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Adelaide Town Hall Open Day

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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The Opening Ball at Adelaide Town Hall in 1866 (Image: State Library SA B3749)


The Adelaide Town Hall Open Day is a rare chance to discover first-hand the history of this grand building, and an opportunity to take a free behind the scenes peek at areas generally off-limits to the public.

The day will be as exciting for young people with inquisitive minds as for seasoned history and architecture buffs. Expect fun activities for kids, interactive displays, and fascinating insights from Adelaide City Council's tour guides.

The town hall was completed in 1866 as a rather smaller building than at present. It had a clock tower when it was built, but the Adelaide City Council could not afford to install a clock back then. Finally, Sir John Lavington Bonython, an Alderman and former Lord Mayor generously agreed to donate a clock as a gift to the city. It was to be installed in time for the State's centenary the following year.

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Adelaide Town Hall & Eagle Chambers in 1880 (Image: State Library SA B62414-1-26)


On the northern side of the town hall, Eagle Chambers was originally a separate building, while to the south there was a handy watering hole for councillors, the Prince Alfred Hotel. Both were later incorporated into the main town hall building.

As you will discover on the Adelaide Town Hall Open Day, there have been many momentous occasions here. Visiting members of the Royal Family, Visitors of State, and other dignitaries have been welcomed to the City of Adelaide. Perhaps the best-known event was when the Beatles arrived in 1964 - more than 300,000 people turned up to greet the iconic Fab Four at the Adelaide town hall.

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The City of Adelaide Council Chambers


The Adelaide Town Hall elegant interior has hosted a wide range of events: the first bird show in Adelaide, Royal banquets, flower shows, the Lord Mayor's Children's Ball, a human chess game, cabarets, concerts and choirs, and many organ performances. There have been countless of visitors to the town hall since it opened.

You can find out more about the history of the town hall or see more details about the free Open Day online. The event is also listed on the City of Adelaide Facebook page.

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The Decorative Ceiling of the Banqueting Hall at Adelaide Town Hall


If you're coming to this free open day, then don't miss the free Government House Open Day which also happens around the same time. For anyone who can't make it to the town hall on that day, there are regular free tours of Adelaide Town Hall.

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The Grand Portico of Adelaide Town Hall

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Why? Take a sneak peek at where the City of Adelaide councillors hang out
When: 10am - 4pm
Where: Adelaide Town Hall
Cost: Free!
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