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