Portraits of Port Adelaide
New SA newspapers in Trove reveal port community history
26 July 2017
The citizens of Port Adelaide now have a stronger presence in Trove, with the addition of five digitised newspaper titles focusing on the region. Support for this digitisation was achieved through a partnership with urban development agency Renewal SA and the State Library of South Australia, bringing the total of South Australian newspapers titles in Trove to 120.
These newly-added titles - Seaport News Review (1954), Port Adelaide District Pictorial (1952-54), The Citizen (1938-40), The Gateway (1946) and The Progressive Times (Largs North 1949-51) span a time of great economic growth and change in Port Adelaide. They also bridge the gap between the demise of the long-running Port Adelaide News in 1933, and the early days of The Messenger from 1951, which was a later of The Progressive Times under a management change. The Messenger was renamed The Portside Messenger in 1984 and continues to the present.
The Gateway to the state
Port Adelaide is South Australia's oldest working port. In the mid-20th century, the region continued its rise as a manufacturing and export hub, covering diverse industries such as sugar and grain production, car manufacturing and ship building. Citizens had a reputation for being business-minded, given their history of industry building. The importance of giving the local community a distinct voice was articulated in the The Gateway's declaration that their name was chosen
to symbolize the fact that our district is the gateway (by sea) to the State, and this fact is becoming more and more significant because of the increased importance of the districts following the establishment of so many new industries. Port Adelaide is now recognized as the third port of the Commonwealth...and together with its enormous industrial growth, has assured it of a prominent place on the map.
Although it was a focus for trade and economic enterprises, the Port River also had its fair share of community and leisure activities. Swimming, rowing and boat racing were the subject of frequent newspaper reports, as were beach carnivals and Christmas festivals. Reports at the time indicated committees planned far in advance for these events, ensuring the attraction of "pleasure-seekers from all parts of the district and doubtless from far afield" (Port Adelaide District Pictorial, 22 January 1953, pg.1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article237082264).
Citizens carry on
The Citizen, in particular, offers an insight into the everyday lives of the Port Adelaide community during the outbreak of WW2.
In 1939, the newspaper stressed the importance of carrying on with community events and other morale-boosting activities, noting that to do otherwise would be "an act of folly to give way to the pessimists" (The Citizen, 31 Oct 1939, pg.1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page25655903). This optimism continued during the years of rationing and hardship to follow, despite the war affecting most facets of everyday life. Even the beloved Port Adelaide Football Club was not immune. The number of SANFL players enlisting in the armed forces shrank the competition from eight teams to four in 1942, bringing about the formation of a combined Port Adelaide and West Torrens team for the next two years.
After the war, some returned ex-servicemen and women found employment in the newspaper trade, comprising the entire staff of the newly-established Gateway in 1946. However, the economic effects of the war years continued to be felt through the rationing of newsprint, which limited the publication to only eight pages.
We hope you're as fascinated as the Trove team have been by our glimpses of mid-20th century South Australian history. If you have any stories or finds from our new Port Adelaide titles, please share them as a comment below.
Interested in partnering with us to digitise newspapers on Trove? Get in touch: (02) 6262 1005 or firstname.lastname@example.org