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The Grand Central and the intolerant evangelist
Just as the traffic lights changed and it was my turn to cross the road I espied a brass plaque out of the corner of my eye. Not wanting to miss the green light I quickly opened my camera and snapped a picture of the plaque with the view of looking at it later.
It really is amazing the sort of obscure things you find in places if you keep your eyes open. The plaque commemorates a visit to Adelaide in 1920 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom my well read readers will immediately identify as the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
Perhaps, like myself, you may not have been aware that Doyle, in addition to being a writer, was a spiritualist and his visit to Adelaide was part of a three month visit to Australia promoting that aspect of his life and seeking converts.
In an interview with The West Australian newspaper he explained how, during the then recent WWI he had seen evidence of spirits of the departed returning and how he had felt compelled to come to Australia to let those who had lost dear ones here (and there were many) share the joy and comfort that he had derived.
Billed as the “flaming evangelist of spiritualism”, Doyle made very few converts in Australia. The Mail, an Adelaide newspaper, remarked that his arguments were too unconvincing to impress or influence a mass of earnest, intelligent listeners. He was described as inflexible, intolerant, cutting, contemptuous, scoffing and jarring. It is 'the Gospel according to Sir Conan' — and woe unto the unbeliever!
The words on the plaque are worthy a read.
The Case of the Wandering Spirit
On the vast curve of an Adelaide beach
Doyle reflects that conjuring
Sherlock back from the grave
Was elementary work
Real death is harder to persuade
Though it lets through whispers
And exposes the occasional ghost
The afterlife theory he tours
Packs curious thousands into lecture halls
But his proof of miracles is not wrought
They can’t connect the clues
And without Holmes himself
There to declare the mystery solved
The case remains open.
With your indulgence I will digress now to comment on Doyle’s lodgings during his visit to Adelaide.
The plaque also tells us that Doyle stayed in the Grand Central Hotel (picture three) which once stood on this prestigious site on the corner of Pulteney and Rundle Streets. Mark Twain and the Duke of York also stayed here. When it opened in June 1911 the Grand Central was regarded as one of the most impressive hotels in the Southern Hemisphere.
Prior to the Grand Central various incarnations of the York Hotel occupied the site. The York, since it was first built in 1836 (when the city itself was founded), was “the” place to stay for anyone of note. Many wealthy and retired gentlemen made the York their home, including a Dutch Admiral who could be seen on most days in the mid 1860’s in full naval dress, pacing up and down the balcony!
Notwithstanding its success, in the mid 1920’s the Grand Central was shut down to make way for the expansion of Foy and Gibson’s emporium which started out as a rather modest concession on the ground floor of the hotel in 1911 - though it had a larger premises across the road – (now a Target emporium! – Aussies will get the joke in that!).
The building was demolished and replaced with the current ugly multi-storey car park (picture four) in 1976 – causing outrage at the time and indeed ever since. A recent forum comment laments that “the destruction of this building was the greatest ever crime against the people of Adelaide. Whoever was responsible needed to put to the electric chair.”I concur.
Location : Corner of Pulteney and Rundle Streets (at the east end of the pedestrianised section of Rundle Mall)
- Historical Travel
Victoria Square Fountain
You can't miss this fountain situated in the northern half of Victoria Square between Flinders-Franklin Streets and Wakefield-Grote Streets if you are walking around the City. I walked passed it quite a few times as I made my way between where I was staying and Rundle Mall. The fountain is striking and never fails to bring a whiff of coolness to the senses on a hot summer day.
Victoria Square is also the place where you would board the tram to Glenelg.
Extracted from the link below:
..."The Victoria Square Fountain was set in operation by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on 28 May 1968, to commemorate the visit to Adelaide in 1963 of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The sculptor was Mr John S Dowie, a South Australian. The theme of the fountain is the three rivers from which Adelaide draws its water: the Murray, the Torrens and the Onkaparinga. This has resulted in a three sided design in a hexagonal pool having an overall width of 18 metres. Unpolished Angaston marble has been used for the outside and capping of the outer basin wall.
The fountain operates at full capacity between 8.00a.m. and 11.30 p.m. each Monday to Saturday, inclusive, and from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. on Sundays. When strong winds prevail, the top major jet and, if necessary, the three other jets in the upper basin are omitted"...
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
St. Peter's Cathedral
This beautiful Neogothic Cathedral was finished in 1901 after a construction period of 22 years.
The helpful ladies who attend to the church will answer all the questions concerning the church. In addition to it there are a couple leaflets in different languages to guide you through the building.
The church is open from 9.30am to 4pm every day.
- Religious Travel
Lovely cathedral: St.Francis Xavier Cathedral
St.Francis Xavier Cathedral:
Located at 39 Wakefield Street, Adelaide, this impressive building is the centre for Roman Catholic worship in Adelaide. It was built progressively between 1856 and 1926.
Really beautiful architecture, stately and inspire awe. Walked past the cathedral everyday as I made my way between City Centre and my apartment which was on the outskirts.
Saturday Vigil 1800
Sunday 0700, 0900, 1100 (Solemn Mass), 1800
Monday to Friday 0800, 1210, 1745
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1100 - 1145 and 1700 - 1730
Saturday 1200 - 1300 and 1630 - 1730
- Budget Travel
Gracious North Adelaide
The Adelaide City Council has published a number of brochures for self guided walking tours of the city and surrounds. these are available at the Tourist Information booth in Rundle Mall or can be downloaded from:
During our walk around North Adelaide we came across many mansions, the Anglican Cathedral of St Peter, old hotels and shops and working men's cottages. A little of this is shown in the Travelogue.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Boer War Memorial
Australia in general seems to have a lot of War Memorials, with Gallipoli in the forefront, though WWI as a whole seems to be treated with reverence. Less common is a memorial to the Boer War, like the one seen here. If what we know now about the Boer War was known at the time, I'm not sure they would have erected this monument, but as it stands, its there.
Its on North at King William, so its really not all that off the beaten path. The statue is however, not very conspicuous and you could overlook it if you weren't watching.
- Budget Travel
This isn't a big tourist...
This isn't a big tourist attraction or anything, but if you want to buy a magazine or a newspaper, go to the newsstand at the entrance to the city train station. The man is fantastically nice.
If you want to post something, go to the post office on the University of South Australia's City West campus - you get really great service.
Adelaide Museum is a beautiful...
Adelaide Museum is a beautiful building in this rahter sleepy city, if youre into peace and quiet, plus lots of churches, Adelaide is the place to go.
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