2011 March 15 & 16 – Days 69 & 70- Adelaide, Australia

We lazed in our room until almost noon and then walked down to the South Australia Museum.  We didn’t come out again until it closed over four hours later. In 2009 on the World Cruise the ship stopped at Adelaide and part of our shore excursion was a trip to the South Australia Museum.  We were running late by the time we arrived at the Botanic Garden which was the first part of the tour, and the guide there dawdled and yakked about every tree and bush in the place. This put us even further behind so we had a very, very limited time to see the museum and basically ended up doing a walk-through of one gallery.  I was very happy to have another chance to do the exhibits some justice.  Great museum; and even in four hours we did not see it all.  Close, but not quite.

The South Australia museum has the largest collection of aboriginal artifacts in the world, plus a large collection from most of the South Pacific Islands and, surprisingly, a small Egyptian display.

One of the security guards kept seeing us on the different floors and looking at the different exhibits.  He chatted a bit on his rounds and was very pleased to see folks take their time in the museum; so often he said, people just walk past the display cases and don’t really look at what is inside.  That is my problem.  I never seem to have enough time in a museum. There was a Woolworth’s Store on Rundell Street and we found some sweet and sour chicken (which was terrible) and a Ceasar salad for our dinner, then spent the evening backing up photos, checking the Visa statement and paying bills before heading off to bed.

Our second day in Adelaide was a repeat of the first.  We slept in, lingered over breakfast, read our books and finally walked back to the South Australia Museum to tour the Migration and Settlement Museum next door.  The museum tells the stories of the thousands of people who left everything behind to start a new life in South Australia.  The progression of immigration from the colonization era to the present day was on display.  There were no photos allowed in this one so no pics.  Sorry. In the back courtyard there was a nice reflection of the Migration Museum in the windows of the main South Australia Museum. Australia today is a very multi-ethnic country but that was not always the case.  Until the mid-1950s the only people welcome in Australia were white Europeans; primarily British.  The official government policy was inclusive and open but the government created a literacy test of 46 questions that had to be answered by anyone wanting to emigrate.  The trick they used was to have the test printed in lots of different languages, so if you were a person they didn’t want (suffragette, Irish Catholic, Arabian, or even a fluently speaking Chinese doctor) you would be handed the questions in Norwegian or Gaelic or Hebrew or some language the officials were sure you would not know so you would fail the test and could be ‘legitimately’ excluded.  Sneaky, but effective at the time, I guess.

The Ayers House is one of the best examples of colonial Regency architecture in Australia.  It was owned by Sir Henry Ayers, a former Premier of South Australian, and an influencial businessman.  When we finished touring the Migration Museum we had intended to walk over to North Terrace and tour it.  But, by the time we left the museum we had very little time before the Ayers House would close for the day so we made another Woolworth’s stop for some dinner supplies and headed back to our apartment.  That was the extent of the excursions that day.

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