First sight of the (UAOD) Druids Hall may cause visitors to wonder if the ancient priests of Celtic Britain came to reside in Adelaide. Not so.
A number of ancient (18th / 19th century) Orders, having their roots mainly in Britain, opened branches or lodges in Australia, including here in Adelaide. The best known of these is the Freemasons. Others with, or previously having, lodges here in Adelaide include the grandly and somewhat quaintly named Independent Order of Oddfellows, the South Australian Ancient Order of Foresters' Friendly Society, Australian Natives' Association, and the United Ancient Order of Druids. Off course, the Australian Natives' Association was an Australian based organisation – the natives being people of European heritage born in Australia and not indigenous Australians, but that’s another story.
Originally called the Ancient Order of Druids (AOD), this fraternal Order was founded in 1781 by merchants and artisans in the King's Arms tavern just off Oxford Street in London, at a time when secret societies and clubs were popular. The Order’s initial link to Druids was almost accidental and merely due to the fact that one of its members, Mr Hurle, had a personal interest in ancient Druids. Hurle became the Order's first Archdruid, of what was Lodge No 1.
By the 1830s lodges had developed throughout England and poorer members in the industrial North wanted the Order to act more like friendly societies such as the Oddfellows and the Foresters. This lead to the Great Secession in 1833 when the AOD split in two with the new faction becoming the United Ancient Order of Druids (UAOD) and aiming for "social and intellectual intercourse" and "general philanthropy and benevolence".
English AOD member, Brother Hymen, migrated to Australia and opened the order’s first lodge in Melbourne in 1851. The Order soon spread to all Australian states plus New Zealand, adopting the name UAOD. In Australia the order was composed of friendly societies providing sick, medical, funeral and, most recently, insurance and pension coverage to members.
I have found it very difficult to find information on the UAOD or its current status in Australia and more specifically in Adelaide. Perhaps this can be explained by a section in International Grand Lodge of Druidism’s May 2014 newsletter which, rather tellingly, reads:
’The desolate situation of Druidism in Australia has been known for a long time. And the fact that there has been absolutely no sign of life for more than one year, intensifies this impression dramatically. In fact, only three lodges which can be described as working ones seem to be left over. These are the two lodges in Bunbury, Western Australia, and one in Adelaide, South Australia. Maybe there are some other places where (former) members meet from time to time, but this must mainly be seen as social gatherings without any obligation or even practicing a ritual. And currently there is no light at the end of the tunnel’.
Druidism, it appears, is not flavor de jour in Australia these days!
I don’t know where the Adelaide lodge meets, as this building has been converted into a costume hire shop and function centre/bar. Perhaps there remains a separate meeting room within or the lodge meets somewhere else. Indeed, as there were a number of lodges in Adelaide, this building may not relate to the last exiting one at all.
My final picture is an 1896 image of a gathering of unknown UAOD Lodges in Old Kent Road, London - courtesy of http://www.druidicdawn.org.
Now if you do come across this building or one similar you can impress your friends with your knowledge of the Ancient Order of Druids and its associated entities.
The Druids Hall is located at 116 Flinders Street.
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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.
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.
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 a view to 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)
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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.
One of the nice things about getting around a city on foot is that you have the opportunity to explore nooks and crannies you might not otherwise see. So it was that en route between one sight and another I looked down Tavistock Lane and saw this rather rundown building with signage indicating ownership by Gerard & Goodman Pty Ltd. Given its state of disrepair, I surmised that it was another relic of Adelaide very limited industrial past, a case of signage remaining long after the demise of the company.
In 1907, Alfred Edward Gerard (1877–1950) started an electrical merchandising business here in the east end of Adelaide, Gerard & Goodman. In 1921 he began making electrical fittings and by 1936 the company had out-gown its city centre premises and opened a new factory in Bowden (in the northern suburbs of the city) and at the same time became Gerard Industries producing the, by then, nationally known Clipsal range of products.
