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Discover Adelaide's Churches During History Festival

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by Kat May (subscribe)
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Published April 30th 2016
A selection of fine old buildings open in May
Adelaide is known as the city of Churches, but how many of our grand and historic churches have you been to. Most of our unique churches welcome visitors at any time, or have open times each week to come and have a look inside. However during the SA History Festival Month of May, the following churches will have some extended opening times. So this presents an ideal opportunity to step inside and have a peek at some of the magnificent buildings of our City. Some of the churches listed here will have special history themed exhibits or have people on hand to give you a free guided tour and explain some of the features of the church architecture and artefacts.

Trinity Church, on North Terrace
Computer enhanced image with pen and ink detail by Out and About. Holy Trinity Church, North Terrace.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH- North Tce, corner of Morphett St, Adelaide.

What a sweet little gem of history. This small stone church is very old and is now dwarfed by many modern city buildings such as the Convention Centre building across the road on North Terrace. There is a free tram stop just under the overpass outside the old Lion Arts Centre building.

The staff here wanted me to let readers know they are happy to open the door at any time for visitors during business hours. However during May they will have special informative days where people will be on hand to show visitors historical aspects of the building and how they, as custodians are preserving this fine little building. The church will be open every day in May for you to take a look inside. Information tours will be held on these dates only: Sunday 15th 12.30-2pm, Monday 16th, Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th, Friday 20th 11 am to 2pm.

PILGRIM CHURCH- 12 Flinders St, Adelaide.

This delightful church next door to the Medina Grand Hotel, has played an important role in the City. It will welcome visitors to view some of the many items from their historical collection. Attendees will be on hand to give information on open weekdays in May (except for Wednesday's) from 12 noon 2pm. During the week Monday 23rd- Friday 27th it will open every day from 12- 2pm.


This church has been a feature of the Glenelg community for over 130 years. They will be open on the last weekend of May to show visitors the unique architecture and stained glass windows. They will have a fun scavenger hunt for families to look for items in the church. Teas will be served. Bookings for groups only. Open Friday 27th and Saturday 28th from 10-4pm and Sunday 29th 1- 4pm.


This big white church as a wealth of altar artefacts, icons and some rich decoration and colours. Learn about Orthodox religious practice on a guided tour. It will open on Wednesdays 4th, 11th, and 25th of May from 10 am- 2pm. Groups please book on


Nestled in the theatre district between Angas and Carrington Street, this is an interesting little church. During the reign of Queen Victoria everything was built in a decorative and ornate way. Built in 1886 in the high Victorian style this highly decorated church was in a poor part of the City in the days of early Adelaide. It will open every Sunday in May from 12noon to 2pm.

ST JOHN'S ANGLICAN CHURCH- 379 Halifax St, Adelaide.

Adelaide has some wonderful churches, mostly built of local stone, and materials such as stained glass windows that were made in England and Europe are also featured. This early church is a fine example. Since 1839 this was an important church in the colony. It has beautiful stained glass windows. You can view this church on one weekend only; Saturday 14th 10-11.30am and Sunday 15th 11- 3.30pm.

QUAKER MEETING HOUSE- 40A Pennington Tce, Nth Adelaide.

This historic meeting house has an interesting history as it came out from England on an early ship in pre- fabricated parts. Learn about this building and the role of the quakers today. Open one day only on Saturday 14th May 10-4pm

Scots Church, on North Terrace Adelaide
The church on the corner; Scot's Church, will be part of History Month during May. Image by Out and About.

SCOTS CHURCH Corner of Pultney St and North Tce, Adelaide.

This church is very active in the inner city community. I attended a Fringe event there. Everyone would know of this church located on the corner right on the city's cultural boulevard of North Terrace. It has been here for 165 years, making it one of Adelaide's first churches. Open days are Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-2pm, during May. It's a hop skip and jump from Rundle Mall, so stop a while and take a look inside and sit in the peace away from the frantic city streets. If you want to join a guided tour for information about the church they are at 11am on each of the open days above. Note the unusual pulpit which was carved from a single piece of wood. On the outside this church looks long and high, yet on the inside it seems to me to be very different, with a wide interior of wooden pews and twin aisles.

ST. AIDEN'S CHURCH PAYNEHAM- corner OG Rd and Payneham Rd, Marden.

This busy suburban Anglican parish church sits high on this prominent eastern suburbs streetscape. Some 30,000 cars pass here every day, but have you been inside? It was built of red bricks probably from the old brickworks on South Road.The bricks have an inlaid decorative pattern of darker brown bricks.They will hold one open day on Saturday 28th May from 10am- 3pm. See the stained glass, hear the historic organ, and enjoy Devonshire teas.

Stained glass window at St Peter's Cathedral North Adelaide. Image by Out and About.

ST. PETERS CATHEDRAL- King William St Nth Adelaide

If you don't know the location of this wonderful building then you must be new to Adelaide. During May, St Peter's staff and volunteers will be contributing a worthy collection of historical activities for the interest of Adelaide citizens and visitors. In normal times the Cathedral, belonging to the Anglican Church is always open during business hours for anyone to seek reflection, peace and prayer. However if you have always driven past and wondered what it looks like inside, then here is your chance. If you are interested at all in old buildings or the historical part the Cathedral has played in the City of Adelaide then here is your chance to learn all about it.

St Peters Cathedral History Tours
An outstanding piece of Adelaide's architecture is the St Peter's Cathedral in North Adelaide. Image by Out and About.

This Gothic Revival Cathedral will have a guided tour which will focus on the historical and religious symbolism of this cathedral. Tour held on Wednesdays at 11am and Sundays at 12.30pm. This church has a vast collection of ancient items and some will be shown in a special historical exhibit for history month. These special exhibits, not usually on show, will be held in the rooms at the rear of the Cathedral. It will be open every day in May Monday to Saturday 9.30 4pm.

A very special event for the history festival is the ancient and deeply rooted tradition of 'Choral Evensong'. The cathedral invites people to attend and join the choir in singing. Or you can just sit and listen. From 4pm on every Wednesday in May there will be a guided tour, then the choir will begin at 5.15pm. This is at a special time where people can come directly from work as it is a thanks for the end of the day. To hear a choral choir in this cathedral would be a special event to attend.

Do get out and visit one or more of our City's beautiful churches. These special opening times are a great way to take children into a church. Children often are naturally curious about churches and paying a visit is a way to teach a lesson in respect and appropriate behaviour by being quiet and listening and observing. While researching this article I took a four year old to one church, and she was so quiet and very interested. No matter what your religious beliefs, a church will always welcome you to sit and reflect in peace, and we all need a little of that from time to time.
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When: Various times during May- check Festival website for more details.
Cost: Free entry- afternoon teas where provided at cost.
Your Comment
A nice list and useful. The photo of Holy Trinity (the first listed) seems to bring out a difference in stone work as if the bell tower had been built at a later stage than the body of the church and the base with the clock.
by (score: 2|555) 1549 days ago
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