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Published March 20th 2016
A handbook for urban exploration in Adelaide
Urban Exploration Adelaide: Last Refuge of a Religious Cult
There are many awesome Adelaide places where you can find relics of South Australia's achievements in history. Many are abandoned places, or in disused buildings. Some are now ruins. Some are buried deep in underground bunkers. Others are just forgotten in time.
Let us be your guide to some awesome Adelaide sights which have been shared on urbex groups such as Urban Exploration Adelaide. But please remember - urban exploration is about looking, and taking photographs. Not taking souvenirs, or leaving your own mark for Adelaide history.
Religious Statues in an Abandoned Carmelite Convent
Disused Buildings A deserted monastery in Adelaide once echoed to the haunting strains of Gregorian chant. Founded in 1935, the Carmelite nuns have now deserted the abandoned convent hidden behind high walls, taking their dead with them. The monastery silently awaits redevelopment.
The Flying Fox Used at the Brighton Cement Works (Image: State Library SA B60068)
Cement Hill south of Adelaide has long been a favourite for urban explorers. Originally a cement works opened in 1882, production continued for around 100 years before the factory finally closed. During the factory's heyday, a giant flying fox carried stone to the Brighton Cement Works from Reynella quarry. What an awesome Adelaide innovation.
Brick Kiln at Cement Hill - an Urbex Adelaide Destination
Today Cement Hill has many disused buildings that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Three massive kilns and huge sheds litter the landscape. Vandals and graffiti artists have damaged and tagged much of the ruins while councils and developers plan the site's future.
The Star Line Drive In entertained people for decades until it closed in 1984. While many have memories of being smuggled in the boot of a car for a cheap movie, my memories of the burgers are best left buried. Today the big screen lies abandoned and disused as campaigns come and go to reopen the derelict drive in.
Next door a disused college silently awaits new occupants. It may be a long wait. The only sign of life is the street art on the walls and tyre skid marks in the car park.
St Francis Xavier Seminary, Later Hosanna Heights - Destined for the 'Dozer
This sanctified seminary trained priests near Morialta Conservation Park. In 1941 a fleet of trams and buses brought more than 4,000 of the Catholic faithful here to receive a blessing from Pope Pius XII when the seminary foundation stone was laid. Now most of this former heritage listed site is being demolished.
Not only are there disused buildings in Adelaide, but you can find them all about South Australia. There are disused railway stations littering the SA countryside, many of them such as these in the Gilbert Valley are heritage listed. They all have a story - such as these in the Adelaide Hills.
Hidden Secrets Tunnel explorers and drain devotees are the main audience for the street art in Adelaide's tunnels. These tunnels at St Peters (known to some as Zorga's Tomb) house an awesome Adelaide collection of street art.
Hidden Secrets at Romilly House - A Long Forgotten Club
Heritage listed Romilly House at Hackney has a long history, including as a sixties music club where Patsy Biscoe sang. Fancifully code named "Godric's Hollow" by one urbex writer, Romilly House offers budget rental accommodation now. You can find a video about life in Romilloy House here.
Pneumatic Tube System & Polished Panelling From 1921 at This Shoe Store
The attractive CJ Young shoe store building in Rundle Mall conceals its own hidden secrets. A pneumatic tube system to convey cash, and walls panelled with polished cedar were both installed in 1921. They are still there today - just dustier.
Long Forgotten History
Murray Bridge once played a vital role for SA as a transport hub. You can find lost relics of our awesome Adelaide history scattered around the wharf, and in the disused rail yards. Abandoned remains of railway history are easily found for those who look.
Long Forgotten: The Awesome Adelaide History of Mitcham Water Tank
Mitcham was an important village in the early days of SA. Its water supply came from Brownhill Creek, and was stored underground for summer. The storage chamber still exists today, hidden from view on private property. We call it an underground tank, although others call it more flamboyantly "McElligotts Sarcophagus".
The Lost Cactus Ranch lives on in the memories of the old. Few people under fifty would know of its existence. It too is succumbing to the forces of nature.
Abandoned Amusement Parks - The Ruins of Lakeside Leisure Park
Abandoned Amusement Parks
Adelaide has its fair share of abandoned amusement parks. Perhaps the best known is Puzzle Park Murray Bridge. While Dazzeland at the Myer Centre has long gone, the ruins of the Lakeside Leisure Park still remain.
Another fantastic article , between your articles and AYAT I find out about so many things and places I had no idea existed or you remind me of things from the past that have been in the deep dark recesses of my mind for years . Thanks
Yes the handful of elderly Carmelite nuns relocated to a house in a beachside suburb (though I doubt that that is where their dead have gone!) and the convent property was sold to a developer who may consider that allowing structures to collapse is cheaper than demolishing them.
My former workplace, the TAFE college, is no doubt a victim of privatisation in the education sector. It was recently on the market - available for a song.