North Terrace, Adelaide
In 1840, not long after the founding of the State of South Australia, Henry Ayers arrived from England intent on making his fortune in the new colony.
Ayers certainly made his fortune in Adelaide and during his life there he held countless positions not least of which included Premier of the State (7 times), State Cabinet Minister (11 times), Governor of the Botanic Gardens Board, founder of the Bank of Adelaide, Chairman of the Adelaide Gas Company, director of the Burra Copper Mine (the most lucrative position I suspect) and treasurer of the University of Adelaide. In 1872 he was knighted for his role in bringing the overland telegraph service from Darwin to Adelaide and thus opening up communication with the Motherland, England.
His grand colonial Regency/Victorian mansion, built in 1876, was designed by Sir George Strickland Kingston (architect to the well healed in Adelaide) and inspired by the work of Robert Kerr a leading English architect of the day, whose book “The English Gentleman’s House” gave the ‘New Rich’, like Ayers, clear direction on how to live and entertain like a gentleman.
Ayers’ good lady wife certainly knew how to throw a party and the Ayers’ twice yearly parties in September and October were the talk of the town and the place to be.
After Ayers’ death in 1897 the house stood vacant until bought by Austral Gardens Limited which turned the grounds into an open air theatre (and a rather stylish one at that – see picture 2 which is courtesy of the State Library of South Australia) and adjoining Palais de Dance. The house was occupied by the Returned Soldiers League with “A member of the Executive in attendance to assist Members in their difficulties every Evening” according to the RSL Magazine (Sept 1918). From 1929 to 1969 it was a nurses home and training centre for the Royal Adelaide Hospital which you may notice across North Terrace from the House.
Then State Premier, the rather flamboyant Don Dunstan, then set about returning it to party central. After a refurbishment it reopened in 1973 as a fine dining restaurant. With clientele like Her Royal Highness, The Princess Anne and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II it quickly became the place to be seen again.
Today the main part of Ayers House is a stylish function centre catering for weddings, business functions and the like. It no longer operates as a restaurant for the general public
Public entry is now via means of a tour – which I have not partaken of yet. Ghost tours and (perish the thought) after dark dress-up tours – I think it’s the staff and not the tourists that dress up - are also available, though must be booked in advance through the Ayers House Historical Museum, managed by the National Trust. The latter is a good thing if you are a member as you get free access on the basic tour.
And yes, Ayers Rock (now officially called Uluru) in the centre of Australia was named after Sir Henry Ayers.
Tuesday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Weekends & Public Holidays 1:00pm - 4:00pm
(Closed Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas Day)
Adult: $10.00 Concession: $8.00 Child 13-16: $5.00 Child 12 & Under: Free, National Trust Member: Free.
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In my main review on the State Library I indicated that for me, and probably most other visitors who visit the library in a tourist rather than general user capacity, the Mortlock Wing is the most interesting.
This is one of three buildings making up the current library, built because the original Institute Building became to small to house the library of a bourgeoning city. The beautiful French Renaissance style building with mansard roof opened in December 1884, 18 years after the original foundation stone was laid. It took 18 years to build as the project was aborted twice, due to political indecision and architectural and engineering problems such that work on the final building only commenced in 1879.
In its early years the building was home to South Australia’s museum, art gallery and public library.
In August 2014, US Magazine Travel + Leisure listed the Mortlock Wing as one of the top 20 most beautiful libraries in the world. On entering the Wing it is not hard to see why it was so chosen.
The absolutely stunning late Victorian interior has two galleries (so three levels) – the first supported by masonry columns with the second secured by cast iron brackets. Around the balconies are wrought iron balustrades, ornamented with gold leaf, while the walls are literally lined with beautiful looking books on ceiling height dark wood shelving. Atop all this is a glass domed roof allowing natural light to flow into the library.
While the ground floor of the library is given over to exhibition space (see below) the galleries remain reading areas retaining their original desks and chairs for readers.
That said, there have been two changes within the library – firstly additional power outlets such that today’s student/reader can power up their laptops and other devices which, for some reason, strangely do not appear out of place in this library of yesteryear. I am sure you will agree, not a bad place to study.
