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9 Drawcard Locations on North Terrace (West) Adelaide

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by Graeme Fanning (subscribe)
I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/Down-to-Earth-Tours-1491827191071798/
Published October 10th 2020
Interesting spots along the western end of North Terrace
Located on the fringe of the CBD of Adelaide, North Terrace today is a long wide boulevard comprising of an interesting blend of historic heritage buildings juxtaposed with 21st-century infrastructure.

The western half of North Terrace stretches from King William Street, all the way down to West Terrace, and within this area are state of the art medical facilities, pubs and other eateries, a historic church, railway station and Parliament buildings. Here are 9 worthy locations of further investigation, should you take a wander down that way:

Skycity Casino Chandellier
Skycity Casino Chandellier


1. Newmarket Hotel

This historic hotel is sadly no longer open for us to enjoy but up to this point still stands as a silent sentinel to another era, located on the corner of North and West Terraces in the city. It stands on the very first acreage allocated by Colonel William Light back in January 1837 and nearby, you can view the very spot where that initial trigonometrical survey was conducted.

The hotel itself was originally built in 1847 and was known as the Newmarket Inn, right up until the 1880s when the hotel was rebuilt and renamed the Newmarket Hotel. The name New Market comes from the livestock market and slaughterhouse which operated opposite the site, in what is today the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, adjacent to West Terrace/North Terrace.

An interesting little tale emanates from an association between the New Market Inn and the nearby meat markets, which reportedly gave rise to the "butcher" beer glass sold at the pub. It is alleged that the meat workers only had a short break to rush across the road to the pub and grab something to eat and drink, hence the birth of one of our smaller beer glasses. The livestock markets finally closed during the 1920s.

Once the pub was rebuilt during the 1880s, a female publican by the name of Frances Badman held the licence for over 20 years.

The pub operated for many years with nightclubs incorporated into the complex, including Bojangles during the 1970s, which then became Joplins. In 1993, the first supper club in Adelaide opened at the site, Heaven, which ran for many years, finally closing in the early 2000s. It then re-opened as the premier nightspot in Adelaide known as HQ, which shut down in January 2017.

Currently, the site is being mooted for re-development, with the proposed building of a $200 million, 24 storey residential and retail tower. It is believed the 1880s historic hotel will remain as part of the complex - a big sigh of relief! It will be interesting to see how the site eventually transforms.

Newmarket Hotel
Newmarket Hotel


2. SAHMRI

One of the eye-catching newer developments down the western end of the city is SAHMRI (short for South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute), affectionately known as "The Cheese Grater" for obvious reasons.

This complex was first built in November 2013, being South Australia's first independent flagship health and medical research institute and is home to over 700 medical researchers, all there to try and tackle the biggest health challenges in society today.

The building itself is worth exploring as it boasts a gold star rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Features include energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as water efficiency, including rainwater harvesting and the reuse of processed water.

The exterior of the building was apparently inspired by the skin of a pine cone and lends itself to an articulated sunshade dealing with sunlight, heat load, glare as well as wind deflection, whilst maintaining daylight as well as views.

Research themes are based around women and children's health, Aboriginal health, precision medicine (which is all about studying patient's responses to varying diseases and conditions, such as cancer) as well as lifelong health.

An excellent way to experience, not just the building but learn about what SAHMRI is all about, is to book on one of their regular tours which currently operate as public tours every fortnight on a Thursday at 3.30 pm. Tickets are $10 per head. Tours can be booked via Eventbrite. SAHMRI also caters for private groups and school groups.

Stay tuned for SAHMRI 2, which is currently under construction, and will be known as Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy, specialising in cancer research. The centre has been named after the Braggs, father and son, who won the joint Nobel Laureate Prize for Physics in 1915 for their work with Crystallography, which is used when you have an x-ray at the doctors. They were well known for their prototype x-ray machine developed around that time.

The 15 storey complex is predicted to be finished by late 2023 with the first patients expected to be treated approximately 18 months later.

SAHMRI Building
SAHMRI Building


3. The Old Metters Building

I'm always fascinated and curious to find some of our older buildings still adorned with the signage associated with its past usage. One of these is a building with the lettering "Metters Limited".

Metters were a former brand of stoves and ovens established by Frederick Metters, back when he formed the Metters Company in 1891 in Adelaide. His two brothers had already established a similar business in Melbourne some years earlier. Frederick formed a partnership with Henry Spring back in 1894 and expanded the business into NSW by the early 1900s.

Spring eventually bought out the company in1908 and went on to produce an expanded product range and manufacturing in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.

Metters were well known for their wood stoves, having engineered a stove which was fired with wood for the hob, featuring an oven below. Pots and pans could be exposed to direct heat by removing small plates recessed in the cooking surface.

By the 1930s Metters were producing their iconic two coloured cream and green enamel gas stoves, with their trademark logo being a kookaburra eating a worm, hence the brand being known as "Early Kooka".

