The old Glenelg jetty aquarium

by Steve Reynolds

According to the web page found at, an aquarium was built on the first Glenelg jetty in 1929, showcasing fish, sea lions and sharks.

The Glenelg jetty aquarium in 1936

(Taken from The Advertiser’s “Moments in time – SA at play” special feature)

As I wrote in our July 2002 newsletter, the aquarium was built about halfway along the jetty. I wrote in our March 2006 newsletter that the aquarium would display fish, sharks, dolphins, seals, stingrays and octopuses.

According to Trove, the advertising page for the News newspaper in Adelaide on 30th December 1935 featured a classified advertisement for the aquarium:

“Glenelg Aquarium Manufactures Edible Snow

The Aquarium exhibits garden ponds, water plants, and water lilies as well as penguins. sharks, rays. and hundreds of strange deep-sea fish. Seals and sea lions do marvellous stunt swimming in a huge glass tank holding 36 tons of water. A snow machine has been imported from America. This edible snow, which is made in public, is then given away free. Adults 6d. and Children 3d.”

A large storm destroyed the jetty on 11th April 1948. Part of the aquarium was washed out to sea.

Glenelg jetty’s pavilion & aquarium during the 1948 storm

(Taken from The Advertiser’s report on the 70th anniversary of the storm (2018) )

I have written about the storm several times, including in our January 1999 newsletter. The jetty’s pavilion and remains of the aquarium survived the storm, but these were both demolished later on. A new jetty was built between 1968-9.


By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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