areas for South Australia's wildlife/nature/history

Two hundred and eighty conservation parks dominate South Australia’s 359 declared protected areas, covering 211,387km2 or 21.5% of the state. Conservation parks protect wildlife or natural and historic features. In 2018, they included Aberdour, Acraman Creek, Aldinga Scrub, Althorpe Islands, Angove, Avoid Bay Islands, Baird Bay Islands, Bakara, Bandon, Bangham, Barwell, Bascombe Well, Baudin, Baudin Rocks, Beachport, Beatrice Islet, Belt Hill, Beyeria, Big Heath, Billiatt, Bimbowrie, Bird Islands, Black Hill, Black Rock, Boondina, Breakaways, Brookfield, Bullock Hill, Busby Islet, Butchers Gap, Calectasia, Calpatanna Waterhole, Cap Island, Cape Blanche, Cape Gantheaume, Cape Willoughby, Caralue Bluff, Crappee Hil, Carcuma, Caroona Creek, Carribie, Chadinga, Charleston, Christmas Rocks, Cleland, Clements Gap, Clinton, Cocata, Coolton, Corrobinnie Hill, Cox Scrub, Cromer, Cudlee Creek, Custon, Cygnet Estuary, Danggli, Darke Range, Deep Creek, Desert Camp, Dingley Dell, Douglas Point, Dudley, Eba Island, Ediacara, Elliott Price, Eric Bonython, Ettrick, Eurilla, Ewens Ponds, Fairview, Ferguson, Ferries-McDonald, Finniss, Fort Glanville, Fowlers Bay, Franklin Harbor, Furner, Gambier Islands,  Gawler Ranges, Geegeela, Giles, Glen Roy, Goose Island, Gower, Grass Tree, Greenly Island, Guichen Bay, Gun Lagoon, Gum Tree Gully, Hacks Lagoon, Hale, Hallett Cove, Hanson Scrub, Heggaton, Hesperilla, Hincks, Hogwash Bend, Hopkins Creek, Horsnell Gully, Ironstone Hill, Kaiserstuhl, Kapunda Island, Karte, Kathai, Kellidie Bay, Kelly Hill, Kelvin Powrie, Kenneth Stirling, Kinchina ...

Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 male choir survives tough times to be one of Australia's oldest

Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 is the oldest continuing choir in South Australia, oldest continuing male choir in Australia and close to oldest choir of any type in Australia. An Adelaider Liedertafel formed in 1850-51 under the conductor Carl Linger, composer of “Song of Australia”, rehearsing in Wiener-Fischer's cafe in Rundle Street until disbanded 1855 when Robert Wiener and George Fischer left to operate Tanunda Hotel. It merged with a choir rehearsing in Hotel Europe, also under Linger. Deutsche Liedertafel, founded at Hotel Hamburg in 1848-49, joined Adelaider Liedertafel in 1858, with Linger conductor (until he died in 1862) and J.W. Schierenbeck as president. In 1878, at the choir’s inspiring 20th anniversary concert in Adelaide Town Hall, it presented its first songs in English. High point of its popularity was the 50th anniversary concert in 1908 on the exhibition grounds, North Terrace. Guest choirs were Adelaide Orpheus Society, Adelaide Choral Society, Adelaide Bach Society, Port Adelaide Orpheus Society, Adelaide Glee Club and Broken Hill Quartette Club. The state governor spoke of the immense value of German immigration. Five years later, with World War I, concerts stopped. Again, with World War II in 1939, many members were interned, though singing continued. Friends in Tanunda hid sheet music and its 1860 banner donated by J.F.M. Armbrüster. In 1945, Hermann Homburg started rebuilding the choir with eight members and Emil Metz conducting. In 1978, it received the Zelter plaque from the Federal Republic of Germany government for contribution to German song.