Metters were eventually acquired by Email Limited in 1974 and went on to trade until the mid-1980s, still selling Metter's products up to that time. Both gas and electric kitchen cookers were being sold and at one time, Metters also produced windpumps amongst many other items.

Metters even fielded their own soccer team in Sydney from the 1920s until the early 1950s. Sadly, all that reminds us of their existence is some lettering on a building on North Terrace.

Former Metters Building
Former Metters Building


4. Holy Trinity Church

If you are into old churches, then you can't go past this one, being the oldest one in South Australia, Holy Trinity Church.

The original permanent building dates right back to 1838 with the first minister, Reverend Charles Howard, having arrived on one of the earliest ships, "The Buffalo" in 1836. Prior to the permanent building, there was a prefab structure, funded by the South Australian Church Society, but it was deemed not suitable for its intended purpose and soon deteriorated.

The foundation stone for the 1838 building was laid by our first Governor Hindmarsh with a rebuild in 1845. This church became the very first diocese for the Anglicans, until such time Christ Church was built in North Adelaide, followed by St Peter's Cathedral, which today is the main Anglican place of worship.

Extensions were added in the 1880s when it was transformed into its current Victorian Gothic style. Twentieth-century additions include galleries, the organ loft and extra vestry space.

The site also includes a vestry dating from the 1850s (now an office), a Parish Hall from the 1880s, a smaller hall, a creche, cottage, offices and a large car park.

Within the last decade, Trinity Church has opened new churches at 4 locations, namely Aldgate, Hove, Modbury and Colonel Light Gardens.

It is interesting that the clock in the tower of the church was originally deemed as Adelaide's town clock, with this area being regarded as the centre of the city. The clock was modelled by the clockmaker to King William 1V, Vulliamy and was erected in 1838.

The land on which the historic church stands was originally owned by Pascoe St Leger Grenfell (of whom Grenfell Street in the city is named after), who donated it for the church. In fact, the memorial organ is known as Grenfell Memorial Organ in memory of Mr Grenfell.

Both Grenfell and Raikes Currie (Currie Street) were high profile Anglicans, who formulated a committee in England two years prior to white settlement (1834) with the intention of soliciting funds to support the creation of an Anglican congregation in the new colony of South Australia.

If you haven't toured the inside of the church, it is worth taking a peek. Check the website for opening hours.

Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church


5. Lion Arts Centre

On the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street lies a historic building dating back to 1906, designed by architect Frank Counsell. When you look closer at the facade, you will notice a lion's head referencing its former life as Fowler's Lion factory, which produced flour as well as many other brands and products right up until the mid-1950s, wherein the factory was no longer used. It is no, however, the original lion displayed today, the first one being moved when D & J Fowler changed locations. The current one only dates from 1988.

D & J Fowler were taken over by Southern Farmers in 1982/83.

During the 1970s some of the spaces within the building were adopted for the Adelaide Fringe Festival, which included live music, known as the Fringe Club.

In 1992, the spaces were converted into an Arts Centre, becoming known as the Lion Arts Centre.

Today, the centre comprises several tenants including the State Theatre Company and Nexus Arts. The Jam Factory and Mercury Cinema complex are adjacent and sometimes considered part of the overall centre.

The centre has since 2000 been considered a music hub with the Lion Arts factory commencing in 2019, an amalgamation of people involved with Five Four Entertainment, the nearby West Oak Hotel, and Frame Creative. The emphasis will be on live music covering varying genres including heavy metal, rock and goth, punk, electric, hip-hop and house.

Lion Arts Centre
Lion Arts Centre


6. Adelaide Railway Station/Skycity Casino

For over 80 years, an Adelaide landmark, the current Adelaide Railway Station was built back in 1928 of reinforced concrete but in a neo-classical style, at the time an expensive undertaking.

Prior to its building, the state of railways in the early 1920s in South Australia was abysmal. The State Government at the time decided to bring over from the US, William Alfred Webb, who was appointed as the new Railway Commissioner. His brief was to make major changes with vast improvements to the entire rail system.

Webb built stronger bridges and bought bigger locomotives and also decentralised railway administration, giving greater control to divisional superintendents. Within a few years, Webb had revolutionised the state's railways.

Webb then came up with plans back in 1924 to build a new city station, so as to accommodate larger passenger numbers. Unfortunately, the budget was well and truly blown once the building was finally completed in 1928.

It was said that Webb's spending contributed to the State of South Australia, almost becoming bankrupt the following year. As the Great Depression set in, Webb returned to the US with his reputation somewhat tarnished.

Until 1984, the central station serviced both metropolitan as well as regional and interstate rail, however, following that time, interstate rail moved out to Keswick.

Today there are six metropolitan lines remaining, a far cry from the heyday of railways.

Two floors of the Adelaide Railway station have been occupied since 1985 by Skycity Casino, a New Zealand based company. Today Skycity Adelaide is the city's 10th biggest employer and injects around $30 million into the State's economy each year.