The other addition, electric lights, is a much older one. When the library (then called the Jervois Wing) was originally built it was lit by gas lamps – electricity being deemed to costly at the time. The Board's annual report for 1910-11 noted:
'The baneful effects of gas upon the leather bindings of books is a well-established fact, to say nothing of the vitiated atmosphere necessarily inhaled by students and others who visit the Public Library at night time. It is therefore hoped that an early installation of electric light in these buildings will be made'.
Electric lighting was installed in 1914 though apparently two of the original gas lamps are still installed in an office on the second floor.
The thing that draws most people’s eyes on entering the Mortlock Wing is the clock seen standing over the main hall on the balustrade of the first gallery. This was not part of the original library design but a quick addition or rather a gift from astronomer, meteorologist and electrical engineer Sir Charles Todd in 1887. It was crafted in London by clockmakers Dent and Sons and still quietly ticks away to this day, just needing to be hand wound and adjusted on a weekly basis by library staff.
Back to the main hall or ground floor. As noted earlier, this area is given over to exhibitions which seem to be of a semi permanent nature and offer a window on the history and culture of South Australia. The bays house small displays on a range of topics including the beginnings of the State Library itself, the discovery and exploration of the South Australia, and the arts, architecture, social reforms, sport and religion in South Australia. To be honest, I was so entranced with the building and its book stock that I didn’t spend much time looking at the exhibits though one display that caught my eye was the Library’s collection of wine literature, especially in so far as it confirmed – though a quote from the Bible, picture 5 - that my consumption of wine was good for me. Timothy, chapter 5, verse 23 exhorts one to:
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities”
The Mortlock Wing also houses two smaller libraries neither of which were open on my visit though I did manage a peek into the first of them. These are the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Library (open Tuesday-Friday 10am-1pm) and the Symon Library (open Monday-Friday 12-2pm). The Symon Library is pretty much that – the private collection of Joasiah Symon (some 10,000 volumes) complete with shelving and furnishings from Symon’s estate. While there is a focus on legal books (Symon was a late 19th century barrister – (and wine judge!) and State Attorney General) the collection also reflects his interest in Shakespeare, travel, history and biography. All in all, referred to by the library as an excellent example of a 'gentleman's library'.
Mortlock Wing Opening Hours
10am-5pm every day, excluding public holidays
Entrance Fee: Free
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The State Library is, as the name might suggest, the pre-eminent library in South Australia and houses a wealth of material, with a particular emphasis on South Australia.
While the visitor is of course welcome to come into the library and read books, magazines and do things one does in a regular library that was not the purpose of my most recent visit. I was interested in the building itself (in fact three interconnected buildings) and seeing what exhibitions were on.
The Library, today, comprises three buildings:
...The Institute Building
...The Spence Wing
...The Mortlock Wing – which is deserving of a separate review as it is, in my view, the most interesting part of the library for the average non-reading visitor. That is not to say that the remainder of the library is not interesting of if you can read the Mortlock Wing will not also be of interest to you!
The Institute Building
The Institute Building, which was undergoing and external renovation and thus under wraps on my most recent visit to Adelaide, is the oldest part of the Library. The picture attached is one I took in 2012.
This beautiful Italianate building, designed by Edward Hamilton, the Colonial Architect, was built in 1861.
Institutes (akin to Mechanics' Institutes and Schools of Art) played an important role in the life of early (European) Australian communities. They housed libraries and reading rooms and served as adult education centres in addition to hosting regular soirees, lectures, recitations and concerts. Essentially they were the centre of a community's cultural activities and that is exactly what this one was - often on a grand scale.
The Institute was a mainly private, male dominated, body where women borrowed books in their husbands name and rarely ventured into the reading room, where gentlemen relaxed and read the latest newspapers.
In the early days visitors were permitted to take their dogs into the library and the reading room. On the 16 July 1864 the caretaker’s dog was accidentally locked overnight in the reading room and caused considerable damage to the blinds and woodwork. From that day henceforth dogs have been banned from the library.
