Port Adelaide Dock, with the barque Primera and Elder Smith and Co Wool and Grain Store

Samuel Sweet1880

History Trust of South Australia

History Trust of South Australia
Adelaide, Australia

This image taken by Samuel White Sweet (see below) shows the iron barque Primera tied up at the Port Adelaiden Dock in front of the Elder Smith and Co Wool and Grain Store. The Primera which was built in Glasgow in 1875 carried cargo between London, and ports in Australia and New Zealand until it caught fire and sank in 1900. The image was taken between the ship's first visit to Adelaide in 1877 and Sweet's death in 1886. It is a copy made in 1917 from the original plate.
The State Library of SA holds a copy of the image (SLSA B72445/36), and has identified the ship as the Primera.

After careers as a sea captain and surveyor, Samuel White Sweet (1825-1886) established himself in Adelaide as a well known photographer. 'With his horse-drawn dark room he travelled through South Australia taking hundreds of skilful pictures of the outback, stations and homesteads. The colony's foremost documentary photographer of the 1870s, in the early 1880s he was one of the first to use the new dry-plate process.' (Allan Sierp, 'Sweet, Samuel White (1825–1886)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/sweet-samuel-white-4678/text7739, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 5 June 2019.) After his death in 1886, his wife continued his gallery in Adelaide Arcade and sold prints made from his glass plate negatives (https://www.daao.org.au/bio/samuel-white-sweet/biography/).

The State Library of South Australia holds a substantial collection of his photographs.


  • Title: Port Adelaide Dock, with the barque Primera and Elder Smith and Co Wool and Grain Store
  • Creator: Samuel White Sweet
  • Date: 1880
  • Rights: Public Domain
  • Medium: Glass Negative

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