Bool Lagoon in disputed role as hunting reserve and conservation area on international listing

Bool Lagoon on South Australia’s Limestone Coast has been the most disputed of the state’s game reserves set aside for conserving wildlife and managed seasonal game hunting. Bool Lagoon, south of Naracoorte, was simultaneously declared in 1967 a game reserve and a fauna conservation reserve. In 1972, Bool Lagoon Game Reserve was recognised under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Both the game reserve and adjoining Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park were added in 1985, as Bool and Hacks Lagoons, to the list of wetlands of international importance maintained by the Ramsar Convention. While Bool Lagoon is officially a game reserve, in dry years it attracts many species of waterbirds, making it a frequent focus of clashes between duck hunters and animal rights activists. Hacks Lagoon is also a refuge for around 150 bird species, many of them migrating from the northern hemisphere. There are a boardwalks and bird hides at both lagoons for birdwatching. Another ecological issue is that a lot of lead shot was used by hunters in the past. In recent times, only steel shot has been allowed. Mosquito Creek flows into Hacks Lagoon, and any overflow flows into Bool Lagoon. Mosquito Creek used to continue out of Hacks Lagoon to spread out on plains near Naracoorte but is now blocked and excess water is directed through a drain from Bool Lagoon to the coast near Beachport. As of 2018, other South Australian game reserves were: Bucks Lake, Chowilla, Currency Creek, Loch Luna, Lake Robe, Moorook, Mud Islands, Poocher Swamp and Tolderol. 

House mice plagues a regular threat for the rural grain-growing areas of South Australia

Plagues of the introduced house mice – as distinct from native rodents or marsupial mice – have broken out or threatened in South Australian grain-growing regions around every four years from the 20th Century. One of the earliest plagues recorded was in 1872 near Saddlesworth, with farmers ploughing the soil to destroy mice nests. The mid north, around Oladdie, Mundoora and Georgetown, was hit by a plague in 1890. Parts of South Australia, including Crystal Brook and Balaclava, suffered from one of the largest Australia-wide plagues in 1917, stretching from Queensland to Western Australia. The Advertiser in Adelaide in June 1917 reported on the Crystal Brook mice invasion with “Mr F.G. England … conducting operations under the Harvest Board. (He) began work on the local (wheat) stacks on Wednesday with his double-fence trap. On the first night of operations with only part of the stack fenced, Mr England succeeded in bagging 15,400 (mice), and this morning, with the stack fenced all round, 60,000 were caught”. The two catches weighed a ton and a quarter.  Plagues of mice have been occurring ever since with increasing frequency. Loxton (1931) and Eyre Peninsula (1956) have been problem areas but other parts of the state were affected in 1994 and 2011. The federal government agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) conducts national monitoring for mice outbreaks. The Pest Smart website has information on mouse activity across Australia. Poison baiting of mice with registered products is allowed by farmers. 

Adelaide polymath J.B. Cleland giant collector/ researcher into fungi, birds, flora and fauna

J.B. (John Burton) Cleland’s botanical and naturalist studies have been called as important as his major contributions to Australian pathology and medicine. The first Marks professor of pathology (and bacteriology) at Adelaide University from 1920, he begin a study of more than 7000 meticulous autopsies. Norwood-born Cleland’s return to Adelaide revived his interest started as a boy with a gift from his doctor/father: M.C. Cooke’s Handbook of Australian Fungi (1892). In 1934-35, Cleland published two volumes on the larger fungi of South Australia –the only general Australian work on the subject. He also wrote papers on local vascular plants and presented nearly 30,000 plants to the South Australian Herbarium. His collecting included nearly 60 plant species new to science, described by John McConnell Black (strongly support by Cleland) and others. Ornithology was another of Cleland’s major interests. He donated nearly 1000 birdskins to Gregory Mathews’s book, The Birds of Australia (1910-1927). Wildlife conservation later absorbed Cleland. He was a commissioner of Belair national park in 1928 and chairman 1936-65. He chaired in 1922-68 the flora and fauna handbooks committee of South Australia that produced descriptive biological manuals. They provided unparalleled work on local, and Australian, flora and fauna. Cleland's biological collecting resulted in about 40 species or subspecies among fungi, vascular plants and animals being named after him, as well as a new genus clelandia in the plant and animal worlds. Cleland Conservation Park was named after him.