Over the years the Institute merged into the State Library and the various rooms therein are now used for Library and visiting exhibitions and, indeed, some rooms are available for private hire. Film buffs may be aware that scenes from Australian movies Shine and Gallipoli were filmed here.
Time did not permit me to visit a couple of exhibitions showing in the Institute Building on my last visit to the Library.
The Spence Wing
On entering the State Library watch out for the Kaurma (local Aboriginal people) greeting stone with its spiral shaped greeting by Kaurna elder Lewis O'Brian which, when translated from the local Aboriginal language to English, reads:
First I welcome you all to my Kaurna country, and next I welcome you to the State Library of South Australia. My brothers, my sisters, let's walk together in harmony.
Picture 2 attached is from the State Library’s website – unfortunately my image was illegible.
The Spence Wing is the largest, newest (with the latest reincarnation having been completed in 2003) and main part of the State Library. In addition to providing an internal link between the Institute Building and the Mortlock Wing it is the hub of the library and houses its main book collection, periodicals, newspapers, etc – ‘50 kilometres of material’ - together with other facilities offered by a good library.
Of interest to the visitor here is the Treasures Wall (just inside the building and prior to you going into the main reading library – picture 3). The Wall itself is interesting and consists of 40 display panels featuring natural and manufactured materiel found in South Australia. These, according to the Library’s website, include “abalone shell, bluestone, coal, cattle hide, copper, green glass, gold, granite, grapevine prunings, iron ore, lead, limestone, opal, quartz composite, salt, silver, slate, steel: car duco, talc, wheat, wool and zinc.’’
Displayed on the Treasure Wall is material drawn from the library’s rich collection and variously includes books, photographs, manuscripts, artworks, etc. When I visited the display (which regularly changes) was entitled Art of nature. On display were rare early artistic depictions of Australian flora and fauna which, while pleasant enough, did not overly excite me - perhaps a good thing at my age.
Looking back at the details on earlier exhibitions there was certainly lots there much more to my taste so it’s a sorta pot luck what you get to see.
The tastefully modern glass lobby area houses a few bits of art worth a look, including the 'floating' plant fibre rope ellipse depicted in picture 4 attached.
I should point out to any reader who may be a cricket fan that the Bradman Collection – memorabilia donated by, and related to, Australian cricket legend (Sir) Donald Bradman – which was formerly housed in the State Library is now substantially housed in the new cricket museum at the nearby Adelaide Oval.
Opening Hours – noting all parts closed on public holidays
Thursday and Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm
Mortlock Wing and Institute Building
Café (which I did not visit and thus cannot comment on)
Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm
Entrance Fee : Free
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Right beside Adelaide’s Venere di Canova there is an area of low palms in which can be found the busts of four prominent South Australians. My particular admiration lies with the untitled Mary Lee.
Mary Lee (1821 - 1909) - picture 2
Lee was born in Ireland in 1821 and came to Australia in 1879 where she worked tirelessly to relieve the misery and hardship endured by many, especially women, during the late 1880s and early 1890s. She vigorously campaigned for women’s suffrage as secretary of the Woman’s Suffrage League of South Australia and was equally admired and hated by people from both sexes for her work.
The bust, by sculptor Patricia Moseley, was erected on 18 December 1994 on the centenary of the passage of Constitutional amendments giving woman the right to vote, and stand for Parliament. South Australia was the second place in the world to grant women the right to vote and the first to permit them to stand for parliament.
The plaque below the bust, a quote from Lee, clearly articulates her aim in life:
‘My aim is to leave the world better for women than I found it’
Sir Lawrence Bragg (1890 -1971) - picture 3
Bragg, born in Adelaide, was Australia’s first Nobel Laureate – physics 1915 – for his work, with his father, on the analysis of crystal structures by means of X-rays. At the time Bragg was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize. This bust (by John Mills and one of six cast) was erected in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of Bragg’s explanation of X-ray diffraction.
