Topic: GW - 11 Nov 1918
11 November 1918
Celebrations for the Armistice
Peace Declared in Adelaide
The crowds in front of Parliament House listening to the Declaration of Peace.
[From: The Adelaide Chronicle, 16 November 1918, p. 26.]
Peace Declared in Adelaide
When peace was declared in Adelaide on the morning of 12 November 1918, the city filled with tens of thousands of people.
The crowd is filled with all different people displaying the whole range of human emotions, the key being relief. The crowd is pressing in on the thin line of police who appear to be uncomfortable with the crush. One piece of whimsy is the fellow holding an American flag in the foreground. Each face in this crowd has a specific story to tell about the war and the impact of the war upon that life.
The full story of peace was something to be savoured slowly and sweetly. Below is the page detailing all the information for the news hungry people in Adelaide.
From the Adelaide Advertiser, 12 November 1918, p. 5:
A MERRY THRONG IN ADELAIDE.
MUSIC AND LAUGHTER IN THE STREETS.
Never in the history of South Australia has such a tremendous crowd assembled in King William Street, opposite the Town Hall as on Monday night when the glorious news of the signing of the armistice was made public. It was, anticipated that historic cablegram would arrive probably about 10 o'clock, and the majority of the 30,000 to 40,000 people who were gathered together in the thoroughfare between the Majestic Theatre and the General Post-Office delayed their arrival at the rendezvous until about 9 o'clock. Shortly after 7 o'clock a special edition of "The Express" was published, long before any other paper was on sale, announcing that Germany had signed the armistice terms, and the crowds who were on their way to the places of amusement either altered their minds and remained in the streets or spent only part of the evening in the halls. It was fully 9 o'clock before the trains packed with passengers from all the suburbs began to discharge their living freight at the city terminals, and by 10 o'clock King William street was alive with men and women, boys and girls, all gloriously happy and bent on giving expression to their feelings of joy in any form which suited the moment. The enthusiasm was unbounded, everybody seemed to have let loose a flood of delight, it was sight never to be forgotten. The war had ended: the people know it, and they were intoxicated with joy, but, although such a vast throng joined in the patriotic displays and made merry as befitted the occasion, there was not the slightest exhibition of bad behaviour. It was an intensely loyal, happy, and thankful crowd, every unit of which desired to give voice to his or her feelings in the most becoming way. A great deal of the wonderful enthusiasm was worked up by that popular patriotic worker, Mr "Sammy" Lunn, who led contingents of merrymakers up and down the street singing patriotic songs, but at the same time there was no need for any special encouragement. The people were in a joyful mood and were powerless to restrain their emotions.
After many years of grim news and sorrow filling the lives of relatives left in Australia, the comforting information in the newspaper assures the citizens of Adelaide that the nightmare is over. The relief is palpable in every sentence written on this page. It was a happy time for all.
The newspapers also began to reflect on the meaning that this information held for the citizens of Adelaide. Many issues needed to be addressed. The sobering reality was that casualty lists were still arriving and would continue to do so for nearly another year.
Citation: 11 November 1918, Celebrations for the Armistice, Peace Declared in Adelaide