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Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


18. Transport

Both land and sea transport have been crucial to the development of South Australia. In the early years of the colony shipping was vital to both inter-colonial and international trade, as well as trade and communication between regions within the colony. As land transport developed from camels to trains, trucks and road trains, the principally sea-hugging population became less dependent on shipping and coastal life.

The Commonwealth has been involved in various aspects of sea, land and air transportation in South Australia. At Federation in 1901, the Commonwealth was empowered to construct and extend railways in any state, with the state's consent. The Department of Trade and Customs was responsible for sea transport. Over time the functions of land and sea transport have been transferred to multiple agencies.

The construction of the Trans-Australian Railway, maintenance and administration of lighthouses, registration of ships and crew, and regulation of coastal traffic during wartime are examples of the ways in which the Commonwealth has participated in the development of transport in South Australia.

The Archives' Commonwealth railway records constitute one of the most significant transport collections in South Australia. Records held by the Archives relating to transport include correspondence, photographs, contracts, logbooks, personnel files and reports.

Selected series relating to transport in South Australia
Canberra
Recorded by: Deputy Director of Lighthouses and Navigation/Marine Branch, South Australia
Correspondence files, 'SA' (South Australia), 1924–57 D2014
Correspondence files, 'NSR' (National Security Regulations), 1939–45 D2019
Confidential files, 'MBC' (Marine Branch Confidential), 1939–45 D2114
Wartime financial arrangements between His Majesty's Government and British shipowners, 1940– D2152
Sydney
Recorded by: Deputy Director of Lighthouses and Navigation/Marine Branch, South Australia
Court of Marine Inquiry files, 1942–70 AP815/10
Court of Marine Inquiry files, 1942–70 AP816/1
Canberra
Recorded by: Deputy Director of Lighthouses and Navigation/Marine Branch, South Australia
Court of Marine Inquiry files, 1950–70 D2910
Canberra
Recorded by: Marine Branch/Department of Shipping and Transport/Department of Transport, South Australia
General correspondence files, 'T', 1957–92 D4980
Adelaide
Recorded by: Marine Branch/Department of Shipping and Transport/Department of Transport, South Australia
General correspondence files, 'T', 1957–92 D935
Sydney
Recorded by: Stores and Transport Branch, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1961–76 D5258
Selected items relating to transport in South Australia
Canberra
Copyright application – Crescent Printery – 'Adelaide Tramways Guide', 1915 A1336, 4398
Adelaide
Photograph of truck laden with mail bags bound for Port Adelaide and loading onto ships, 1930 D5440, 2465
Melbourne
East to west road, Adelaide to Perth, 1941 MP508/1, 289/701/356
Adelaide
Map of Adelaide and surrounding districts, showing roads, streets, railways, tram lines and principal hotels and public buildings, plus copyright form, 1899 D4477, 421
Increased fares – application for Municipal Tramways Trust, Adelaide, 1939–47 AP5/1, 1947/1897
Riverina – River Murray vessel, 1963–67 D935, 1963/56

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Chapter 18
Transport