The Honorable Sir Mellis Napier (1882-1976) - picture 4
Napier, born in Scotland, was Lieutenant Governor of South Australia from 1947 to 1973, Chief Justice from 1942 to 1967, and Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1948 to 1961. These are the most notable of his many positions and accolades.
Napier’s bust, by sculptor, John Dowie, was unveiled on the 2 July 1970.
Sir Mark Oliphant (1901 – 2000) -picture 5
Oliphant, an accomplished academic and scientist, was Governor of South Australia from 1971 – 76.
On the scientific front he is best known for his contribution to sub-atomic physics. He discovered the nuclei of Helium 3 and Tritium and that heavy hydrogen nuclei could be made to react with each other – nuclear fusion, the basis for a hydrogen bomb.
In late 1943 he worked on the Manhattan Project in the US where his contribution proved invaluable in the production of enriched uranium for the first atomic bombs. While he later expressed great pride in the fact that the bomb had worked he was ‘absolutely appalled at what it had done to human beings’ and spoke out against nuclear weapons.
During the 1960s he was vocal in his opposition to the Vietnam War.
This bust, another by John Dowie, was erected in 1978 in recognition of his service to the public.
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This rather grand property behind a nice stone wall on North Terrace is home to the Governor of South Australia – Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II's representative in South Australia. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice on the State’s Premier and while, in recent times, Governors have typically served for around five years the appointment is “at the Queen’s pleasure.” The Governor is not to be confused with the Queen’s other ‘guests’ – prisoners - who may also serve time “at Her Majesty’s, or the Queen’s, pleasure”.
The then British Colony of South Australia’s first Government house was a rather modest three room affair of earth and wood with a thatched roof, built in 1837 by marines from the HMS Buffalo. The HMS Buffalo was the ship on which the first Governor elect, John Hindmarsh, and other early settlers of South Australia arrived into Holdfast Bay, Glenelg on the 28 December, 1836 – the day on which Hindmarsh read a proclamation, on behalf of King William IV announcing that the government and State of South Australia had been established.
Hindmarsh spent his entire term in this modest abode, situated between what is now Adelaide Railway Station and the Torrens River, and his successor, Governor Gawler, resided there until he was able to move into the first section (the east wing) of the present Georgian style Government House which was completed, on his request, in May 1840 – making it the oldest Government House in Australia. The former thatched ‘Government Hut’ was destroyed in a fire in 1841.
The stone walls around the boundary of Government House and the first guard-room and flagstaff were built around 1847. Major additions to the house itself were not sanctioned by London till the mid 1850s. By the end of the 19th century it looked pretty much as it does today though there have been refurbishments and upgrades in the intervening years.
There are two problems for the average tourist – firstly, the great unwashed are only permitted through the gates on special open days – two per year and, secondly, the wall along North Terrace is of such a height that it is difficult to see across without drawing the attention of security guards, while the shrubbery along the King William Road perimeter is too dense to afford the visitor anything other than small glimpses here and there. I took pictures 1 and 2 attached by holding my camera above my head and hoping for the best – so in reality I did not see what you (and I ) see in the photos.
Picture 3 is of the residence’s small gatehouse while picture 4 is of the main gates – from which you can see very little.
Perhaps because of the lack of access to Government House, its official website includes an interesting section entitled ‘Inside Government House’ (http://www.governor.sa.gov.au/node/22). This, in addition to providing lots of excellent pictures of the interior of Government House, is rich in detail about the various rooms and items depicted.
While the website refers to a murder in the ballroom – that of the Inspector of Police, Richard Pettinger, in 1862 by one of his former employees, John Seaver, who had recently been sacked for drunkenness while Pettinger had been promoted over him – it does not refer to speculation that the first person hanged in South Australia is buried in grounds of Government House.
That being so, do indulge me while I tell you about the hanging of Michael Magee.
In 1837, within months of the establishment of South Australia the colony’s first sheriff, Samuel Smart, was shot and wounded by a gang who broke into his cottage. An Irishman, Michael Magee, was found to have fired the shot which wounded Smart and for this he was sentenced to death. Governor Hindmarsh was adamant that an example be made of Magee such that crime might not become a major issue in the fledgling colony which, by that stage, did not have a police force worth talking about in place.
