Iconic Buildings of Adelaide: The Stag Hotel


The Stag, either in the form of a hotel or an inn, has graced the corner of Rundle Street and East Terrace in Adelaide since 1849.

The newly renovated Stag Hotel in 1910.

“This is one of South Australia’s iconic hotels, at the gateway to the city from the east,” DASH architect Jason Schulz told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Afternoons program.

“The very early hotels were very humble buildings and inns.

The original Stag Inn in 1876.

“Many early buildings in the city weren’t built to last.”

The prosperity of the state during the 1880s and 1890s provided publicans and building owners with the funds needed to rebuild much of the streetscape.

“Grand balconies and views across the city were integral to that [redesign],” Mr Schulz said.

A group of men stand outside the Stag Inn.

The original Stag Inn was demolished in 1902 to make way for a larger hotel, which was opened the following year.

Mr Schulz said the architectural themes of the time — federation, Queen Anne and Edwardian — were heavily used in the redesign.

“With upper level dormer windows and a terracotta roof, there is no other hotel like it in the state,” Mr Schulz said.

The Stag Hotel in 1941.

The building remained relatively unchanged until a major refurbishment in the mid-1990s.

“Twenty or 30 years ago [pubs] were very compartmentalised,” Mr Schulz said.

Many of the interior walls were removed or reduced to provide more open spaces.

The original staircase has been kept through renovations.

The Stag Hotel has been one of the few city hotels to keep its wide-spanning verandas.

“Many [pubs] have had to have those balconies pulled back because of road widening and posts close to the kerb getting hit by vehicles,” Mr Schulz said.

“What’s so great about it is that it has maintained its high degree of authenticity.”

Mr Schulz said although the city had grown up around the building over the years, it still remained a prominent landmark 113 years later.

“When it was redeveloped in the 1900s it was a landmark then — and it remains a landmark today,” he said.

The Stag Hotel in 2016.