Samuel (Bert) White's expeditions build full picture of South Australian birdlife

Samuel Albert (Bert) White's outstanding achievement was an ornithological survey of the whole of South Australia and much of the Northern Territory. He was the first European to see several bird species. He was central to getting national parks declared in South Australia and a noted spokesman on insects, birds and botany. He became friends with the Aboriginal people of central Australia and defended them publicly. Born in 1870 at Reedbeds (Fulham), Adelaide, White was the son of Samuel, another wealthy but luckless ornithologist. From 16, Samuel made his first big birdwatching trips, along the Murray River and to Western Australia. He inherited money and income from rents and agistment fees. He had two tours of duty to the South African War (1899-1902), temporarily promoted captain, a title he kept. For The Birds of Australia (London, 1910-27) with Gregory Mathews, White mounted major collecting expeditions, often with his wife. He travelled with camels to Alice Springs and beyond (1913), with a government team to the Musgrave and Everard ranges (1914) and South Australian Museum’s expedition to Cooper Creek (1916). He went to the Nullarbor Plains (1917-18) with Edgeworth David and Adelaide University professor Walter Howchin to Finke River (1921). In 1922, he led the adventure from Adelaide to Darwin and back, using three Dort cars supplied and serviced by Adelaide mechanics Cyril and Murray Aunger. White addressed meetings, schools and government seminars, attracting big attendances and known across Australia. He wrote articles and booklets about his journeys.

Arid Recovery zone near Roxby Downs in South Australia's north looks at feral/native clash

Arid Recovery is a conservation research zone in the South Australia’s far north, near Rosby Down. It began in 1997 when Katherine Moseby and John Read lobbied for support to create a rabbit-free reserve for research and to restore its eco system. Starting with a 14km² fenced area where rabbits, cats and foxes were eradicated, the reserve is now 123km2, with four native species – greater stick nest rat, burrowing bettong, greater bilby and western barred bandicoot – successfully reintroduced. Arid Recovery is a partnership of BHP Billiton, the South Australian government’s environment department, Adelaide University and the Friends of Arid Recovery. All four contribute funding and in-kind voluntary help. Feral predators are the research priority for Arid Recovery’s mission to reintroduce native wildlife to the arid zone. More than 500 monitoring sites document the restoration process including annual pitfall trapping, burrow monitoring, seedling counts, photopoints and spoor counts. Arid Recovery’s fence design has been adopted by many projects in Australia and internationally. Ten years of pitfall trapping show native rodents have increased to 10 times inside the reserve compared to outside areas where cats and foxes are present. (Native quolls, as predators were introduced in 2018, to help control the population of the reserve’s bettongs whose success was impacting vegetation.)  Arid Recovery is on the country of the Kokatha Aborignal people who were involved in building the first feral-proof fences. The reserve works with Kokatha Pastoral and BHP as part of its feral control. 

 

Murray Aunger's tech ability, bravado gets Adelaide expedition to Darwin and back in 1922

Murray Aunger embodied the adventurous spirit with technical flair of early 21st Century South Australian motoring. Aunger was apprenticed to consulting engineers G. E. Fulton & Co. at Kilkenny before joining Vivian Lewis’s cycle works that later worked with Tom O'Grady to build the first petrol-driven car in South Australia. Riding Lewis bicycles, Aunger also was the colony's one-mile champion in 1899 and in 1901 set the Australian record for 50 miles. As a driver and mechanic, Aunger was successful at the second attempt in 1908 with Henry Hampden Dutton to crossi Australia from Adelaide to Darwin in a car. With speed-record attempts between Australia's capital cities receiving wide publicity, in 1909 Aunger accompanied Robert Barr Smith in his Napier to set a new time for the Adelaide-Melbourne journey. They held the record for only a few weeks but Aunger regained it in 1914, driving a Prince Henry Vauxhall with F. Bearsley. They reached more than 80mph on the Coorong pipeclay. They next broke the Adelaide-Broken Hill record in the same car. After leaving Lewis Cycle Works in 1909, Aunger started Murray Aunger Ltd with several car franchises. In 1922, Adelaide naturalist Samuel White used three Dort cars supplied and serviced by Murray Aunger Ltd for an expedition to Darwin and back. Murray Aunger and his brother Cyril were drivers and mechanics for the expedition. The round trip covered 8,800 kilometres in 10 weeks, overcoming sandhills, grass seeds choking the radiators and having the cars submerged at Newcastle Waters.