On 2 May 1838, having eventually found a willing executioner, the cook of the 'South Australian Company' at which Magee worked and thus an acquaintance of Magee, who disguised himself by wearing a mask and hump, Magee was hanged from a gum tree on nearby Montefoire Hill.
The hanging was botched and Magee was able to grab the rope and lift himself, whereupon the executioner grabbed him by the legs and hung with him until he was dead. Amid cries of 'murder' from some of the 500 onlookers the hangman was whisked away from the scene under police escort while Magee’s body was equally quickly removed and, allegedly, buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of Government House which was being constructed at the time.
The rather gruesome affair was captured in a sketch by artist JM Skipper who, it appears, attended the execution (picture 5). The original sketch is held in the State Library of South Australia – B 7797 to which I credit this picture.
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As city railway stations go, Adelaide’s central railway station (though not the grand building housing it) is small. There is good reason for this, Adelaide’s metro fleet is small and there are no longer any regular country train services in South Australia departing from here, or anywhere else. Further, interstate services including the famous Indian Pacific (Perth to Sydney), the Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin) and the Overland (Adelaide to Melbourne) now depart from Keswick Station in one of the city’s inner west suburbs.
In addition to metro trains, the Glenelg Tram passes by the station as do many useful buses so the area is an important hub for local public transport. Adelaide’s transport system is the subject of separate reviews under the transportation section on this page. This review relates to the station itself.
The original Adelaide Railway Station was constructed on this site in 1856 with one line, between Adelaide and Port Adelaide. This was, incidentally, the first government-owned and operated steam railway in the British Empire.
The existing sandstone building, in neo-classical style, was designed by local architects Garlick and Jackman and completed in 1928 after Ohio man, William Alfred Webb, was brought in to revitalise South Australia’s then moribund railway system. While he certainly achieved his task, his spending contributed to the near bankruptcy of the State Government. No-one knows for sure how much the station alone cost as vital records were ‘lost’. The upper three storeys of the building housed the railways administration while the main concourse below was awash with facilities for travellers - a dining room, hairdressers, refreshment rooms etc. The pièce de résistance was a large domed marble hall which is now a gaming room just inside the main entrance of the Adelaide Casino, which now takes up most of the station building and is run as an entirely separate business though it does have one, very discreet, entry from the main station concourse - look out for the small flight of steps straight ahead and slightly to you left as you exit the train platforms.
Webb's new (1928) station had 13 individually covered platforms with plenty of additional space for expansion, expansion which never occurred. Webb had failed to appreciate the impact of the Great Depression and, more importantly, the impact that the introduction of cars would have on railways in Australia, generally. In the 1980s the number of platforms was reduced to 9.
Between 1985 and 1987 the majority of the original 1928 station building was relinquished to accommodate the Adelaide Casino. Today’s station, still very much worth a look even if you are not catching a train, comprises just one main hall (concourse) in its original art deco livery with ticket offices and a small number of retail outlets off it. I assume it retains some of the offices, etc upstairs, not accessible to the public. The retail outlets, a newsagents, snack/coffee kiosks and the like are of no particular note apart from being sufficient to service the needs of local commuters in need of a coffee fix and a newspaper. One does not dine here any more!
Outside the station, since the mid 1980s the Railway has also given up most of its land as yards and rolling stock depots moved out from the city centre. The land thus freed up now accommodates the Intercontinental Hotel (formerly the Hyatt), the Convention/ Entertainment Centre and, most recently, a new hospital complex.
The station clock in picture 4, while nice, is not as nice as a tall standing clock incorporating seats that was on the centre of the concourse on my last visit here a couple of years ago. Not remembering the clock in picture 4 from prior visits I suspected that it was the clock part of that beautiful piece of furniture to which I have just referred assuming that the balance of the piece had been relegated to the scrap heap. On looking back at some of my older photographs I was relieved to see that the current clock did formerly exist in addition to the one incorporating seats. Perhaps that one will return some day.
