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Adelaide's Walk of the Condemned

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published March 18th 2013
Should Adelaide be high rise everywhere?
The Adelaide Walk of the Condemned

in adelaide, about adelaide city, what to do in adelaide, heritage in australia, adelaide real estate, architects, architectural design, heritage buildings
A Classical Contrast


Adelaide is an attractive city when compared to many others around the world.

It is spacious, the road system is (mostly) well designed and easy to navigate, and there are many green spaces for recreation and pleasure.

Within the city there is an eclectic range of architectural design.

The rectangular modernism (with attached toilet bowl) of the Federal Court stands in sharp juxtaposition to the classical style of the stolid sandstone Adelaide Magistrates Court.

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Gilbert Place Former Bank of SA Stables


The variety of building styles and streetscapes helps to make Adelaide more interesting and colourful for us and our visitors. But the winds of change are blowing in Adelaide streets, and older buildings are struggling to stand up to the gale.

With the state government struggling to keep our economy moving, they are prepared to do things to appease developers and property groups that a self respecting sex worker might hesitate to consider.

Recently Planning Minister Rau has signalled his intention to oppose Local Heritage listing for 46 out of 77 properties recommended for protection by Adelaide City Council. This is despite the fact that the recommendation only applies to the building facades in many cases.

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This Ornate Old Facade Hides an Attractive Atrium


It's highly likely that many others that were previously recommended for conservation have been demolished already, like the City Steam Biscuit Factory (later the Jade Monkey venue) which was bulldozed by Hines Property to use as a vehicle park. And if the Minister continues to oppose adaptive re-use of heritage buildings you can expect to see many more vacant spaces in Adelaide real estate.

Heritage in Australia needs more support from governments and individuals if we are not to be surrounded by sterile soaring structures of concrete..

Take a look at the map of The Adelaide Walk of The Condemned to see the locations of buildings which are about to become at risk.

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The Adelaide Walk of The Condemned


How It Happened

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Former West's Cinema - Accepted for Listing


Way back in 2008 Adelaide City Council (ACC) decided it was time to update the heritage assessment of properties in the City of Adelaide.

They engaged a team of historians and architects from respected independent Adelaide consultants Donovan and Associates to review unlisted buildings against the local heritage criteria specified in the Development Act 1993.

This wasn't the first time that such a review had been done - there were three earlier studies commenced in 1980, 1990, and 1992. But it was important to ensure that all properties had been properly assessed against current principles in the Act.

The Donovan study was completed in 2009, and a report provided to Council recommending Local Heritage protection for 273 properties. By mid 2009 Council had consulted relevant government agencies and the community.

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Former Victorian Dining Rooms - Rejected


During 2010 and 2011 the Planning Minister decided to consider only 77 of the recommended properties initially. He then ponderously pontificated whether they should be approved as Local Heritage places, and by March 2012 he had started conferring with the ACC about his decision.

Finally in March 2013 Planning Minister Rau wrote to the Council stating his intent to remove 42 properties about Adelaide city from the list for a variety of reasons.

This article is about those 42 properties that Planning Minister Rau feels do not deserve even Local Heritage protection. If confirmed, all of those buildings will be able to be modified or demolished without restriction.

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Art Deco Former Sands & McDougalls Building - Rejected


You can see all of the properties that the Minister intends to put at risk displayed on a map here.

Although it would require an energetic walk for the best part of a day to see them all, I have chosen a representative few of the rejected properties for you to see here. If you're looking for what to do in Adelaide, it's a fascinating walk.

For a more in depth description of the history of this saga, look here.

A complete list of all the 77 properties and the recommendations, together with information about their history and architectural design can be found here.

Buildings in Gawler Place Rejected for Protection

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Former Walsh's Oriental Hotel - Rejected


Gawler Place is a very busy location where it intersects with the Mall, and so it was in times gone by.

The south east corner was occupied by Walsh's Oriental Hotel (no relation) from 1917 until it closed in 1966.

While the interior has changed significantly (unlike the exquisite interiors seen in many of these buildings) the grand exterior of the building remains largely intact and much the same as when photographed in 1926.

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Upper Floors of the Walsh Building


The State Library's Wine Literature of the World collection includes the Oriental Hotel's 1950 wine list here.

