Scandinavia is a region in northern Europe. It includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
A number of South Australian Scandinavian organisations have been formed since settlers from that region arrived in the colony in the nineteenth century. Early clubs were founded in Adelaide and at Port Adelaide due to the concentrations of Scandinavian settlement in these regions.
The first known Scandinavian Association was founded in Adelaide in 1883. Its members, including a Mr Welin, met regularly at a hotel in Pirie Street. The group disbanded in 1891.
Another Scandinavian Association was founded at Port Adelaide in 1891. Most of its 60 members were Swedish seamen and wharf labourers. This organisation only lasted a few years.
A Scandinavian Friends’ Association was established in the late 1920s. It aimed to promote cultural life in a social context. This group declined as the number of Scandinavian South Australians diminished during the 1930s.
The Free Denmark Association was formed during the Second World War to raise funds to assist Nazi-occupied Denmark. The group dissolved after Denmark’s liberation at the end of the war.
A Danish Club was founded in Adelaide in 1956, and was active until 1963.
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish South Australians formed a Scandinavian Friends’ Association in 1963. It organised cultural gatherings and welcomed Scandinavian visitors and immigrants. This club disbanded in the following year.
Another South Australian Danish Club was founded in 1970. For several years it published a newsletter called Øresund. Oresund is the name of the Strait between Denmark and Sweden.
A Swedish Club was founded in Adelaide in 1972. It published a newsletter called Vikingen, Viking. In 1975 the Swedish Club became the Nordic Club. In that year it had approximately 100 members.
In 1980 the Danish Club became the Scandinavian Association of South Australia. It amalgamated with the Nordic Club in 1982. In July 1986 the Scandinavian Association of South Australia established its current premises at 266 Port Road, Hindmarsh. The association established a senior citizens' group in 1987. The group has about 60 members. It meets once a month for luncheons and daytrips. The Scandinavian Association of South Australia holds an annual ball in June or July with a band, dancing and a smorgasbord, buffet, supper. This event has been known to attract up to 300 people.
The Scandinavian Association of South Australia has held biennial Scandinavian Festivals since the mid-1980s. The two-day festival is usually held during October or November. It includes displays devoted to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, exhibitions of work by Scandinavian South Australian potters and china painters, stalls selling Danish coffee, smallgoods, Scandinavian crafts and foods, performances of folk dancing and the screening of videos about Scandinavia.
For further information about community activities consult Danish, Norwegian and Swedish entries.
Although Finland and Iceland are Nordic rather than Scandinavian countries, a small number of Finnish and Icelandic South Australians belong to the Scandinavian Association of South Australia.
For further information see Finnish and Icelandic entries.
Organisations and Media
The Scandinavian Association of South Australia Inc. publishes Vikingen, a monthly newsletter
For statistics and bibliography consult separate entries.