At the rear of the main concourse (assuming you enter from either of the North Terrace entrances), on the west side, are four large memorial boards listing the names of 3,601 South Australian Railway staff who served in, and/or paid the supreme sacrifice, in World Wars I and II. Credit is due to the Railways Sub Branch of the Returned Services League (RSL) for its successful fight to retain these boards during the late 1980s downsizing of the station and more recent refurbishments. Sadly the Railways Sub Branch of the RSL closed in 2010, I trust this does not bode badly for the continued display of these boards within the station.
Do pop in for a look at this, still beautiful, station and then pop into the Adelaide Casino for a look at the Marble Hall. Enter the Casino via its main entrance on Station Road for best effect.
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I am as much against the wanton destruction of public and private property by graffiti as I am sure every reader of VT is. Local governments and councils worldwide deal with it every day and we all pay through higher council rates, public transport fares and other taxes to have this vandalism removed.
While much of the graffiti one sees is vulgar, in bad taste or just downright ugly there are some talented graffiti (street) artists out there and councils have taken to actually giving these people grants to promote their work in a responsible manner rather than fining them. This is done in the hope that their skills can be turned from vandalism to public good. Adelaide City Council has reached the conclusion that:
‘Street art adds colour, life and vibrancy to spaces. It gives artists a chance to make important social and environmental statements, or add decorative vitality and humour to dull places.’
I hasten to add that not all street artists start out as petty criminals and one artist I had a chat with (see below) was far from that.
In many places, including Adelaide, business owners engage these artists to actually promote their businesses.
The City Council has set aside this area (‘Free Wall’) under the Morphett St Bridge, right by the City West tram stop, where graffiti/street art is legal and indeed encouraged so, dear reader, grab your can of spray paint and let your creative juices flow here in sleeply old Adelaide. This ‘Free Wall’ replaced one in nearby Topham Mall (separate review) which was closed due to health and safety issues affecting nearby businesses. I imagine this means that there was inadequate ventilation for paint fumes – something which is not a problem here under the bridge.
While you may not wish to exercise your artistic skills, it is certainly worth stopping by here for a look and the nice thing about the main wall here is that the art thereon is constantly changing – my main picture has a certain Christmassy feel to it – ‘Bad Santa', indeed. On a second visit to the wall a couple of days later, Bad Santa was gone and replaced with the work in picture 5. This illustrates the transitory nature of the art here (though the man ‘hiding in a concrete jungle’ in picture 3 and a female in the same vein are more permanent and away from the other work – still under the bridge but across the busy road), so the quality of what is on display is bound to vary from time to time.
Picture 4 shows an artist at work, a top bloke with whom I had a lovely conversation. When I approached him he was somewhat defensive, quickly assuring me that what he was doing was legal. I imagine these artists are not often complemented by someone of advancing years such as me, so he was genuinely chuffed when he realised I appreciated what he was doing, and praised his talents. He was also very complementary of the City Council for providing access to this wall and felt sure it was a major factor in reducing illegal graffiti in the city, something he too deplored. I expressed surprise at how quickly paintings changed on the wall. He indicated that a piece of work which takes hours to do can be painted over again within hours. When asked if this annoyed or frustrated him, he was very philosophical, shrugged his shoulders and said “No, not at all. I just come back and do another one”.
While there is a concentration of this art style in this area, if you keep your eyes open you will see some great pieces throughout the city area and into suburbia.
If I can’t entice you to stop by to look at the art work in itself, Adelaide’s oldest church (Holy Trinity) is also located by the bridge and if you catch the tram here you have to walk under the bridge to get to the church so, that way, you can satisfy two rather different tastes in one hit!
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Go for a walk along North Terrace
Given that the powers that be in Adelaide have been thoughtful enough to put so many of the “things to do” in Adelaide in one street – North Terrace - and indeed most on the north side of that street I have decided to create a series of linked reviews such that if you follow it (by clicking on 'Next North Terrace Review' below) you will, in effect, join me in a walk of just less than 2kms from the City West Tram Stop on the western end of the North Terrace to the eastern end of the street and the Adelaide Botanic Garden entrance.
