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7 June 1856 Pier Hotel Glenelg

 7 June 1856   Pier Hotel Glenelg    

The foundation stone of the Pier Hotel, Glenelg, was laid by the Mayor, R.B. Colley, on 7 June 1856. After the ceremony the party adjourned to the nearby Glenelg Hotel for a dinner given by Mr Moseley, at which Sir John Morphett toasted the new venture and said he felt that, when the jetty was built, Glenelg would take first position as a holiday place. In the afternoon people gathered on the beach for rowing and sailing races and in the evening workingmen were invited to a substantial supper. The hotel, which cost about £7000, was opened on Christmas Day 1856.

The jetty was opened in 1859. From 1871, when the railway ran from South Terrace to the Bay, Glenelg became an even more popular spot. However, swimming was not allowed as the sight of men bathing 'outraged public decency'. From 1863 women and girls could bathe between midnight and 7 a.m. in summer (8 a.m. at other times) within 200 metres of the jetty. Men and boys over 10 years of age were banned although later this was changed and they were allowed to swim, between Pier Street and a point 200 metres south of the jetty, anytime except between 8 a.m. and dark. By the 1890s it was legal to bathe during the day, but only in reserved, segregated areas. Males in bathing suits could be fined for approaching within ten metres of a member of the opposite sex. Mixed bathing was not permitted until 1911, and even then neck-to-knee bathing suits were required to be worn. However, promenading on the jetty or along the foreshore was the thing to do.

Through all these years the Pier Hotel was the place to stay, and for many years the English Test cricketers stayed there while playing in Adelaide. The building was demolished in the late 1980s and replaced by a new luxury hotel. The Ramada Grand Hotel, said to recreate the best of Victorian era seaside hotels, opened on 5 October 1990.

H.M. Cooper, A Naval History of South Australia, Adelaide, 1950, pp. 83-84.
John Lee, Glenelg A Historic Guide and Directory, 1883.
The Advertiser, 27 December 1993, p. 28.
The Mail, 30 September 1990.

Tags: Glenelg, Pier Hotel Glenelg