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15 September 1888 Customs House, Port Adelaide

 15 September 1888 Customs House, Port Adelaide

On 15 September 1888, Edward Holthouse, in an article in The Register entitled ‘Reminiscences of the Old Port 1838-39’ wrote:

On approaching the Port from Adelaide two sandhills had to be crossed which could not be avoided. On the second one, facing the driver, stood an unpretentious weather-boarded little structure on wooden blocks, with a narrow verandah in front reached by steps of some material. This was her majesty’s Customs House.

This was where new arrivals in South Australia, the ladies often carried shore to avoid the mud, had to present themselves. Not a very promising welcome for new settlers. Tenders for a new Customs House were called for in 1839, but it was 1847 before the building, enlarged as it was being constructed, was finished.

Two of the main occupants were the Collector of Customs, Robert Torrens, and the harbour Master, Captain Lipson, who did not see eye to eye on the demarcation o their duties or their allotted accommodation in the building. Tthe grumblings reached Governor Grey who came out in favour of Captain Lipson who retained his larger share of the Customs House.

Edward Holthouse, in South Australiana Volume 20, No. 1, March 1981.

Max Lamshed, Adelaide Sketchbook, Rigby, 1967, p.32.

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