Semaphore, South Australia
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Semaphore is a northwestern suburb of Adelaide in the Australian state of South Australia. It is located on the Gulf St Vincent coastline of the Lefevre Peninsula about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from the Adelaide city centre.
Adelaide, South Australia
|Population||2,764 (2016 census)|
|Location||14 km (9 mi) from CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Port Adelaide Enfield|
|State electorate(s)||Port Adelaide|
Semaphore is bounded to the north by Union and Hargrave Streets, to the south by Hart Street, to the west by Gulf St Vincent and to the east by Woolnough Road and Swan Terrace. Semaphore is primarily a residential suburb, although its seaside location makes it a popular local tourist destination, with numerous restaurants, takeaway food outlets and other tourism-oriented businesses. It is adjacent to Semaphore South, Glanville, Exeter and Largs Bay.
Semaphore was first surveyed for sale in 1849, at which time it was isolated by swamps to the south and the Port River to the east. In 1851, George Coppin, a prominent publican, theatrical entrepreneur and actor, built a two-storeyed timber hotel on the southern corner of The Esplanade and Blackler Street. A very high flagpole was erected to signal to his "White Horse Cellars" hotel at Port Adelaide the approach of ships, earning the area the name Semaphore, often called "The Semaphore".
In 1856, an official government signal station was established at the intersection of The Esplanade and Semaphore Road, where officers would record the details of all vessels in Gulf St Vincent. It was also used to record information on water depth, tides and cargo loading. A Telegraph Office opened in 1856 and became a Post and Telegraph Office in March 1871. In 1875, the Time Ball Tower was erected adjacent to the Signal Station. The area was isolated from Port Adelaide by the Port River until 1859 when a wooden bridge, later replaced by the Jervois Bridge, was opened. The following year saw the construction of the jetty. The majority of early settlers in Semaphore were crewmen of boats.
The Corporate Town of Semaphore was established on 17 January 1884. This centralised the local governance of Semaphore and its surrounds, which formerly had been part of the Lefevre's Peninsula and Glanville councils on the north and south of Semaphore, respectively.
The road link to Port Adelaide allowed for more convenient commuting from Semaphore to the commercial area, and contributed to increased residential development in the area, as well as churches, schools and pubs. This was further augmented by the construction in 1878 of a railway, which attracted affluent holiday-makers to the seaside. Carnivals, sideshows and open air cinemas were opened, and 1917 a tram service from Port Adelaide was built.
In the mid-1930s, the Great Depression brought a decline to Semaphore, with the tram service being closed down and the functions of the Signal Station and Time Ball Tower being moved to Outer Harbor, while the jetty was shortened due to storm damage, with repairs being unaffordable.
The Semaphore jetty, which was completed in 1860, once stood at 652 m (2,150 ft) in length, but today is 585 m (1,930 ft). It overlooks the Fort Glanville steam train, which operates as a heritage item by the National Railway Museum. A World War I memorial clock was built in 1925 at the landward end of the jetty. In 1928, a merry-go-round, the largest in Australia, was constructed, driven by an electrical lift motor and gearbox, unlike the predominantly steam-driven machines of the era. An octagonal brick tower with two metre thick walls was erected in Blackler Street in 1880 to maintain a water supply when the Jervois bridge had to be raised for passing ships. It was in use until 1972 after which it was converted into a residence. The birthplace of Sir Ross Smith, the aviator who flew from the United Kingdom to Australia is preserved to this day, at 36 Newman Street.
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Semaphore's beach is the busiest of those on the LeFevre Peninsula, as it is the most convenient beach to people living in the northern suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide. There are large car parks on the foreshore to accommodate visitors. During weekends of the summer months the beach is patrolled by the Semaphore Surf Life Saving club, with the swimming flags often being placed 50m south of the jetty or outside the club at Point Malcolm (1.5 km south of the jetty).
The beach is wide, with a large amount of wide sand. The surf is low and good for swimming, but surfing is generally not possible. Sandbars extend out a considerable distance, with holes, troughs and channels in the bars creating the major safety hazard on a generally safe beach. Other substantial hazards on the beach are jumping from the jetty (the depth of the water under the jetty varies considerably during the day and between visits) and non-swimmers climbing on the groyne at Semaphore South finding themselves cut off from land by a rising tide.
The jetty is the focus of cultural events such as the annual Kite Festival and Greek Festival.
The local public primary school is LeFevre Primary School in the neighbouring suburb of Birkenhead. The local high school is LeFevre High School in the neighbouring suburb of Semaphore South. The only school located in Semaphore is Dominican Primary School, a private school run by the Catholic Education Office. Another nearby faith-based private school is Portside Christian College in neighbouring Ethelton, a primary and secondary school.
Semaphore is served by the historic Semaphore Library, and Semaphore Road contains a large number of retail stores. Some are aimed at the large number of summer visitors, with a large range of food vendors, clothing boutiques and gift retailers. Semaphore Road was voted the People's Choice Award for best main street in South Australia for 2014.
