Heritage Walking Trails in Adelaide
West's Coffee Palace (Formerly Grant's)
Few people walking about Adelaide city would be aware of the darker side of its past. The CBD today is largely safe and peaceful, but once crime flourished - particularly in the West End.
Crime is just one of several themes in heritage walking trails that have been mapped out to provide a guide to Adelaide history - and the city's part in Australian history.
New walks in the city have been released that cover such diverse themes as religion, vintage pubs, sculptures, housing, and education. Some are even available for your smartphone, allowing you to walk about Adelaide city, see brilliant photos of long gone buildings, and learn about the past as you walk.
The State Library
has released a series of walking trails showing the history of Adelaide for your smartphone (both Android and Apple), which can also be viewed on a computer although it's nowhere near as good.
The National Trust of SA
recently created a new Adelaide City Heritage website
dedicated to the city's architecture and built heritage. Their website includes several suggested tours
, complete with maps and some wonderful old photos that few people will have ever seen before.
Here's a quick look at a few of the tours.
Crime - Darkness in the City of Light
Rosina Street Monster Brothel was Near Here
The State Library's look at crime in Adelaide's West End brings out some startling aspects to the area, particularly around Hindley Street.
The Theatre Royal, once enormously popular and well known as a place of entertainment on Hindley Street was demolished in 1962 to make way for Miller Anderson's car park. Rather less well known was the Saddling Paddock
, the back bar where patrons were able to meet high class prostitutes dressed in satin and silk.
Those with less artistic inclinations were catered for not far away at the Rosina Street Monster Brothel and Sly Grog Shop. It was a rough area, and deaths were not uncommon such as this one in 1893
Plaza Hotel, Formerly the Grand Coffee Palace
The brothels moved away in the early years of the twentieth century and nothing remains of the premises today, although prostitution has never completely disappeared from the west end of the city.
This tour also looks at the role of Coffee Palaces
in the history of Adelaide, and how they brought Temperance amongst the intemperance of the times. In particular it looks at West's Coffee Palace (formerly Grant's), the Federal Coffee Palace (now the Grosvenor Hotel), and the Grand Coffee Palace (now the Plaza Hotel).
Darkness in the City of Light
looks at the dubious characters, "lurk merchants", and other undesirables that were once a part of the city landscape. The walking trail takes around 90 minutes to visit 15 locations, with 53 intriguing photos depicting the history of Adelaide.
Faith in the City
This walking trail
Inside St Francis Xavier Cathedral
from the National Trust passes nineteen sites of religious importance about Adelaide city, from Scots Church on North terrace to Smyth Memorial Chapel in the West Terrace Cemetery
Many locations have photos and a comprehensive description of the history of the building, including details of date of construction, the architect's name, and heritage status.
The Adelaide City Mosque
A few places such as the Adelaide City Mosque do not have background information, but you can find out more here
This tour offers a wonderful guide to Adelaide's places of religious importance, and would be useful to school students as well as people interested in history. Many of the places you visit on the walking trail are among the city's oldest buildings.
Adelaide Vintage Pubs
The Newmarket Hotel
The CBD has been well provided with pubs since the early days of the colony, and many pubs in Adelaide are of great heritage importance.
The Newmarket Hotel is where Colonel Light started to lay out his survey of the city, although the existing hotel was only built in 1884. It was also the origin of the "butcher" glass, moderately sized to enable butchers from the nearby market to have a quick drink.
The Kings Head, Cumberland Arms, and Flagstaff hotels are just some of the other pubs covered in this walking trail. Most are of the classic local pub style, with two storeys and an upstairs balcony which doubles as an awning.
The Cumberland Arms Hotel
If you feel hungry after taking the tour you may be tempted to look at our article on cheapest pub meals
about Adelaide city. It would be an appropriate way to reward yourself.
There is also a guide to Adelaide's community pubs in the south west corner
if you are in the area.
The Port Adelaide vintage pub trail
is a similar walk to try at the Port.
How to Take the Tours
The West Terrace Cemetery
The State Library walking trails home page is here
. It includes details of all available tours, and links for downloading the app to your smartphone or tablet. It's particularly handy if you have an in-built GPS on the phone.
The Powder Magazine, Part of the Crime & Mayhem Walking Trail
The walks on the Adelaide City Heritage website are not available as an app, but you can still browse the walks
using your phone or tablet and view information and photographs as you follow the walking trail.
The site is great to browse and also includes handy information about the heritage status of buildings, including those at risk. The Adelaide Walk of the Condemned
provides an insight to some of these buildings which are now at risk due to the Planning Minister's arbitrary refusal to grant heritage protection.