Henry Dutton/Murray Aunger make first car epic trip from Adelaide to Darwin in 1908

South Australians Henry (Harry) Hampden Dutton and Murray Aunger made the first crossing in a motor car from Adelaide to Darwin in 1908. A keen motorist, Dutton was the wealthy heir to the Anlaby pastoral property near Kapunda, left to him by his “squire” father in 1914. Dutton bought the 20-horsepower Talbot, with a four-speed gearbox, that in 1907 made the first of his two attempts to cross Australia from south to north. His fellow driver and mechanic was Murray Aunger who’d been apprenticed to the Kilkenny workshops of consulting engineers G. E. Fulton & Co before joining Vivian Lewis’s cycle works. They later worked with Tom O'Grady in building the first petrol-driven motorcar in South Australia. The pair left Adelaide on the 2,100 miles (3,380km) journey to Darwin on November 25, 1907. Without roads in central Australia, they battled rivers, sandhills and boulders before the pinion in the Talbot’s differential collapsed in mud south of Tennant Creek and the vehicle had to be abandoned with the wet season coming. Dutton and Aunger returned on horseback to the railhead at Oodnadatta and then to Adelaide. Determined to try again when the rains ended, Dutton bought a larger and more powerful Talbot. With Aunger, he left Adelaide in June 1908. At Alice Springs, telegraph office Ern Allchurch joined the team. They reached Tennant Creek in 30 days. The first stranded Talbot was repaired, driven in convoy to Pine Creek and taken by train to Darwin. Continuing by the second car, they arrived in Darwin on August 20. The second Talbot is in South Australia’s national motor museum at Birdwood.

Ngarrindjeri creation story among South Australian Aboriginal natural knowledge base

Prolific flowering of tea trees (Leptospermum spp.) on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula indicated the arrival of many fish, prompting the Narangga Aboriginal people to plan initiation ceremonies during abundant food supply. Such links to daily life were part a belief system developed by Aboriginal (Anangu) culture in South Australia tracked back at least 50,000 years. Aboriginal natural knowledge was seasonal. It was read in the sky. Aboriginal natural knowledge – broad and particular – wasn’t written but passed on in forms of culture such as dance, rock images and creation stories. For example, River Murray (Murrundi) lands and waters are central to the culture and beliefs of Ngarrindjeri traditional owners of South Australia’s lower lakes, Murray mouth and Coorong and along the river as far north as Mannum. The Ngarrindjeri nation has 18 laklinyeris (tribes). Murrundi is regarded as a living body, formed during the creation by Pondi, the giant Murray cod, from where the Darling and Murrundi (Murray) rivers meet. Back then, the River Murray was a small stream and Pondi had nowhere to go. As Ngurunderi chased him in his bark canoe, Pondi ploughed through the land and his huge body and tail created the mighty River Murray. When Ngurunderi and his brother-in-law Nepele caught Pondi at the place where fresh and salt water meet (the Murray mouth), they cut him into many pieces that became the fresh and salt water fish for the Ngarrindjeri. Ngurunderi’s travels created landforms, waterways and life. He gave his people stories, meanings and laws associated with his creations.

