Celebrating South Australia


29 November 1839 Port Misery


29 November 1839       Port Misery

T. Horton James wrote in the South Australian Register of 29 November 1839:

The shore is an uninhabitable swamp and the few people who are living in wigwams at Port Adelaide are too busy engaged in landing boards and rolling up casks to take any notice of a party of ladies and gentlemen up to their knees in mud, trying to reach the shore ... This is Port Adelaide! Port Misery would be a better name, for nothing in any other part of the world can surpass it in everything that is wretched and inconvenient ...

Colonel Light had decided on establishing the main harbour in the Port River but instead of making it four miles upstream, as he would have wished, it had to be placed a further two miles upriver because it was nearer firmer ground and closer to Adelaide. But at low tide there was a great expanse of mud and sudden high tides hindered the landing of passengers and goods in flat-bottomed boats as there was no wharf. It is hard to imagine now that the area of West Lakes down to Port Adelaide was for years a mosquito-ridden swamp with Port Misery as the first introduction into South Australia for many immigrants.

Susan Marsden, A History of Woodville, 1977, pp.13-4.