Odeon Star cinemaEdit
The Odeon Star in Semaphore Road is the oldest purpose-built cinema in Adelaide, having been built by Emmett Bros. and opened on 22 May 1920 as the Wondergraph Picture Palace, with a seating capacity of 1,246 in orchestra and balcony levels. It was re-named Star Theatre in 1930, and after a takeover by Greater Union Cinemas it was renamed to Odeon Cinema from 12 June 1952. With the beginning of the TV era in 1959, attendances declined, and the cinema eventually closed on 13 November 1976 and the building was converted into a furniture shop. It was renovated and reopened the Odeon Star on 19 December 1991, initially with only circle seating, accommodating 320 patrons, while the stalls area continued as "Hoff’s Secondhand Emporium" until 1997. It was once again refurbished in 1997, becoming a three-screen cinema and (seating 300, 150 and 140). It was part of the Wallis Cinemas chain for a while, but as of July 2020[update] is run by independent operators Jacky and Joe Proud.
Semaphore has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 40 Blackler Street: Semaphore Water Tower
- Semaphore Road: Semaphore Soldiers Memorial Clock
- Esplanade: Semaphore Palais 
- 64 Esplanade: Dwelling
- 68 Esplanade: Richard Jagoe's House 
- 74 Esplanade: Semaphore Customs Boarding Station
- 176-186 Military Road: Bute Terrace
- 6 Newman Street: Dwelling
- Semaphore Road: Semaphore Jetty
- Semaphore Road: Semaphore Timeball Tower
- 10-14 Semaphore Road: Semaphore Soldiers Memorial Hall, designed by Christopher Arthur Smith.
- 10-14 Semaphore Road: Semaphore Library
- 15 Semaphore Road: Semaphore Post and Telegraph Office
- 43 Semaphore Road: Warrinilla
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Semaphore is in state and federal electorates that are considered historically "safe" Labor-held seats. This is a reflection of the working class heritage of the nearby docks of Port Adelaide, where the dock workers had a bitter struggle against shipping owners for reasonable terms of employment, wages, and safety. In the 1970s the docks were containerised and moved to Outer Harbor. The resulting unemployment and poverty in Port Adelaide entrenched the political appeal of Labor. Since the 1990s Semaphore has seen an influx of urban professionals, and whilst this diminished the Labor vote it did not increase the Liberal vote proportionally. In recent[when?] years the Labor margin of both seats has diminished due to new and expensive housing in West Lakes, Port Adelaide and New Port (a residential suburb created in 2007 on land once used by maritime facilities).
The 157 and 333 buses have stops on Military Road. The 352 and 353 buses have stops on Semaphore Road.
The Glanville railway station is nearby, with a service to the Adelaide CBD every 30 minutes on weekdays.
On-road cycling lanes are on most major roads, although operation of these is typically limited to peak hours. A separated cycling and walking path runs along the beach's foreshore. Another separated cycling and walking path forms a loop through Semaphore, Ethelton, Port Adelaide and New Port.
Some limited short stay car parking is available along Semaphore Road. Larger long-stay carparks stretch along the foreshore, with access from The Esplanade. Most residential streets have on-street parking available for non-residents, although in the older areas of the suburb many residents park on the street as houses of the pre-car era lack off-street parking.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Semaphore (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
- "Electoral district profiles - Port Adelaide (2018-2022 boundaries)". Electoral Commission SA. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- "Profile of the electoral division of Hindmarsh (SA)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- "Search result for "Semaphore (Suburb)" (Record no. SA0062079) with the following layers selected - "Suburbs and Localities" and " Place names (gazetteer)"". Property Location Browser. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- The Semaphore Hotel South Australian Register Monday 18 August 1851 p.2 accessed 25 June 2011
- Letter to the Editor The Advertiser (Adelaide) Monday 18 December 1933 p.22 accessed 25 June 2011
- Walker, Martin (2004) The Post, Telegraph and Telephone Offices of South Australia and the Northern Territory, p 285. Torrensville, South Australia: published by the author. ISBN 0-9757019-0-8
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Semaphore Port Adelaide RSL > Sub-Branch History Accessed 6 May 2014.
- "Semaphore". Beachsafe. Surf Life Saving Australia. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Semaphore Wondergraph!". Daily Herald. XI (3175 ]). 24 May 1920. p. 6. Retrieved 29 July 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Odeon Star Semaphore in Adelaide, AU". Cinema Treasures. 22 May 1920. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- Contemplari (29 July 2020). "Semaphore Odeon Star Cinema originally Wondergraph Picture Theatre built 1920, South Australia". Flickr. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Contact Us". Odeon Star Semaphore Cinemas. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Dwelling (former Semaphore Water Tower)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Semaphore Soldiers Memorial Clock". SA Heritage Places Database Search. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Semaphore Palais". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Dwelling - Two Storey House". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Dwelling (former home of Richard Jagoe)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Former Semaphore Customs Boarding Station". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Dwelling ('Bute Terrace')". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Dwelling". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Semaphore Jetty". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Semaphore Timeball Tower". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Architect Details: Christopher (Chris) Arthur". Architects of South Australia. University of South Australia. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Semaphore Soldiers Memorial Clock". SA Heritage Places Database Search. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Semaphore Library & Shops (former Semaphore Ozone Cinema, former Semaphore Institute, sometime Town Hall)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Real Estate Agency (former Semaphore Post and Telegraph Office)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Dwelling ('Warrinilla') (previously Dr Bollen's Surgery)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
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