A ceiling motif at the entrance to the Adelaide General Post Office building in King William Street, Adelaide.
Image by Kylie Fleming
 

1960s ONSLAUGHT ON HERITAGE BUILDINGS
wreaks losses such as Exhibition Building,
the Theatre Royal and South Australian Hotel

 

NORTH TERRACE'S JUBILEE EXHIBITION BUILDING, demolished in 1962, is a one of the spectacular losses that haunts the ongoing debate over preserving Adelaide’s built heritage.

Marking the colony’s first 50 years, the building opened in 1887 with a major exhibition. It was later used by the art gallery, the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show, and the School of Mines and Industry. It was a hospital during the Spanish flu epidemic after World War I, a shelter for homeless men during the Depression and a roller skating rink.

In 1925, the Royal Show moved to Wayville and the building became largely neglected. In 1929, the building was transferred to the University of Adelaide and demolished in 1962 to make way for the university’s Napier building.

The Grand Central Hotel (on the Pulteney-Rundle streets corner) and the South Australian Hotel on North Terrace were also spectacular losses to Adelaide’s stock of hotels going back as the 1920s. But the protest against demolishing what today is Edmund Wright House in 1971 and against the demolition of the Aurora Hotel in 1983 were the catalyst for the backlash that still reverberates today.

Adelaide lost a succession of live theatres, most drastically the elegant 1868 Theatre Royal, replaced by a carpark in Hindley Street in 1962. An array of cinemas also followed when television arrived.

The first Church of Scotland, the Unitarian Christian Church, Scots Church, Pirie Street Methodist Church, the Apostolic Church and the Hindmarsh Square Congregational Church were also major losses to Adelaide city’s heritage treasure.

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