On Monday the 24th of May 1965, Humphrey B. Bear an icon of Australian children’s television was first broadcast on Adelaide’s NWS-9.

The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia. The part of Humphrey was played by Edwin Duryea, an actor, singer and dancer whose human identity was never revealed.  In the early days the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B. Bear as the result of an on air competition.

The ‘B’ in Humphrey B Bear stands for Bear, but this has rarely been acknowledged on air.⁣

On this day …….. 2nd of August 1941

Isodore Skarvelis, a Greek seamen in Adelaide, had sore chest, so he rubbed it with methylated spirits. He them struck a match to light a cigarette and set himself on fire. He ended up in hospital with severe burns.


On this day …….. 27th of July 1836

Kangaroo Island is a protected and unspoilt island off the coast of South Australia. Australia’s third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Islands, it is 112 km southwest of the state capital, Adelaide. The first European to land on the island was Matthew Flinders, doing so in 1802, and it was he who named it, after his starving crew was saved by the abundance of kangaroos they found there. The island narrowly missed becoming a French colony, as Nicolas Baudin arrived shortly after Flinders departed, and named the island L’Isle Decres. From 1803, Kangaroo Island was frequently used as a base by sealers and whalers. Escaped convicts and ship deserters also made the island their home. While farmers and other settlers established themselves on Kangaroo Island from around 1819, these were not official settlements. The South Australia Act, enabling the founding of the colony of South Australia, was passed by British Parliament in 1834. In 1835, Scottish businessman and wealthy landowner, George Fife Angas, formed the South Australian Company to assist settlers to the new colony. The first emigrants bound for South Australia left in February 1836. On the 27th of July 1836, the first of the South Australian Company’s ships, the Duke of York, arrived at Reeves Point on Kangaroo Island’s north coast. The first ‘official’ settler to step foot on the island was two-year-old Elizabeth Beare.


ON THIS DAY – July 15, 1945

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty when Mrs. Ruby Nina Carlos, 56, of Myrtle-street, South Yarra, a widow, was charged with the murder of Corporal Vera Matilda Wiper. W.A.A.A.F., 23, of Adelaide. A previous jury had failed to agree on the verdict. Corporal Wiper’s body, was found in Burgess-street, Hawthorn, on July 15. A post-mortem examination revealed that death was due to shock, following an attempted illegal operation. The jury, in reply to questions, said they agreed the accused woman had used an instrument on the girl to procure miscarriage, but they did not believe death had resulted from this action. Mr. Justice Gavin Duffy then directed them to return a verdict of not guilty.

On this day …….. 9th of July 1909

Waratah, with 211 passengers and crew, left Adelaide on the 9th of July 1909. With 100 first class cabins and eight staterooms, she was the new pride of the Blue Anchor Line. She disappeared en route from Durban to Cape Town in a gale which whipped up 20-metre waves and huge troughs. Her wreck was discovered in 1999 by a British search party using identical technology to that used to discover Titanic .
At Port Adelaide, the feeling of anxiety with regard to the Waratah deepens as time wears on. Mariners who, until a few days ago, held an optimistic view concerning her are not so hopeful now. The general view now is not that an accident has happened to the machinery, but that the vessel foundered in the fierce gale which raged just after she sailed from Durban on 26 July. – Adelaide Advertiser.


On this day …….. 1st of July 1978

The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, bordered by the states of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales. In 1863, as a result of the successful 1862 expedition of John McDouall Stuart to find an overland route through the desert from Adelaide to the north, control of the Northern Territory was handed to South Australia. On the 1st of January 1911, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia and transferred to Commonwealth control. This meant that the laws governing people of the Northern Territory were dictated by the authorities in Canberra, in a society vastly different from their own. Over the ensuing decades, the Northern Territory took small steps towards attaining self-government. The Territory was allowed to make its own legislature in 1947. In 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced that self-government would soon be granted, and a Legislative Assembly made up of 19 members was formed. However, a major catalyst to the granting of self-governance was the tragedy of Cyclone Tracy, which devastated most of the city of Darwin at Christmas in 1974. The cyclone and subsequent response highlighted problems with the arrangement of having a federal minister responsible for the Territory from Canberra, thousands of kilometres away. The Northern Territory was granted self-government on the 1st of July 1978. Around 6000 people gathered at the Cenotaph in Darwin. The inaugural ministry was sworn in, followed by a guard of honour and the first official raising of the new Territorian flag by Flight Sergeant Gordon Mcloughlin. The Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, stated, “Today’s historic occasion symbolises the strength and the spirit of men and women of the Territory, a spirit that has endured suffering, withstood hardships and overcome many times of adversity.” Most state responsibilities came under the purview of the Northern Territory government. Exceptions included matters relating to Aboriginal land, uranium mining, national parks and some industrial relations. Of major significance was the fact that citizens were now permitted to own freehold land. This was a tremendous boost to the economy, as it allowed for major construction works of new tourism and entertainment facilities such as accommodation and casinos, and educational institutions such as universities, to go ahead without waiting for approval from Canberra bureaucrats. Territory Day continues to be celebrated on the 1st of July every year. It is the only day when fireworks are permitted to be lit by the public.