In January of this year, the old grand public dining room was refurbished and reopened as the Guardsman where old meets new. Opening hours are returning to normal following COVID-19 with the bar and restaurant open from Tuesdays to Thursdays 11 am to 9 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 11 pm. The cafe is also open Monday to Friday from 7 am until 1 pm.

Adelaide Railway Station
Adelaide Railway Station


7. Old and New Parliament House

Two of the more imposing buildings along North Terrace would have to be both old and new Parliament House, near the corner of North Terrace and King William Road in the city.

The original parliament house building dates back to the 1840s, however, extensions were made in the 1850s at the time South Australia was granted self- government from Britain (Responsible Government).

By the 1880's it was believed Parliament House was deemed too small for the number of politicians required to work within its confines, so money was raised to build what is our current Parliament Building. The western end dates from 1889 and due to slumps in the economy, depression, labour shortages as well as material shortages, the entire building took 50 years to build, the eastern end not completed until the onset of World War 2 in 1939. The original plans of the building showed a dome on the top of the building, resembling that of St Paul's Cathedral in London, however, due to a lack of finances, that never eventuated.

Like many other older buildings in Adelaide and South Australia, we have to thank philanthropists who poured money into a lot of our infrastructure at times when governments had little to spare. The Bonython family donated to have the eastern end completed in the 1930s, the finished building matching almost exactly to the 1880s end, having used local granite (from an island near Kangaroo Island) and marble (from Kapunda).

Some of the firsts for South Australia as a result of Parliamentary proceedings have included the adoption of a legal provision that evidence from Aborigines could be accepted in courts of law (1840s), being the first part of the British Empire to legalise trade unions (1870s), being the second place in the world to grant women the vote (1894) and the first place in the world to allow women in parliament and represent people (1894), decriminalisation of homosexuals (1975) and the first Australian state to make discrimination based on age unlawful (1991). South Australia was also the first place in the British Commonwealth(previously Empire) to have women police (1915).

South Australia was also mooted as the first place in Australia to recognise the stand-alone Aboriginal flag which still flies in Victoria Square today (1971).

There are many other firsts, including our groundbreaking advancements in recycling plastics, as well as getting rid of plastic shopping bags and more recently, ban on single-use plastics including straws.

Old and New Parliament House
Old and New Parliament House


8. Sean's Kitchen

You can't help working up an appetite when you are exploring the city, so one of the great places to eat around town is Sean's Kitchen, described as a high-end New York-style brasserie with a mouth-watering menu to boot.

Run by Sean Connelly, a multi-award winning chef who has worked in various restaurants around the world, the brasserie is housed in the historic Adelaide Railway station building.

From fire pit prepared steaks to great seafood, it is not the cheapest eat out, however, you will not be disappointed. Main courses vary between $25 and $65, examples being Spencer Gulf King Prawn Linguine for $36, South Australian Flat Head Trunk for $42 and 250g Mayura Station Wagyu Beef for $49.

You may prefer a shared plate of a 1.1 kg Lamb Shoulder for $85 which comes with liquorice gravy and star anise. Desserts can be picked up for $14 each serve.

If you like a good range of locally sourced produce as well as beverages, then Sean is very supportive of local industries.

Sean's Kitchen is open from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch from 12 Noon until 2.30 pm and dinner from 5.30 pm until late. You will find the brasserie just off North Terrace on Station Road.

Sean's Kitchen
Sean's Kitchen


9. Madame Hanoi

If you like a good blend of French and Vietnamese cuisine, then you should check out Madame Hanoi, also housed on North Terrace within the historic Adelaide Railway station building.

For all you vegans, Madame Hanoi caters well for you, with a vegan menu ranging in price from $4 through to $29. Examples are Crispy Fried Eggplant with sticky soy sauce for $9 and Vietnamese Coconut Vegetable Curry with Chili Salt for $29.

For the rest of you, the main course menu boasts a choice of smaller or larger serves which is a great idea dependent upon your appetite. For the larger serves, prices range from $22 through to $39, an example being Beef Pho, Braised Short Rib, Broth, Rice Noodles, Thai Basil and Lime for $22.

The smaller serves will set you back between $12 and $27.

One of the more intriguing desserts is Vietnamese Beer and Lychee Creme Brulee which will cost you $14.

If you like the idea of a banquet, so that you can try a good range of cuisine, then it will set you back $60 per person, including dessert.

Madame Hanoi is an experience not to be missed and is open for lunch Tuesdays to Thursdays 11 am - 2.30 pm and dinner 5 pm - 9 pm. The restaurant is open on Fridays and Saturdays between 11 am and 11 pm.

Madame Hanoi
Madame Hanoi


These are but a selection of some of the interesting spots which can be found as you wander down the western section of North Terrace. By using all of your senses, I'm sure you will discover even more.
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Phone: 08 8203 7203
Where: North Terrace Adelaide
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