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Adelaide’s Lost Buildings

Whenever the discussion turns to beautiful old buildings that have been lost to our city over the years, the first one that comes to my mind is the South Australian Hotel which stood proudly on North Terrace for almost 100 years.  The ‘South’ opened in 1879 and represented the finer things in life. In 1964 it became the centre of the universe when The Beatles stayed there during their famous Adelaide visit. It was bulldozed in 1971 to make way for a more modern hotel.

There are many legends and stories about the South which we will expand on in a later post.

Photo courtesy Frank Hall. The South Australian Hotel, just before it was demolished in

Photo courtesy Frank Hall. The South Australian Hotel, just before it was demolished in 1971

The Foy and Gibson building on the corner of Rundle and Pulteney Streets began its life as ‘The Grand Hotel.’ in 1911. It was indeed a very grand building but despite that, as a hotel, went bankrupt by 1924 and was turned into a department store by Foy & Gibsons. In the mid 50s Foy & Gibsons moved to new premises in Rundle Street as Cox Foys. The old building was then used by the Government to house several departments and was allowed to rundown. Sadly, the building was demolished in 1975/76 to make way for a multi-storey car park which still stands there today.

Photo courtesy of State Library of SA. The Grand Central Hotel in 1924, a truly magnificent building

Photo courtesy of State Library of SA. The Grand Central Hotel in 1924, a truly magnificent building

The Regent Theatre in Rundle Street, The Metro and the  the Adelaide City Baths have all been covered in recent posts.

Photo from the State Library of SA. The beautiful old Theatre Royal in Hindley Street

Photo from the State Library of SA. The beautiful old Theatre Royal in Hindley Street

The Theatre Royal in Hindley Street was built in 1878 and became Adelaide’s best known and most loved theatre and featured such famous performers as Sarah Bernhard, the Oliviers and Sir Robert Helpmann . The building was modified in 1913 to show ‘moving pictures’ in Adelaide. In 1962 it was demolished by department store Miller Anderson and Co to make way for a multi-level car park.

Although not a classically beautiful building, I do miss the old Advertiser building which stood on the corner of King William and Waymouth Streets for almost 50 years. I worked there when 5AD was on the tenth floor and sometimes, finishing my shift at midnight, would walk out into Advertiser Lane as the papers came off the printing presses and were loaded onto the trucks. There was the smell of freshly printed newspapers and ink, and how many remember waiting to buy a paper in that lane to get their exam results as they came off the press?

Photo courtesy of Frank Hall. I miss the Advertiser building. Somehow it represented so much about Adelaide for me

Photo courtesy of Frank Hall. I miss the Advertiser building. Somehow it represented so much about Adelaide for me

Just finally I’ll mention the old ABC Buildings on the eastern side of Hindmarsh Square. The ABC commenced broadcasting as 5CL in the 1930s (later 5AN) out of these two buildings. One of the buildings had been used as horse stables, the other a Congregational church and were often referred to by the staff as a ‘rabbit warren’ of offices. In 1959, the ABC bought an old mansion in Collinswood known as Tregenna on a four and a half acre block and it was set up as offices for television staff. In the early 1970s the Tregenna mansion was demolished, making way for an eight-story building with the rest of the ABC staff relocated to the new building in Collinswood in 1974.

There are many other fine old buildings that have disappeared from our city, some of which we’ll touch on in a later post.

Photo courtesy of Frank Hall. The old ABC buidings in the eastern side of Hindmarsh Square

Photo courtesy of Frank Hall. The old ABC buidings in the eastern side of Hindmarsh Square

 

7 Responses to Adelaide’s Lost Buildings

  1. Cameron Jeffery November 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    We are still here! Gearing up for our 95th year of continuous service at The Grosvenor at 125 North Tce. Not all grand buildings are lost…we are still here!…and very proud of where we have been and where we are heading…towards our 100th in 2019.
    Cameron Jeffery
    General Manager
    Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide

  2. Peter Vasic November 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    The ‘VERY” best examples of Adelaide’s classic 19th century Architecture have been lost, leaving in many cases the second string to take up the mantle. What a grieving, crying, heart bleeding shame the South Australian and the Grand on the corner of Pulteney and Rundle street have gone. Such majestic examples of the Victorian era, classical buildings with so many hidden stories to tell. Razed for the most sad and embarrassing structures to take their place in a city.

  3. Marjorie Brown November 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    I remember welll the west end brewery on Hindley street was a very imposing building with red brick walls and arches through which the horse and carts would appear carrying the barrells of beer. On one corner of the block was an original settlers cottage that a chinaman lived in which obviously he would not sell to the brewery.

  4. Susan Hamilton January 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    Visiting my 86 year old father in his Aged Care facility in Melbourne today. He grew up with his 8 siblings in Gray Street in the West End of Adelaide. He was telling me today of seeing Test Cricket ‘screened’ onto the side of a building (Hedleys/Headleys?) in Hindmarsh Square in the late 1930s. Can you confirm any details for me on this, as his memory is a tad patchy, but he was most adamant that he walked there as a young lad and watched the screening.

  5. Mike Micanopy December 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    A suggestion – a story on the old tram barn, which has now been replaced by the Water building. As a starter, you could have a look at a fabulous book called “City & Glenelg”, which is (mostly) about those marvellous old “H” class trams and the history of the tram line and the two “heavy” railway lines that preceded it. I’ve just been reading it here at the National Library in Canberra. There are great “action” pictures of trams at the Angas Street tram barn, which also housed some buses in its later years.

    In 1987 I worked for the SA Industrial Court. Some of our “archived” files were kept at the tram barn, and I never complained when I was asked to go and retrieve a box of files from “The Barn”. It was a great old building even when it was largely empty.

    Now that I think of it, perhaps you could look into the second Glenelg railway, which started on North Terrace and went through current suburbs like Mile End, Marleston, Kurralta Park and Camden. In the street directory you can clearly see the ghost of this line all the way to Morphettville Racecourse.

  6. Robert Warn April 2, 2018 at 10:14 pm #

    How about the wonderful Union Hall at Adelaide Uni? Demolished in an act of vandalism on Uni Inc. CEO Prof McWha’s watch. (After receiving a Heritage protection, waived by the Labour govetnment ‘Heritage’ Minister.) I have vowed to never again enter the Uni grounds after that.

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