In addition to his electrical fittings business, Gerard was a tireless supporter of the welfare of Aboriginal children through the United Aborigines' Mission (of which he was a founder) as well as a more general Indigenous rights activist and a staunch member and lay preacher of Highbury Street Methodist Church.
The Clipsal brand was sold to the Schneider Electric Group in 2010 (though the group had an interest in it since 2003) thus ending its association with the Gerard family. Today Clipsal is one of South Australia’s largest manufacturing companies with worldwide sales as part of the Schneider Electric Group. The Clipsal brand is well known to V8 motor racing enthusiasts as sponsor of the Clipsal V8 Supercar races held annually in Adelaide.
I wonder if the executives of the Schneider Electric Group are aware of the existence of this modest building in the city centre – the birthplace of Clipsal.
Worth a looking in passing.
Location - Tavistock Lane - off Frome Street – noting that this is the rear of the building and that the former entrance (not accessible) was on Synagogue Place.
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Adelaide is often, with good reason, referred to as the City of Churches. While the vast majority of its many churches are of one Christian denomination or another there are synagogues, mosques, temples and other places of worship, representative of the religious mix of people in the city.
Between 1840 and 1900 Jews accounted for around 0.5% of the population and were active in all aspects of life within the growing colony. By 1900 there were nearly 2000 Jews in Adelaide.
From a religious perspective, in the early years, Adelaide’s Jews were without a rabbi and important matters were sent to England (from where the first Jewish settlers came) for rulings. In the 1840s prayer services were held in a private house in Currie Street. In 1848 the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation was formed and Adelaide’s first synagogue, in the Egyptian style common in the day, was built in Rundle Street in 1850, at the intersection of what is now Synagogue Place. As the congregation grew the first synagogue (pictured on the right of picture 3 attached) became too small and a second, larger one – on the left of picture 3 – was built in 1870.
Over time the synagogue was renovated and extended such that the building stretched back, well into Synagogue Place. In the early 1900s the synagogue’s main entrance was moved to the Synagogue Place side of the building and the Rundle Street side was converted into shops and rented out.
In June 1990 a new synagogue opened at Glenside, an inner city suburb, and the now Synagogue Place synagogue was converted to “The Church” nightclub which some time later became The Apple nightclub. The art deco façade, similar to that applied to picture houses of the day, was a 1938 addition to the whole building.
The building has retained this art deco façade (you will need to look up the see this on the Rundle Street part of the building – picture 2) together with a Star of David on the Synagogue Place side of the building – picture 1. Internally the part of the building now housing The Apple nightclub has been totally rebuilt and no vestiges of the synagogue remain. I understand there may be some traces of a synagogue in the non-public front part of the building.
While there is, admittedly, not a lot to see here, the former art deco synagogue is certainly worthy a look in passing.
Location - Synagogue Place, on the intersection with Rundle Street
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One of the great things about just going out for a wander or getting around a city on foot is that you come across places like this. Interesting places, but not must see tourist attractions, they are great ‘spacefillers’ between more significant sights.
In 1877, German emigrant and veteran of the Franco-Prussian war, Otto Boettger, set up a business here on Flinders Street making and repairing scientific equipment and instruments - theodolites, sextants, barometers, sundials, spectacles, binoculars, telescopes and much more. Boettger was the sole agent in Australia for Dr Carl Zeiss products.
Boettger’s business proved very successful and in 1897 he sold it to G.C.Kohler, also a manufacturing optician, who with his family continued to trade under Boettger’s name until 1974. Boettger returned to Germany in 1899.
In 1906 Kohler had this this very distinctive and individual property - ‘Observatory House’ - constructed. The tower, in Queen Anne style, was added so that his clientele could check out his wares prior to purchase and it quickly came serve as a symbol for the ‘Boettger’ business.
While Observatory House symbolised the business it was more a showroom and the main business was run from the building next door, on the right in my first attached picture, thought that building was a simpler two story affair in former times (picture 4 - 1912 - courtesy of the State Library of South Australia).
Today the heritage listed Observatory House is used as legal offices.
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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
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.
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"...
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.