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Former Harris Scarfe and Allans Building - Rejected


The Allans Building at 58-60 Gawler Place would have strong associations for many older South Australians. I went here every payday in my youth to buy an LP album - from memory they cost around $7-10 each then.

The building was originally a warehouse for Harris Scarfe, and built around 1886. One of its original tenants was Sir Henry Ayers.

In 1964 it was acquired by Allans, and it became a second home to crowds of music fans for the next 40 years.

Buildings in Currie St

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Former Dun & Bradstreet Offices - Rejected


This building was constructed in 1929 for a firm of electrical engineers, and was purchased in 1978 by credit rating company Dun & Bradstreet.

Dun & Bradstreet has now moved offices to King William St, but the building is believed to still be in use for offices.

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Former Hassell Press Building - Rejected


While 104 Currie St started life around 1882 as the Town & Country Bank, from 1910 until 1953 it housed the Hassell Press. Hassell's were well considered and performed work for noteworthy organisations such as the University of Adelaide and Wakefield Press.

The building is in very original form, and is considered to be a good example of its architectural style.

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Former Cordial Factory - Rejected


The building at 96 Currie St dates from 1877 although the ground floor has been significantly transformed and the bluestone exterior walls have been rendered.

The Adelaide Cordial Factory used the cellar of the building for the manufacture of a vast array of cordials, vinegars and liqueurs including: vinegar, Australian stomach bitters, orange bitters, Canadian or gingerbeer bitters, bonekamp, the Doctor and Wermuth bitters and quinine wine cordials, raspberry vinegar, raspberry balm, lemon syrup, peppermint, limejuice, cordial, pineapple cordial, the eye-opener, cherry brandy, ginger brandy, sarsaparilla, ginger wine, rum punch, cloves, and kummel.

Donovan & Associates report:
Packing and labelling were carried out on the ground floor, with different cases holding one or two dozen bottles. At the time of opening, the first floor was not used, but it was intended to use it for the 'preparation of baking, washing, and other powders'. Bottle-washing was carried out at the rear of the building where 'loose boxes' for accommodating five horses used in the business had been constructed.

In 1888 The Australasian Federal Directory noted that the building was occupied by Beaumont E & W. cordial mfrs.


Some Other Rejected Buildings

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Former Maughan Church - Rejected for Listing


The former Maughan Church on Franklin St is something of a landmark in the Central Market area, and many people would have heard its services broadcast live on neighbouring Radio 5KA. The style of the steel framed octagonal church has been described as Contemporary Gothic.

It was designed by Adelaide architects Brown & Davies with Sir Eric Von Schramek as a consultant and construction was completed in 1965 for the then Methodist Church. The Church also owned Radio 5KA from 1943, although curiously the station was forced to shut down during the war because it was suspected of supplying information to the enemy in code.

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The Marrakesh Hotel - Rejected for Listing


The quaint Marrakesh Hotel was a favourite of mine when I worked in the city. It has a very unusual layout for a pub and is easily missed, as it just looks like a bottle shop at ground level.

If you haven't been there yet to experience its atmosphere, then don't wait too long. Although it is unlikely to suffer from spontaneous combustion like some other heritage buildings, it may not have a long term future.

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Adelaide Worker's Cottage from 1880's - Rejected


Around fifteen classic Adelaide worker's cottages that were recommended for protection were also rejected by Planning Minister John Rau. Many of these are near Hutt St and were built in the late 19th century, although there are also some on Oakley St.

The cottage pictured above was built on land that was originally granted to the South Australian Company on 23 December 1837.

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1893 Bluestone Cottage - Rejected


The houses pictured above are still attractive today, and clearly well looked after. While not in the same league as a mansion like Carramar, to my mind they add a pleasing variety and character to our streets.

It is actually quite remarkable that there are houses about Adelaide city that are over 130 years old and are still in largely original form.

