Port Adelaide Architecture

Yesterday I had the privilege of going on a heritage walk around Port Adelaide with the Friends of South Australian Archives.
We met at the Memorial fountain outside of the Port Adelaide police station, we then walked to our first stop on the tour which was the warehouses on St Vincent and Calton Streets, which includes an 1849 hotel coach house on Calton Street.

Detail on the Memorial Fountain

Detail on the Memorial Fountain

We then visited the Port Admiral Hotel which was constructed in 1849, it was previously called the Railway Hotel and then the Corner Shops on St Vincent Street.

Stop four on the tour was the central buildings formally the White House Cellar Inn, the earliest section of the building was erected for George Coppin in 1850-51 as the White Horse Cellar Inn and Theatre. Its the second oldest building in Port Adelaide after the Port Admiral Hotel (formally the Railway.) George Coppin was one of Australia’s most prominent nineteenth century actors and theatrical entrepreneurs with theatres in both Melbourne and Adelaide as well.

The theatre opened in the Inn building in 1851 and is the third oldest theatre building in Australia.

St Vincent Chambers Shops and Offices

St Vincent Chambers Shops and Offices

We then visited the AWB Building and the Port Adelaide Town Hall, which was opened on 29th of August, 1866 with a clock tower, belfry and hall to accommodate a thousand people. It was designed by architects Woods and Wright, the foundations were laid by Sir James H. Fisher on the 10th of June , 1865. The clock was imported from London aboard the indes in 1867.

Stop seven we visited the Port Adelaide Police Station, Courthouse and Customs House, which was opened in 1860 to house the customs, police station and court house and replacing the previous combined post office and police station which opened in mid-1840’s.

The customs building was the third of its kind built in Port Adelaide. In 1862 two female cells and part of a female exercise yard were converted into a Casualty Hospital. This was the second Hospital build in the port, since 1997 this has been the Port Adelaide Visitors Centre.

Port Adelaide Police Station, Courthouse and Customs House, which was opened in 1860

Port Adelaide Police Station, Courthouse and Customs House, which was opened in 1860

Next we visited the Port Adelaide Court House and the Institute Building and Customs House, the former Institute Building and Customs House appears to be one building but after closer inspection reveals the obvious differences in design and construction. The two buildings were once separated by a narrow lane, but by 1890 this had been built across to provide extra space for the customs service. in 1959 the two buildings were physically linked by the creation of internal access ways.

The Institute Building was constructed in 1874-76 to a design in the Victorian Italianate style by the Colonial Architect RG Thomas and built by Cleave Williams using Tea Tree Gully freestone and Dry Creek rubble stone with Portland cement dressings.

Wearhouses on Calton Street.

Wearhouses on Calton Street.

Stop Ten was the Telegraph Office building which opened in 1867 replacing the former customs house/harbor-master’s residence that had been converted into a Telegraph Station in 1861. In 1883 a telephone exchange was installed in the building and this facility was moved into the purpose-built brick exchange behind the Telegraph Station in 1902. The building was extended in 1912.

Telegraph Station

Telegraph Station

Next we visited the Adelaide Cast Iron Benchmark no. 1 and the Port Adelaide Lighthouse, the wrought iron latticework lighthouse was originally erected at the entrance to the port river in 1869. in 1901 it was relocated to South Neptune Island. It is SA’s oldest extant wrought iron lighthouse and one of the oldest lighthouses remaining in South Australia.

Port Adelaide Lighthouse

Port Adelaide Lighthouse

Next we visited the Divett Chamber Offices (formally the Advertiser Building), This building was constructed in 1881 and is the only example of a secular neo-gothic building in Port Adelaide. It was constructed of bluestone with a symmetrical facade, and s reminiscent of business premises in larger Scottish towns. The building decorations include ribbed gothic arches, pillared doorways, horizontal string courses and paired lancet windows with hood molds and cornices.

This tour was very interesting and I got some great photos of the different architectures around Port Adelaide. This is just a few of the stops we visited, keep watching for part two.

To see all my photos from the tour check out you can find them here,



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