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Published April 8th 2017
Gilles Street - a street of contrasts
Exploring some of the lesser known and frequented streets of Adelaide has unearthed some real gems - you think you know Adelaide and then something takes you by surprise!
Gilles Street, which runs from King William Street in an easterly direction all the way to East Terrace, has a great mixture of newer city living apartments, heritage in the form of cottages, villas, terrace houses and mansions as well as schools, cafes and other businesses. There is even development going on in the grounds of St Andrews Hospital, promising even better state-of-the-art facilities at the site.
Wandering down the street, which was named after Osmond Gilles, South Australia's first Colonial Treasurer, I discovered 9 interesting finds amongst many others, which are listed below:
1. Arab Steed Hotel
Together with the General Havelock Hotel, the Arab Steed Hotel was one of the early hotels erected in the south-eastern corner of the city, originally in 1849. During the 1870's a new hotel was built on the site, a 2-storey affair boasting 16 rooms.
The terrace houses adjacent to the hotel were built around the same time, to complement each other, although 2 separate owners.
Today the iconic pub caters for the local community as well as visitors to the area, which ramps up during Clipsal V8's time in March of each year.
For re-charging, The Arab Steed offers a good range of food on their menus including tasting plates, traditional pub fare, as well as burgers, schnitzels, salads and seafood.
Their classic tasting plate will cost you around $25 and includes SA Olives, Chorizo, home-made dip, Aranchini, marinated Feta, sun-dried Tomatoes, Pita and Turkish Bread.
Mains will vary between $18 and $32, and they even do lunch time specials for around $14, which include Chicken Caesar Wraps, Veg Wraps and Chicken Burgers.
For 10 years and under, they also have kids specials which will cost you $12, which includes a main course, a fruit box, a paddle pop and a kid's activity pack.
The Arab Steed is open for lunch from 12 Noon to 3 pm Mondays to Thursdays and for dinner, the same days from 6 pm - 9 pm. For the other days, it is all day dining from 12 Noon to 9 pm. You will find The Arab Steed at 141 Hutt Street, on the corner of Gilles Street in the city.
If you really want to step back in time, you'll be amazed like I was when I came across the old Beresford Arms Inn, dating from 1839, very early in our State's history.
Today the Inn is a private residence, having ceased operation as an inn back in 1861.
The hotel was named after Viscount Beresford, a colleague of Colonel William Light who served with him in the military fighting the French Army in Spain. The first licence granted to the hotel was in 1840, and by 1851 consisted of 8 rooms and stabling for horses. In 1856 the hotel changed names to the Oddfellows Arms.
The Beresford Arms is one of the oldest buildings remaining in the city and offers a unique example of early Adelaide hotels. Following a fire in 2001, the owners painstakingly restored the inn in conjunction with the Adelaide City Council.
Tucked back from Gilles Street with a large size block is a 2 storey terrace style house dating from the 1870's. Today it is the home of the French Consular Agency, whose prime purpose is to assist and authorise a range of documents for people of French nationality.
The Astor Hotel, like many others in Adelaide went through a plethora of name changes before the current name was adopted. Originally the hotel was established in 1858 as the "Labour in Vain', followed by "Perseverance" in 1862, the Hanson Hotel in 1952 and finally the Astor Hotel in 1991.
It was said to be the original home of "2 Dogs Lemonade" crafted by the late Australian Brewer Duncan McGillivray.
Today the Astor is a popular live music venue and has been tastefully re-designed and renovated, offering several function rooms ranging for capacity from 35 to 180.
The Astor offer a bargain lunch menu for only $12, on offer from 11 am to 3 pm daily and some of the meals include Chicken Wrap, Steak Sandwich, Warm Chicken Salad, Fish and Chips and a Chicken Schnitzel.
For dinner, the mains vary between $17.90 and $28.90. For pub classics, the price range is $16.90 to $26.90.
For kids, the menu offers $10 specials. There are also daily specials for around $10 - $12 and include burgers, schnitzels, steak and salt and pepper squid.
The pub is open from 11 am until late, 7 days a week and is located on the corner of Pulteney Street and Gilles Street in the city.
Just off Gilles Street in Corryton Street lies some great examples of row cottages dating from the 1870's/1880's, built at a time when the population of this part of the city was starting to grow and many people were seeking to live in the city to be close to their places of work.
Within the shadow of the great mansions of East Terrace, built on prosperity and financial success of wealthy businessmen, you can see a marked contrast of these worker's cottages.
