Outside Adelaide city centre, the best known area is Glenelg, to which the one remaining city tram service operates. Glenelg has its own history, and was the first place in the Adelaide area to be settled. The Pioneer Memorial was erected in 1936 to mark the centenary of the town.
It is fourteen metres high and commemorates the founding of Glenelg and the pioneers of the early settlement. The names of the founders of South Australia are engraved on the stone and there is a model of the H.M.S. Buffalo which brought them to this state. Further ahead is the Glenelg Jetty, originally built in 1859. A wooden lighthouse at the end was burnt down, and then, in 1948, a storm destroyed the jetty. Eventually it was rebuilt in 1969.
On the north side of the square are imposing municipal buildings. Starting at the east (right), there is the Post Office. The first Post Office was built here in 1859 as Glenelg's first Telegraph Station, with postal services being introduced in 1868. The present building, though, dates from 1912. Next, to the left, is the Courthouse, built in 1933 on the site of the original Police Station which was constructed here in 1865. There is a former cell for prisoners from the old building which still survives at the rear. Then, further left still, you see the grand old Glenelg Town Hall, built in 1875. It was originally the Glenelg Institute, which included a library, reading room, concert hall and museum. The Council acquired the premises in 1887.
In the Council Chambers is the Mayoral Chair, made of wood salvaged from H.M.S. Buffalo, the ship which brought the first settlers to South Australia. H.M.S. Buffalo was later shipwrecked off the coast of New Zealand, and at that time the wood for this chair was salvaged.
South Esplanade, Glenelg
South Esplanade in Glenelg runs along the seafront south from Jetty Road. It contains several impressive buildings. Seafield Tower, at no. 2, is a famous house because it was built for two well-known South Australians: Sir Thomas Elder and Sir Henry Ayers. Sir Henry Ayers also owned Ayers House in North Terrace, Adelaide.
He was premier of the state five times, although always briefly, and he has achieved immortality through the naming by Gosse of Ayers Rock in his honour. This house was used for weekend parties, with the added attraction of the yacht races which could be viewed from the balcony. Later in its life, it was used as flats and as accommodation for Commonwealth Railways employees. At 14, South Esplanade is Stormont, built in 1886 and another fine building. Then at no. 16 is a splendid twenty-room, three-storey home, built in 1878. It includes a ballroom, added a little later, and was at one time the Oriental Hotel.
As if one of these two mansions were not sufficient, at the end of the nineteenth century they were both owned by the same man. Glenara, at 32, South Esplanade, is a most impressive building which you can hardly miss. It gives the impression of being an impregnable fort. It was built in 1873 for the owner of a flour mill. It is heritage listed and has an Italianate appearance, with a central tower surmounted by a flagpole. The garden has European trees and plants grown, it is said, from seeds imported from Lebanon.
Click here for a Glenelg Map.