Along the street you will find museums, an art gallery, war memorials, universities, Parliament House (old and new), a casino, numerous statues, public art, churches, the Botanic Garden and more. In addition, though I don't refer to many of them, there are ample eating/coffee and stronger beverage outlets associated with many of the attractions and along the main shopping areas of Hindley Street, Rundle Mall and Rundle St, which the street running parallel with North Terrace (50 metres away) is variously called along its length.
While you could do the walk in less than 30 mins, should you decide to linger at, or go into, any of the attractions I have reviewed - which I naturally recommend you do - you could spend 2-3 days traversing the 2kms.
Most visitors will not have 2-3 days to allocate to this street, and there is also much more to see in the city and its immediate environs besides, so will have to pick and choose. I trust my reviews will help you decide.
The pictures attached are a few of the sights you will see along the way.
Enjoy the walk.
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When walking along North Terrace, do be sure to look down.
In 1986 the State Government created a ‘walk of fame’ on North Terrace to celebrate 150 years of South Australia. The pavement on the north side of the road between King William Street and Pulteney Street contains 150 plaques commemorating the achievements of South Australians, including William Richard Randell (1824-1911), the pioneer of the River Murray Paddle Steamers (plaque shown in photo).
The plaques are mostly arranged in alphabetical order, but with some exceptions. Recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross are grouped near the War Memorial
The State Library of South Australia is the largest public reference library in South Australia. There are also exhibition spaces open to the public.
The Treasures Wall shows off some highlights of the collection, including the Don Bradman collection (the exhibits at the Adelaide Oval are on loan from the library).
The main chamber of the Mortlock Wing is an exhibition space with exhibits on the history and culture of South Australia. There are special features on people, places, issues and events that have shaped the state and contributed to its development: the beginnings of the State Library itself; the discovery and exploration of South Australia by Europeans; shipping; social reforms; arts and architecture; sport; childhood; religion and emigration.
I was interested by the story of Malby's Terrestrial Globe (1859). William Soden, President of the Institute (forerunner of the library) Board was an amateur geographer who thought he had discovered anisland which was represented in the Great Australian Bight. Following enquiries to the Admiralty, it was discovered that there were conflicting reports from early navigators and the island did not actually exist. It was a mirage of a cape 40 miles away. This led to the island being removed from the globe. According to the minutes of the Libraries Board 18 June 1886 the removal led what resembled 'a volcanic eruption.'
Open 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. every day.
There are free tours of the library at 11.00 a.m and 2.00 p.m. weekdays.
Ayers House is a Victorian mansion under the management of the National Trust South Australia. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my UK National Trust membership entitled me to free admission.
This was the home of the politician and financier Sir Henry Ayers from 1855 to 1897. Henry Ayers began as a legal clerk in England, but at the age of 19 he took advantage of free passage to seek his fortune in Adelaide. He grew wealthy particularly after the mining company which paid him in shares discovered copper. He originally rented the 'cottage' in North Terrace with permission to extend it. It became a 44 room mansion with beautiful painted ceilings. Meanwhile, Henry became involved in politics, eventually becoming the premier of South Australia, and being knighted by Queen Victoria.
The guided tour includes the State dining room which has 'the best painted ceiling in the country', the family dining room, drawing room, guest bedrooms, winter smoking room, kitchens, butler's pantry and housekeeper’s room. I do not always enjoy guided tours, preferring to look around at my own pace, but I have to say that this one was pitched perfectly.
Look out for the rat in the kitchen!
Visits are only by guided tour, which lasts an hour. Tickets are purchased in the gift shop and a clock outside shows the time of the next tour.
Open Tuesday to Friday 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. weekends and public holidays 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Admission $8. Free to National Trust members.
One of the singularly most impressive streets in Australia, North Terrace separates central Adelaide from the River Torrens and is lined with impressive 19th century buildings and is the cultural centre of the city.