Clearly the Minister does not think that this situation should be allowed to continue. Feel free to let us know your views in the comments section.
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Why? Shouldn't we look after our best old buildings?
When: Anytime
Where: Adelaide, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Once they're gone they're gone!....What to do? One by one and sometimes block by block, these interesting old places get destroyed! ;(.....they are so important for many reasons...particularly as a reference to our past, and what has gone before in this city...and a reference to craftmanship and enduring architecture...the list goes on...the modern 'box' that is going up as replacement is appalling and depressing for our cultural psyche...
by hallv (score: 0|8) 1265 days ago
You'd think that by 2013 the ongoing battle to preserve our heritage buildings would be, well, less of a battle. But apparently not. Eternal vigilance, lobbying, community unity and making a whole lot of noise is whats required. Keep on spreading the word Dave
by g;eno (score: 1|23) 1559 days ago
This sort of subject stirs up a lot of emotional debate. Buildings are not listed as "heritage" because they are merely of a certain age- they have to be a "good example" of an old building; worthy of being kept because of historical significance, architectural merit, building methods etc. There are plenty of crappy old buildings as well as new ones. Don't get me wrong- I'm all for preserving our heritage. The real problem with modern buildings is that they are all about cost- a developer generally won't spend money where he doesn't have to, therefore the aesthetics often suffer as a result. The key is to have a "design vision" for the city, to encourage & promote good design, and only approve buildings where the design, aesthetics, finishes, place etc have been carefully considered......the appointment of a Government Architect to oversee design may go some way to address this- SA was the last state to do this.
by James Newcombe (score: 2|359) 1560 days ago
Oh no, please don't let the government do that to beautiful Adelaide. These buildings are not just artistic, they are history, culture and the heritage of the people of Australia. How do we help the City Council hold on to these buildings?
by wct (score: 1|32) 1561 days ago
Sorry I meant "Dave"
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4379) 1561 days ago
Over the years as I've seen so many irreplaceable hand-crafted houses and buildings destroyed and replaced with cheap square boxes I come to believe Adelaide is actually 'run' by developers. Their lobby has infiltrated into local government and even Rundle Mall management. I travel a lot - all over the world. A perfect example of a GREAT city is New York and whoa betide any developer who wants to knock down anything or even breathe on sacred Central Park. In Adelaide if anyone dares to speak out they are abused, bullied and belittled. New York's got it right. It's a massive city but every district is full of family-run shops and businesses - little delis, little clubs, independent designers, fabulous healthy small supermarkets. Everyone lives on the streets after work grabbing food to eat in parks or filling the restaurants, cafes and bars. The sidewalks are packed with people everywhere til way after 10pm (shops close around 9:00). Massive supermarket multinationals have not pushed out all the little family corner stores, the personality and the community. New York, filled with thousands of old buildings, style, craftsmanship, community, life and excitement is how a city should be. Not cheap, grey boxes designed by developers who haven't an artistic bone in their body who have no understanding of community, creativity or soul. Every one of the comments on this site are pro-heritage, every time a building/house is knocked down a place of memories and integrity is lost and people mourn but our government turn a blind eye and the developers get what they want even if it means lengthy legal costs. Why can't Adelaide learn from the great cities of the world. Why can't our government stand strong. Why can't our great state be led by people with integrity, vision, creativity and truth.
by Keryn James (score: 1|38) 1462 days ago
Good for you David. As you know I don't live in your town but deeply respect Adelaide's architectural integrity. As a visitor I find it awe-inspring. Anything that can be done to preserve this is all important so well done for writing on this important topic.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4379) 1561 days ago
State labour's ongoing alienation of their support base and the community in general with toxic decisions is mind boggling. Have they decided they have no show at the next election, so are seeking other rewards? It reminds me of Glenelg Beach, which used to be a domain of the public but now more closely reflects a private West Lakes frontage. Am I correctly recalling developer links with the then mayor who departed shortly after? Shame! Bring on ICAC!!
by koj77 (score: 2|151) 1561 days ago
Seriously? And what is proposed to replace these grand old buildings. Some bland monstrosity of an office block when we have empty and unleased buildings all over town as it is? Governments don't seem to be able to look long-term and prefer to reduce our heritage to dust. How sad it will be for our great granchildren to be able to look at pictures of these lost old buildings instead of being able to walk around the city and see them for themselves.
by lilli (score: 1|73) 1559 days ago
if you'd like to see what "demolishing heritage buildings to replace them with quick profit buildings" really looks like, visit Victor harbor and see a town with the life and charm sucked right out of it.
by ahs (score: 0|5) 1557 days ago
The Trams were removed, then,at the cost of millions,have been returned. If a building really cannot be saved and be safe, then it must go. With the technology of today all the buildings can be made into something else without destroying them. They are not tall -- build over them -- even car parks. The companies are only trying to save money.
by brili (score: 1|28) 1557 days ago
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