J.M. Black's 'Flora of South Australia' an indispensable work in 1920s by gifted amateur

John McConnell Black published The Flora of South Australia, with his own line drawings, in 1922-29, after decades working in South Australian journalism. Born in Scotland, his education included Taunton’s College School (training ground for many natural scientists) and a commercial trade school in Dresden, Germany. He worked in banking before migrating in 1877 to South Australia with his widowed mother, sister and brother. Unable to find bank work in Adelaide, Black in 1878 tried wheat farming in saltbush country at Baroota, where he started his interest in arid-zone flora and Aboriginal languages. In 1883, he returned to the city and joined the Register newspaper, rising to senior reporter, and later editorialist on The Advertiser, also working as a Hansard reporter until 74. A linguist, he often used Arabic, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish (as well as shorthand) in his notebooks and diaries. He published three papers in 1915-20 on Aboriginal vocabularies. A legacy from his mother enabled Black to retire in 1903 and tour South America and Europe. On return, he concentrated on botany, noticing alien weeds, grasses and garden-escape plants near Australian towns were rarely recorded. In 1914, with another legacy from sister Helen, he worked on indigenous flora. The Flora of South Australia, in four parts, included 2,430 species, indigenous and naturalised. Black took on revising his book, aged 84. He worked for 12 years, publishing part 1 in 1943, part 2 in 1948; part 3 was nearing completion at his death. He was widely honoured for his gifted amateur work. 

South Australian police band Australia's first in 1884; high standards set with groups versatility

South Australia’s police force, first in Australia from 1838, was also first to have a band in 1884 after commissioner W. J. Peterswald encouraged the Adelaide Metropolitan Foot Police to form a volunteer brass group. The band was soon setting its high standards, winning brass band contests, under director T.H. Davey, at the exhibition building in 1903. In recess during World War II, the band became full time in 1957 under commissioner Brigadier John McKinna. In 1974, it changed from brass to a military band with woodwind instruments. The band has been acclaimed internationally at military tattoos in Edinburgh, Germany and Switzerland. The band operates on different versatile formats to fit official events or private bookings. These formats include a 35-piece concert and marching band with singers for full concerts, ceremonies, balls and cabarets, street parties and parades. A 22-piece show band is suitable for balls, dances, floor shows and private events. Medium-sizes bands – Dixie band, Kind of Blue, Off the Cuff, Saxes and Rhythm, Sons of Zorro ­– is available for cocktail parties, community groups, private and small events. Smaller combinations include clarinet, French horn, saxophone and trombone quartets, a brass quintet and woodwind quintet. The band also does school performances through its rock patrol for high schools, delivering personal and road-safety messages through rock and pop music, and the school beat bands performing to young children in childcare centres and primary school students to highlight road safety and the message that police are their friends.

John Bonython makes his own mark in 1950s, driving Santos to one of Australia's top 10 firms

John Bonython’s drive was crucial in launching, with school acquaintance Robert Bristowe, South Australian and Northern Territory Oil Search (Santos) Ltd in 1954. As chairman, he led Santos to one of Australia’s largest 10 companies. Bonython was born in 1905 into one of South Australia’s wealthiest and most famous families, with grandfather John Langdon Bonython, proprietor of the Adelaide Advertiser. John Bonython matriculated at St Peter's College at 15 and studied law at King’s College, Cambridge. Exposure to J. M. Keynes and later Friedrich Hayek confirmed his view about capitalism and free enterprise. Bonython was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn, London, but returned to Adelaide in 1929. He expected a newspaper career but his grandfather had just sold his controlling interest in Advertiser Newspapers to Melbourne-based Herald & Weekly Times. Instead, he practised law with Baker, McEwin, Ligertwood & Millhouse. Active in public affairs, he nominated, unsuccessfully, for Liberal Federation preselection for Alexandra in 1929, while a Political Reform League member. He had long directorships of National Mutual Life, Eagle Star Insurance, Argo Investments, Executor Trustee & Agency of South Australia, and Herald and Weekly Times. He became Advertiser Newspapers chairman in 1971. Bonython’s strong desire to make his own mark led to the Santos venture. Port Bonython hydrocarbon plant, near Whyalla, was named in his honour. An annual John Bonython lecture commemorates his support of the Centre for Independent Studies, fostering ideas of free enterprise and capitalism.

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