While they are certainly plentiful, there is more to the intriguing City of Churches than places of worship. On a recent weekend trip to Adelaide, not my first, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of things to see and do. Clad in my most comfortable walking shoes and armed with my trusty camera, I was kept constantly busy.
Staying in North Terrace puts you close to many of the city's iconic landmarks. Directly across from my hotel was Adelaide's lovely old railway station: not just an ordinary railway station but one that houses the city's Casino. Both places are worth exploring. Just a few metres along is the Classical styled Parliament House built in Kapunda marble. The first section was completed in 1889 but it was some 50 years later that the entire Parliament building was finished.
As I wandered along North Terrace, I happened to look up and was greeted by more than a few sprinkles of water from the cheeky window cleaners working on the neighbouring building, As it was the week-end of the Clipsal V8 motor racing event, I was also impressed by the presence of a V8 parked next door, all decked out in Jim Beam livery. I pushed on in search of my morning caffeine fix when, lo and behold, there before me was ..... the Coffee Cow - great service and great coffee.
Paying due deference to a statue of Matthew Flinders as I passed, I arrived at the War Memorial which perpetuates the courage, loyalty and sacrifice of those who served in The Great War. The design was drawn from two architectural competitions and work commenced in 1928 . It was completed three years later at a cost of 30,000 pounds. The relief is of marble and the inner walls are lined with bronze.
Standing back to take photos of the Memorial I noticed a lovely old solitary pine tree. I discovered according to the plaque beneath it, that "This tree represents the solitary Turkish Pine that stood on the Lone Pine battlefield at Gallipoli." As I moved away, I was accosted by a magpie. I briefly wondered if this was symbolic of things to come as the Collingwood Magpies were to play the Adelaide Crows in the next day's AFL match!
I wandered on past Government House with its round Guard House and wide expanse of lawn. Across the street I notice the beautiful 8 storey Art Deco Tobin House supplying accommodation for students from the nearby East Campus of the University of South Australia. This section of North Terrace is treed and has several well- maintained garden plots.
Separating the greenery from the footpath is an attractive rubble limestone wall which was rebuilt in 1987 on the same alignment as the walls of 1845 and 1862. In a garden of large ferns is a small Avenue of Honour depicting some of the city's notable characters. They ranged from the first policewoman, a pathologist, a jazz musician and an engineer to the leader of the Suffrage League, Mary Lee who was also, among several other things, the founding secretary of the Working Women's Trades Union. She was one very busy lady.
Noticing a beautiful old French Renaissance style building a little further along, I headed in its direction. It was the now Mortlake Wing of the State Library of South Australia and with its neighbours, the Art Gallery and the South Australian Museum, forms a cultural and architectural trio of fine buildings. A few students from the nearby University block were enjoying the multi-coloured canvas deck chairs on the lawn and several young children were playing opposite with large rubber blocks trying to build a sculpture.
There was a very large sculpture of a man seemingly made of newspaper, perched on a chair atop of a pedestal, several statues of royalty and 14 smooth black granite blocks over which flowed a thin veil of water, which when the light played on them, gave an intriguing effect.
The modern entrance to South Australia's Museum belies the building's history. Founded in 1856 in encompasses the world's largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts and houses displays of World Mammals, Fossils, Pacific Cultures, an Ancient Egyptian Room and a Mawson Gallery to name but a few.
When I visited, Built Tough an exhibition of Roman ingenuity was open to the public. It was enlightening to see the fore-runners of our modern day engineering and mathematical inventions in use so long ago. They were many exhibitions programmed for future dates so I'm sure there'll be no shortage of interesting features for you to visit, regardless of when you go.
If you like to see cities that retain heritage buildings, then this is the place to visit. An extensive section of North Terrace is occupied by both the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia and heritage buildings abound. My favourites included the two storey stone, Gothic Revival Mitchell Building built in 1879-1882 and the multi-turreted stone Bonython Hall. I was also impressed by several heritage red brick buildings one of which was the Barr Smith Library.
You've now had a tour of some of North Terrace's iconic buildings and there are many more. However, on a tour around this stately city I realised that I could spend weeks here and I still may not catch it all. I'm certainly going back to explore, so if you're having a short break in this City of Churches, head for North Terrace. It's a great place to start.