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Adelaide Lost (Pt 1). Photographs by Frank Hall

We drove or walked passed them regularly when we were younger, the buildings that were part and parcel of our everyday life in Adelaide until the 60s and 70s.

Then they were suddenly gone, demolished to make way for a new structure or development.

One enterprising photographer decided to capture some of the old buildings on film before they disappeared. Frank Hall visited sites where demolition was about to take place, photographed the buildings and is now sharing some of the images from his collection.

My thanks to Elaine Hall, Frank’s wife, for posting these wonderful photos on Adelaide Remember When.

The Bowman Buikding and Arcade in King William Street, just near Currie Street. Demolished in the 1970s

The Bowman Buildings and Arcade in King William Street, just near Currie Street. Demolished in the 1970s

 The Bowman Building on King William Street near Currie Street, had numerous shops and offices and a fine arcade which included a gent’s hairdresser, tobacconist,  Malboro Aviaries for all bird and fish needs, Corset House, experts in fitting correct support for women, S D Kerr Umbrella Dealers and the Musical Box, which I recall was a record shop owned by Kym Bonython.

The building was erected by Keith Bowman in the early 20th century, was five-storeys and described as “an early example of reinforced concrete in multi-storey architecture”. I’m not sure when it was demolished, possibly in the early 70s.

The Imperial Hotel was built in 1866 and demolished in 1960

The Imperial Hotel was built in 1866 and demolished in 1960

The Imperial Hotel on the corner of Grenfell St and King William St. The building alongside housed the Central Provision Stores and the Adelaide College of Music. The Imperial Hotel was built in 1866 for Asher Hamm. According to the Adelaide Heritage City Website it was; “A three-storied stuccoed building, it had two shops on the King William Street frontage as well as the usual hotel facilities. The Union Club occupied most of the first floor of the hotel and the third floor had a billiard room and bedrooms. It was demolished in 1960 for the National Mutual Building, built in 1961”

Before the Hilton Hotel was built. Some of the small shops that were on the site where the Hilton now stands in Victoria Square.

Before the Hilton Hotel was built. Some of the small shops that were on the site where the Hilton now stands in Victoria Square.

Pre-Hilton Hotel days in Victoria Square. This photo shows the buildings that stood where the Hilton Hotel is now situated, with Godfreys, a snack bar and deli, Murrays Dry Cleaners, Bradley Frocks and Victoria Cafe. To the left of the photo would be Moore’s on the Square and where the phone boxes are in this photo is now the walkway into the little Central Market Arcade and the escalators up to the Central Market Carpark. And Godfreys would be the southern side of the Hilton.

The Pirie Street Methodist Church, demolished in 1972.

The Pirie Street Methodist Church, demolished in 1972.

The Pirie Street Methodist Church, located behind the Adelaide Town Hall, was the ‘cathedral church’ of Methodism in Adelaide. It was built in 1850, it could seat 800 downstairs, and an additional 400 in the galleries. In 1969 Pirie Street Methodist congregation merged with nearby Stow Congregational Church, an early step in what was to become the Uniting Church.

In 1972 the church was closed and demolished to make way for the Colonel Light Centre.

What are your memories of these buildings which stood for many years in Adelaide city?

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15 Responses to Adelaide Lost (Pt 1). Photographs by Frank Hall

  1. Bronte ALLAN January 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    So sad to see that most of Adelaide’s lovely, fine,well known old buildings have (it seems) almost all been demolished! In the name of “progress” or “vibrancy” (sic). Thankfully there are still a lot of photographic “memories” around. Here’s hoping that our State Library or the Archives will accept any of the many fine collections of old Adelaide buildings, & not say they cannot take them, for whatever reason.

