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Government House Open Day

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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Feel like a Queen for the day
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Come to Government House Adelaide for a Free Open Day

Government House Adelaide is the residence of state Governor, the representative of the Queen in South Australia. Completed in 1840 this attractive Georgian-Regency style building has an Open Day periodically, where the public are welcome to explore the house and gardens.

Government House Open Day is the perfect opportunity to see the State Rooms where so much of South Australia's history has been decided over 175 years. After entering the Government House gates you walk through the magnificently manicured gardens, with the rumble of traffic in Adelaide slowly fading behind you.

Pass through the formal State Entrance where official guests are received by the butler or footmen before being presented to the Governor in the Adelaide Room. Here you may be lucky to catch musical performances from talented local musicians before you move on to the grand Ballroom - scene of the murder of Police Inspector Pettinger in 1862. The murderer was soon arrested: John Seaver was another policeman who had been dismissed by Inspector Pettinger for drunkenness. Seaver was quickly put on trial, convicted and found guilty, then hanged at Adelaide Gaol.

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Government House Ballroom and the Federation Windows

These days the Government House Ballroom is used to host State receptions, and the beautiful Federation windows at the north end are an attractive highlight of the room. They would be eminently comparable with others you will see on the Sacred Glass walking tour from the National Trust.

Peek into the Governor's Study, or pass on to the impressive Library where the Executive Council meets weekly to promulgate government legislation and important decisions. When I visited there were newspaper cuttings on display, one detailing the visit of Governor-General Lord Gowrie and his inspection of Fort Largs in 1940. It helped to give a sense of the history of Government House Adelaide, which once had a far more important active role in government than the largely ceremonial role today.

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Government House Dining Room and Chandelier Lighting

The State Dining Room at Government House is furnished simply yet elegantly, equipped with silver and fine glassware. The menu shows that the food and wine from South Australia is served to guests. Indeed some produce and herbs are grown very near by - in the gardens. On the eastern side of the building is the smaller Hindmarsh Dining Room which is used for more smaller and more intimate meals.

Moving on through large and small Drawing Rooms returns us to the State Entrance once more, and an opportunity to explore the beautifully laid out Government House gardens. Buy something to eat and relax while the kids play in the garden. Enjoy refreshments on the lawns whilst listening to the musical groups entertain you. Or grab a coffee and take a free guided tour of the grounds with the Friends of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Adelaide Bee Sanctuary volunteers will be present all day to explain the benefits of the new Government House beehive.

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Government House Gardens with Food and Entertainment

Entry to Government House Adelaide is free on the Open Day, although a gold coin donation is welcome to support the nominated charity. See the Government House website for more information.
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Why? See the centre of power in South Australia
When: 10am - 4pm
Where: Government House Adelaide
Cost: Free, gold coin donation optional
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