On This Day ……. 7th June 1919

The Geelong branch of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors’ League alleges that a soldier while returning home absented himself from the steamer at Adelaide, and is now serving 112 days’ imprisonment in Geelong gaol. The officers of the league urge that an inquiry be held.

On This Day – November 13, 1924

Mysterious circumstances surround the death of Eric Watkins, aged 22, whose body was found in the Yarra on November 13.

Watkins boarded a train at Adelaide on November 6 and was not seen alive afterwards, nor was his luggage found. The police ascertained that he got in association with a number of train “crooks,” who got about £15 from him. It is presumed he is a victim of foul play, and that the body was thrown into the River Yarra close to Spencer-street station.

On this day …….. 23rd September 1965

Roma Flinders Mitchell was born in Adelaide on 2 October 1913. She was educated at St Aloysius Convent College, Adelaide, and held ambitions from a young age to be a barrister. She excelled at Adelaide University, and her involvement in student politics led to her being a pioneer for women’s rights when she was denied entrance to the Law Students’ Society because she was a woman. This event led to the formation of the Women Law Students’ Society. Roma Mitchell was admitted to the Bar in 1934, and became a partner in the legal firm of Nelligan, Angas Parsons and Mitchell in 1935. She continued to excel in her career, an example of which was in 1940 when she was instrumental in assisting the drafting of the Guardianship of Infants Act, passed later that year by the South Australian Parliament. On 23 September 1965, Mitchell was made a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the first Australian woman to achieve this position. Pioneering the Australian women’s rights movement, Mitchell was also the first woman in Australia to be a Queen’s Counsel (1962) and a chancellor of an Australian university, being Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1983-1990. As Governor of South Australia from 1991-1996, she also became the first woman Governor of an Australian state. In 1982 Roma Mitchell became a Dame Commander of the British Empire.


On this day …….. 15th September 1870

The Overland Telegraph Line was a major feat of engineering, which connected Australia to the rest of world via a single wire. The motivation for building the Overland Telegraph Line came from the fact that a submarine cable already reached from England to Java, and the British-Australian Telegraph Company was prepared to lay a submarine cable from Java to Darwin. It remained only to connect Darwin to the rest of Australia. The line was to connect first with Adelaide, as Adelaide was the closest point linking to the major centres of Melbourne and Sydney. Thanks to the influence of Charles Todd, superintendent of telegraphs and government astronomer in South Australia, the South Australian government agreed to build the necessary 3200 kilometre overland telegraph line connecting Darwin with Port Augusta, north of Adelaide. The Line would closely follow the route charted by explorer John McDouall Stuart on his final expedition in 1862. Begun on 15 September 1870, the Overland Telegraph Line was completed in 1872. It was an exceptional feat, carried out in searing heat through the Australian desert, and six men lost their lives during the construction. The northern and southern sections were joined on 22 August 1872, finally bringing Australia into telegraphic communication with the rest of the world.


On this day …….. 10th September 1906

The first petrol-driven car to be manufactured in Australia is believed to have been produced by Harry A Tarrant in 1897. After modifications and improvements, Tarrant produced a second vehicle in 1901, which he named the Tarrant. This was followed by a number of improved designs, including the first fully enclosed body made in Australia, and later models included locally designed and manufactured engines, gearboxes and rear axles. Other vehicles began to be imported from 1900, when a Benz No 1 Ideal arrived in Sydney. Australians gradually embraced the concept of the motor car and the horseless carriage gained in popularity. The first motor car and driving licence were issued in Adelaide on 10 September 1906. The recipient was Dr William Arthur Hargreaves, a chemist and government analyst, born on 29 October 1866 at Ipswich, Queensland. Hargreaves had moved to South Australia in 1899. Always interested in fuel sources, Hargreaves studied the problem of alternative fuels during both world wars and drove his car on a mixture of molasses and petrol at the end of World War I. Licence plates and drivers licences were introduced in Victoria and New South Wales in 1910.


On this day …….. 5th September 1880

The Salvation Army began on 2 July 1865 when William Booth preached the first of nine sermons in a tattered tent on an unused Quaker cemetery in London. Initially running under the name of the East London Christian Mission, Booth and his wife held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to offer repentance, Salvation and Christian ethics to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. Booth and his followers practised what they preached, performing self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Millions” shops (soup kitchens), not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their Christian ministry work. In 1878, the organisation became known as the Salvation Army. They adopted a uniform and adapted Christian words to popular tunes sung in the public bars. The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia was conducted from the back of a greengrocer’s truck in Adelaide Botanic Park on 5 September 1880. It was initiated by Edward Saunders and John Gore, two men with no theological training, but who both had a heart for their fellow man’s physical and spiritual condition. Saunders and Gore had been converted by the Salvation Army in London. With the words “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me”, the men began a ministry that was soon to expand throughout Australia.