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14 October 1840 Port Road

 14 October 1840        Port Road

On 14 October 1840 a great procession of people, said to number 5000, travelled down the new road to Port Adelaide. Some 450 vehicles from four-in-hand barouches to bullock teams and donkey carts, as well as 500-600 equestrians made the journey. At the Port a regatta was held and 450 people sat down to a lavish lunch provided in the warehouses of the South Australian Company who had built the road. The manager of the company, David McLaren, had supervised the construction of the road for which road metal was brought from Kangaroo Island in the company’s ships. The new wharf at the Port was named after him. The event was the most spectacular since the Proclamation but was marred somewhat when a howling gale blew up in the afternoon and the visitors had to retreat to Adelaide trough swirling dust. In 1842 the government bought the road from the SA Company for £13,000. For a short time between 1867/70, to great opposition from the public, the road was subject to a toll to try to recoup the £3000 a year maintenance costs, but people took alternative routes and thus defeated the object of the exercise and the toll bars were removed. The road surveyed at the time was the ‘down’ track and consequently all the hotels were built on that side of the road.

Susan Marsden, History of Woodville, 1977, pp.17, 67-9.

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