This large mansion fronting onto East Terrace, gracing the corner of Gilles Street in the city, St Corantyn was originally built in the early 1890's for a businessman by the name of Charles Hornabrook, who at one time was licensee of the York Hotel on the corner of Rundle and Pulteney Streets, Adelaide.
When the home was built, it was named "Eothen" and was designed by Hornabrook's brother-in-law, renowned architect George Klewitz Soward, of English and Soward.
The home was eventually sold to Malcolm Reid of furniture emporium fame and he owned it for a 16 year period, from 1912 - 1928. Then the Bonython family bought it, and re-named the house "St Corantyn".
In 1962, after Sir John Bonython's death, the house was sold to the SA Health Commission and became a mental health services day hospital for many years. Today the house is privately owned and has been up for sale for many months, boasting 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and room for 6 cars. Not sure what the asking price is nowadays, but at one stage it was being advertised for a cool $5.9 million.
The property also includes original servants quarters and a completely renovated coach-house.
Housed in a heritage double storey building is Fawn Coffee, which on a fine day looks really inviting with its outdoor tables and chairs. The heritage building together with adjacent house dates from the early 1870's, and nearby terrace housing dating from the 1880's. All were originally built for a printer and compositor from London by the name of Charles Williams.
Fawn Coffee has been operating at the site only since March 2016 and offers breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake, with the emphasis on good coffee!
Fawn also have a great range of home-made sandwiches ranging between $8.50 and $9.50 including Cajun Spiced Chicken with Avocado and Lime Mayonnaise.
For breakfast, they do Eggy Crumpets, topped with bacon and maple syrup for $14. If you are into herbal teas, they also have a lemon and honey one for $3.50.
The cafe is open from 7.30 am until 4 pm Mondays to Saturdays and can be found at 269 Gilles Street.
Gilles Street Primary School is one of the few public schools in the CBD and was originally started up in 1900 to serve the community of the south-eastern corner of the city.
In a school originally designed for 500 students, it was soon overflowing with almost 600 students in the first few months of its opening. Finally, a new infant school was opened in 1919, followed by an extra primary building in 1926.
From 1920 until 1961, two separate schools operated at the site, the Gilles Street Practising School and the Gilles Street Infant Practising School. Both played important roles in teacher training as practising schools for student teachers.
From 1962 the two schools were amalgamated into one, becoming Gilles Street Primary School.
Today the school continues to operate, with one of their most recent projects being "Gilles Street Remembers" in alignment with the ANZAC Centenary. The whole idea is focused around the role former students and teachers played in World War One. One of the aims of the school will be to re-create an historical walking trail of sites in the City of Adelaide of significance to former students of Gilles Street Primary.
The school also offers an intensive English Language Program for students of non-English speaking families.
Within the confines of the school beats the heart of one of the great weekend markets, the Gilles Street Market, which is held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the month, from October to May, between the hours of 10 am until 4 pm. Note that there will not be any market on Easter Sunday, resuming on Sunday 7 May.
The markets themselves are entirely fashion and accessory related, bringing together the talents of young South Australian designers
Not far down from the King William Street corner at 19 Gilles Street lies The Bowery, which specialises in Italian cuisine.
The establishment is modern and fresh looking, located on the ground floor of a newish apartment complex. The past has been blended successfully with the present, with the presence of a piece of artwork referring to Osmond Gilles and our colonial past.
A Bowery full breakfast will set you back $18 and consists of poached eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado, mushrooms with ciabatta. Toasted Granola served with fresh fruits, yoghurt and skim milk will cost you $11.90.
The weekly pasta and Italian specialties will cost you between $16.90 and $22.90 whereas mains for dinner will be anywhere between $25.50 and $35.50.
Lunch is also available from $9.90 to $24.50 including Scaloppina Romana and Seafood Risotto.
Bowery is open 7 am until 5 pm on Mondays, 7 am until 9 pm Tues to Thursdays, 7 am until 10.30 pm on Fridays and 8 am until 2 pm and 5 pm until 10.30 pm on Saturdays.
Graeme..I always enjoy reading your articles and this one highlighting a very nice part of the city.The Bowery Kitchen I have not been to,but have it on mylist.The Arab Steed.. the name intrigues me...is a popular place...it is the only pub you can get an old fashioned milk shake at the bar.The last time I had one there it was served in the old metal container, which are rare now ,but are ideal for milk shakes served ice cold.
What is now the southern half of Pulteney st was once called Hanson st, hence the one-time hotel name.
Some good lookings in this list. For those short of time, the tram is at one end of the street, the Hutt st Buses at the other, and the Connector just in Halifax st.