Steam Brewery / Cannon Brewery

William Knapman, born in Dunsford, England in 1830, began his career as a carpenter at the age of 15. He married Charlotte Bowden in 1853, and in 1854, the couple immigrated to South Australia on the vessel "Taymouth Castle". Upon arrival, Mr. Knapman secured employment as a carpenter in Birkenhead. In 1844, he constructed the Lord Exmouth Hotel on the banks of the Port River near Hawkers Creek. The couple had a son, William Henry Knapman, in 1856, who was born in the hotel.

In 1860, Mr. Knapman lost possession of the Lord Exmouth Hotel and subsequently began leasing the White Horse Cellars in Port Adelaide. The White Horse was built in 1851 and was located in the center of Port Adelaide. The Knapman family resided upstairs in the hotel. In 1865, Mr. Knapman established a small brewery at the back of the premises to supply the hotel with inexpensive beer. The brewery, trading as the Steam Brewery, gained a positive reputation and began selling beer outside of the White Horse Hotel. However, the brewery's location resulted in constant issues with bad drainage and complaints from local residents. In 1869, a boiler explosion caused injuries to a worker and several children.

In 1883, the hotel was sold, and a new brewery was built on the banks of the Port River. Known as the Cannon Brewery, it was the largest brewery in the area and enjoyed good trade in the coastal regions of South Australia. The brewery was also known for selling beer and aerated waters as far away as Port Lincoln. William Henry Knapman was the manager of the new brewery with Mr. O. Hansen as the head brewer. The brewery's trade mark was "Big Gun". In 1892, Mr. Knapman's wife Charlotte passed away, and he remarried in 1895 to a family friend, Mrs. Cox, who had also immigrated from England on the same ship as Mr. Knapman. In 1900, Mr. Knapman's oldest son, William Henry Knapman, passed away at the age of 44, leaving behind six children. Mr. Knapman himself passed away in 1905, and control of the brewery was passed to his son Samuel James Knapman and George Frederick Smith. The brewery was closed in 1910 and converted into a timber-yard. The premises were destroyed in a fire in the 1930s.






Steam Brewery
Cannon Brewery

Brewery ID : 5.001.016

Steam Brewery -1865 to 1885
St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide
Cannon Brewrey - 1885 to 1910
Cannon Street, Port Adelaide

Established : 1865

Closed : 1910




The Cannon Brewery on Cannon Street, Port Adelaide c1900


William Knapman c1900



South Australian Almanac 1871



The Register 11th December 1896

Labels from the brewery
c1905 (Colours unknown)
c1905 (Colours unknown)
c1905 (Colours unknown)
1909 (Colours unknown)
c1905 (Colours unknown)
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