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Proclamation

Unley OvalUnley was proclaimed as a City in 1906 as a result of its population reaching 22,000 and reported in the Government Gazette on 8 November.

On Friday 7 December the Governor, Sir George Le Hunt, presided over a large gathering at the Unley Oval where he officially proclaimed Unley as the third city in the State of South Australia.

In his report at the time Mayor John H Cook describes the scene:

In the presence of His Excellency the Governor, (Sir George Le Hunt) the Hon. the Premier (Thos. Price MP), the Right Worshipful Mayors of Adelaide (Mr T Bruce) and Port Adelaide (Mr J Sweeney) and the Worships the Mayors of Norwood, St Peters, Hindmarsh, Brighton and other municipalities and a large number of distinguished guests, the whole city made a holiday event of the occasion, shops and places of businesses being closed.

Under the direction of Mr C Charlton, the Head Master of the Unley State School, the demonstration of children, numbering between 3,000 and 4,000, were marshalled and by 2 O'clock Mr Charlton had established perfect order amongst his miniature troops from the twenty-one primary and secondary schools in the municipality.

The procession formed from the Town Hall and headed by the Military Band, marched along in the direction of the Oval. First followed by the State School Cadets with their rifles to form the Governor's guard of honour then followed the fife and drum bands and for a quarter of a mile the school children eight deep. On arrival at the Oval the procession was marshalled into various divisions and the sight was brilliant when the lines converged in to marked positions facing the stand where the children were allowed to sit whilst waiting for the arrival of the vice-regal party.

His Excellency, the Governor, accompanied by Captain the Hon RD Ryder, reached the Oval at 3 0'clock and after passing through the guard of honour, under Mr RF Cowan, was welcomed by myself and introduced to the members of the Council, who with the Hon the Premier (Mr Thomas Price) were waiting His Excellency's arrival on the platform. The children saluted the flag and at the suggestion of His Excellency, resumed their seats on the grass.

In welcoming His Excellency, it was my privilege to sketch briefly the history and progress of our city from the time when it severed from the Mitcham District Council in 1871 to the present date. His Excellency's acknowledgment of welcome is reported in the contemporary papers as follows:-

His Excellency, who was greeted with cheers, said that the program had suggested he was going to make an address in reply to the kind words of the Mayor's welcome. If a hasty explanation of only a few minutes duration could be called an address, then he was fulfilling his duty. He thoroughly sympathised with everybody and especially with the school children that the day had turned out so hot and close and he admired the many hundreds of small children before him who were so pluckily sticking to their post and doing their duty so heartily. (Applause.)

He supposed the younger citizens before him had not many recollections of 35 years ago (Children: "No.") Well, he hoped they would be able to say "Yes" 35 years hence. Those who would be living in Unley in that distant time would be able to look back upon an even greater 35 years of advance than could the grown-up people of the present day. For Adelaide and its suburbs were going to grow into a still greater city and he had not any great fear what kind of citizens the youthful colonists of the present day would make.

He understood hat the most important feature in a girl's career was when she put her hair up and went into long dresses and that the greatest thing in a boy's life was to get into long trousers. (Laugher.) Well, their pretty town of Unley had just accomplished a feat of that kind regarding its own history. Unley had now put its hair up and attained the full rights and honours of a city. (Applause.)

To the 3,000 or 4,000 school children whom he saw before him he would say that he was pleased to hear that they had been given a holiday. They fully deserved it and he would have quickly seen that they all got a holiday had it not been granted.

At the Call of His Excellency the Governor cheers were given for His Majesty the King, His Majesty's Government, the Mayor and Council of the City of Unley and for the children. The children were again assembled in the proper ranks and after singing one verse of 'The Song of Australia' were marshalled away to the shade of the trees surrounding the Oval and to other shelter provided for their protection provided by the City Council. During the remainder of the afternoon the Military Band played various selections and the children executed a Maypole dance and various marching and callisthenics movements. The proceedings concluded with the National Anthem.

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