The 'Swim through the Port' began in 1923, was open to both genders, and became one of the most prestigious swims
in South Australia. A gruelling 2.5 km, the
swim began at Commercial Road ferry steps, continued along North Parade wharves
and finished in the Portland Canal.
Mr Young, swim champion by Bond StudioSouth Australian Maritime Museum
Swimming was an enormously popular sport in the interwar years, with clubs formed all over Adelaide and competitions and fixtures held often. There were dozens of trophies and cups to be won for speed, endurance, relays, races in baths and long swims in the ocean and the Port River. This chap's swimming costume is typical of the period, but doesn't carry a club crest or insignia.
Glass negative by Bond StudioSouth Australian Maritime Museum
The South Australian Maritime Museum holds several photos of swimming champions taken at Bond Studios, Port Adelaide. Proudly posing with trophies these swimmers created a record of their achievements.
Hilda Harvey (circa 1930)South Australian Maritime Museum
The Swim Through the Port was open to men and women. Hilda Harvey, pictured with her trophy, won the race in 1930 with a time of 37 minutes and 43 seconds. She was 16 years old when she won, and the following year set the fastest women's time in the race.
Max Nelson, swim champion by Bond StudioSouth Australian Maritime Museum
The Port Adelaide Amateur Swimming Club Trophy (Ozone Cup) was won by Max Nelson on February 25, 1939 for the annual long distance Swim through the Port River, South Australia. Max Nelson was 17-years-old when he won the event, finishing 230 metres ahead of the next competitor.
Framed Photograph of Len Schenk (1938-01-01/1943-12-31)South Australian Maritime Museum
The photograph of Len Schenk reflects the popularity of swimming as a competitive sport in Port Adelaide during the first half of the 20th century. The Ethelton Amateur Swimming Club, which Len swam with, was one of the most successful clubs in the region, despite the fact that its members, like other clubs in Port Adelaide, had to brave the brackish waters of the Port River rather than a purpose built swimming bath.
Jack Lea by Bond StudioSouth Australian Maritime Museum
Jack Lea won the Swim through the Port in 1925 with a time of 39 minutes and 21 seconds.
Handbill for Port Adelaide Amateur Swimming Club Illuminated Swimming PoolSouth Australian Maritime Museum
A handbill promoting Port Adelaide Amateur Swimming Club's 14th Annual Swim through Port Adelaide February 8, 1936.
Photograph of Albyn 'Cocky' Stephens with swimming trophies Albyn Harry 'Cocky' Stephens (1943-01-01/1943-12-31)South Australian Maritime Museum
This image shows 15-year-old Albyn Harry ‘Cocky’ Stephens posing with several swimming trophies including the Ozone Cup and the Viceroy Tea Trophy, 1943.
Viceroy Tea Trophy (1918-01-01/1928-12-31)South Australian Maritime Museum
The Viceroy Tea Trophy was awarded to the winner of the Swim through the Port from 1923 to the mid-1960s.
In 2016 the North Haven Surf Life Saving Club re-established the Long Swim Through Port Adelaide. The South Australian Maritime Museum continue to record this history.
All images are from the South Australian Maritime Museum Collection. Click through images to check licences for individual images