The north side - the river side - is the more impressive of the two, with the South Australian Museum, State Library, Art Gallery of South Australia: Parliament House, Government House (set back from the road and disappointingly behind a high wall), Adelaide Railway Station and the University of South Australia all standing proud.
The southern side, effectively forming the boundary of the CBD, with its buildings of less public 'value' is less impressive but equally historic.
Often when walking and visiting fantastic old buildings, you tend to forget to look across the other side of the road.
North Terrace is such road. It has lots to see on one side, and if you do remember to look on the other side, you will find many sandstone buildings with all types of beautiful architecture.
Ayers House is on the other side and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Colonial Regency architecture in Australia.
In 1871 Henry Ayers purchased the property for 400 pounds, then gradually enlarged the small house in stages, beginning in 1858 with the addition of library (still named the Library), bedrooms (now the Henry Ayers Room) and a ballroom (still named as the Ballroom) which was completed in 1860. In 1862 the ballroom was decorated with intricate designs in gold leaf, while chandeliers were hung from two ornate ceiling roses. The Ballroom is completely restored to its former glory.
Quite a few Weddings and Receptions are held at Ayer's House.
It was a pity, but Ayer's House was being renovated, so was closed to the public.
The Ayers House Museum takes you on guided tours of the house every half hour and hour during museum opening hours and last for about an hour.
Entry into the house is only permitted on a guided tour. The historic museum is split over three levels of the house including the basement, ground floor and first floor. It's a chance to see a collection of antique furniture, silver, paintings and costumes.
ADMISSION IN 2012....Adult: $10.00...Concession: $8.00.. Child 13-16: $5.00
Child 12 & Under: FREE
OPEN.... Tuesday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm....Weekends & Public Holidays 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Still on the same side as the War Memorial, is the State Library of S.A.
This is another building along North Terrace with beautiful architecture.
Stepping inside the foyer, you are welcomed by the "Kaurna" people, the original inhabitants of this area.
A Greeting stone says...
"First I welcome you all to my Kaurna country, and next I welcome you to the State Library of South Australia. My brothers, my sisters, let's walk together in harmony.
Inside, there is plenty to see if you aren't into studying etc.
Computer's can be used, but they do need to be booked ahead of time.
The Library has many exhibitions, like one on our most famous Cricketer, "Sir Donald Bradman."
Some of the exhibitions change, like the ones at the "Treasure Wall." The Wall extends for 24 metres and is made of 40 individual panels featuring South Australian natural materials, including abalone shell, bluestone, coal, cattle hide, copper, green glass, gold, granite, grapevine prunings, iron ore, lead, limestone, opal, quartz composite, salt, silver, slate, steel: car duco, talc, wheat, wool and zinc.
The current exhibition in May 2012, was about one of our famours Explorerer's, "John McDouall Stuart." This exhibition is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first successful south to north crossing of Australia through the centre.
Stuart led six expeditions which explored N/West South Australia, then north towards the centre of the continent, and onwards, finally reaching the north coast of Australia on 24 July 1862. He led all his men safely, even though he was very sick. Stuarts route was used as the Overland Telegraph Line, and is commemorated today by the Stuart Highway. When you visit the outback of Australia, you will realize what a huge achievement this was.
This is located on Level 1 in the Spence Building until September, 2012, when the exhibition changes.
The Library is closed on all Public Holidays
OPEN...Monday-Wednesday 10 am-8 pm.........Thursday and Friday 10 am-6 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10 am-5 pm
These are the hours for the main part, check the website for more details.
ENTRY IS FREE
As I made my way along North Terrace, I came across quite a few Statues.
These are on the 'Walk of Fame."
To celebrate 150 years of South Australia, the ‘walk of fame’ was introduced. All you have to do, is follow the footpath on the northern side of the boulevard, and you’ll find plaques commemorating the high achievers of the State
My first two photo's are of the statue of His Majesty King Edward VII, which was paid for by public subscription. The Statue was unveiled on 15 July 1920, ten years after the King’s death.
I couldn't take a front on photo because of the sun.