  2. Lynne January 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    Thanks for the memories.. I remember Sigalas Milk Bar

  3. peter January 29, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    I wonder if you remember the Central Provision Stores, when I was in my early twenties I had a job with the firm who delivered there frozen and dairy supplies to there shops around Adelaide, I was trying to remember all the shops I used to deliver to about forty all up and split into two rounds north and south , also once a week to Christies beach and some others,,I remember they had a shop in King William street and entry was via a tiny alley way just inside (I think) rundle street , terrible at nine o clock in the morning with a large fridge van, also a shop in the central market, many times having to go round and round until a parking space was available, this would be about 1973, and as the two runs covered most of Adelaide I came to know it pretty well, I was on the south run for about a year and got quite good at it as I became more familiar with reading the paperwork, I well remember on my first Friday run which was “”butter day””, when the run sheet blew out the truck window going down Brighton road, I had to wing it the rest of the day and ended up with two pallets of butter over! , On the north run I did North Adelaide out to Tea Tree Gully , Salisbury , Port Adelaide, and every where in between about seven hours in all, the north run suited me as I lived at Hope Valley and could go home for dinner! The main problem was keeping the goods cold because of so many stops , about twenty, a better vehicle would have made the job a lot easier but the company would not do that , I have tried to remember them but it was a long time ago and things have changed, When I first started to do the runs it was really hard because of having to interpret the delivery sheets and order sheets of all the ordered items , although much of the stuff was in plastic bins with a number,
    ( ok if you knew the shop numbers )it was not easy, but as I got used to it I believe I made a good job of it and I was asked to work for CPS when they started doing there own deliveries, , but there system left a lot to be desired and I went on to other things,, I believe that they might have been a charity , I know they had a lot of shops .All history now of course , I hope you found this interesting, Peter.

    • Carmel O'Reilly October 31, 2017 at 2:37 am #

      I remember the Head Office above the CPS in Franklin Street. My Mum was the Tea Lady and cooked meals for the Manager “Mr Whitehead”…. The annual Staff Picnics were fun too! Good memories from my childhood.

      • Carmel Hubbard August 8, 2023 at 9:38 am #

        I forgot to add it would have been late 1950’s to early/mid 1960’s when my Mum worked at CPS.

      • Sharon Williams April 8, 2024 at 10:13 pm #

        my mum too her name is kaye

  4. john connolly April 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    i fondly remember the bowman building.there was hippy vegetarian cafe in the basement where i was lucky enough to meet alan ginsberg.the building was demolished in 1972-73.the demolition company lost money on the job,they underquoted not realising how strongly built it was ,reinforced concret, sad to see it is no longer there…..joncon…i think there was a penthouse for the bowman family when first built

  5. David. O February 22, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    It is great to find this site, I love adelaide especially all the memories, Does anyone recall when there was a billiard hall on part of the second floor of city cross, Florences restaurant was just below on the ground floor, Does anyone recall the time when Rundle St became a mall?

  6. Denise April 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Thanks for these photos. Was sure there used to be an arcade between Hindley and Currie street and after much googling found your site with this lovely picture

  7. ken August 1, 2017 at 3:47 am #

    What a waste.

  8. Warwick Kemp October 1, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    The Bowman Buildings were demolished after 1976 because I bought a Polaroid 250 camera in the building at John Mack’s in that year and snapped test photos inside and outside the shop.

  9. Mark Henstridge December 7, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    My mother worked in the Arcade, she worked in a snack bar that was named “Caspers”. I was school and often I would drop into Caspers during school holidays. I loved exploring the building, I remember the old stairs to the basement. When the building closed mothers employer moved her business next to the Pancake kitchen it was called “The Omelet Pan”.

  10. Sharon Smith May 7, 2019 at 8:59 pm #

    Looking for photos of 190 Gawler Place near corner of Wakefield Street. Hedley Smith Pianos and Geoff’s Surf Shop. Building was demolished in the 1970’s to make way for Motor Registration building.

    • Liz Fry September 22, 2021 at 4:42 pm #

      Try the State Library for photos – they have some wonderful collections. I bought my piano at Hedley Smiths in the late 1950s. It was a secondhand upright grand. Had to sell it in 1962 when I moved to Sydney. I can picture the shop now, but I have a feeling that they were going into washing machines etc at the time I bought my piano – does that sound right?

      • Sharon Smith January 17, 2022 at 7:46 pm #

        Hi LIz, Sorry I only just saw your message. My Grandpa Hedley went into televisions. And then back to piano and organs. Yes I will definitely head to the State Library (I’m in Melbourne) so when Covid clear. Thanks Liz, it was nice to hear from you. I hope you enjoyed your piano! Sharon

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