Iconic buildings of Adelaide: The Marine Terraces of Grange Beach


891 ABC Adelaide By Brett Williamson Originally posted

Built in 1884, The Marine Terraces at Grange Beach are the only three-storey Victorian-styled terraces ever built on Australia’s coastline.

The block of eight are only one-third of what was originally planned for the site, with dreams of a 24-terrace site not eventuating.

Developers built the Grange Jetty, pub and terraces with a spur on the Port Adelaide rail line to help deliver Adelaide’s rich to their beachside residences.

But a financial downturn caused the area to fail and the developers were bankrupted just four years after The Marines’ completion.

The Marines Terraces in 1910.

Resident Dr Michael Henningsen bought one of these houses in 2006.

“The bottom levels were essentially the formal level for the family and the servants’ kitchen and the scullery,” he told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Afternoons program.

“The first level was the principal bedrooms and the secondary bedrooms were on the top level.”

With his partner, Dr Henningsen has spent eight years renovating the building.

“When we bought the place it was fairly seriously derelict,” he said.

The old kitchen has been converted into a library.

Dr Henningsen sought out heritage architect Dr Stephen Schrapel to help with the conversion of the heritage-listed home.

“They are a good example of the high Victorian period, with the large verandas and filigree ironwork,” Dr Schrapel said.

“It’s all very beautiful, but not well suited to the area that they were built in,” he added.

Filigree ironworks on the veranda of The Marines Terrace.

As part of the original structure, the ceiling heights are 13 feet (3.96m) at ground level, 12 feet on first, and 11 feet on the top floor.

The ceiling heights set the grandeur of the buildings for the time, but posed great challenges for residents, particularly when trying to heat such vast spaces.

In the same style as counter-weighted windows, the building has several counter-weighted half-length doors which lift to enable access to the verandas.

The view from one of the main bedroom at The Marines Terraces.

“The double-hung system was always designed as a ventilation method, so you could partially open the bottom and top so the cool air would come through the bottom and hot air exit the top,” Dr Schrapel said.

“This house has the most fantastic cross-ventilation,” Dr Henningsen added.

As it was originally built for Adelaide’s wealthy, the building had an intricate system of pulleys and bells to summon servants to the different rooms.

In honour of those who originally served their masters on the site, Dr Henningsen adapted a mechanism for their door bell.

An old servants bell transformed to be the terraces doorbell.

The building originally had a series of five bells and pulleys, with all five bells terminating in the maid’s quarters at the rear of the second floor.

“We didn’t have the bells when we got here but we did have all of the mechanisms which we have kept,” Dr Henningsen said.

“One of my plans is to have that restored and have it put back up in the maid’s bedroom.”

The old servant's bedroom at the rear of the first floor.

Although the location is stunning, Dr Henningsen said it also presented challenges maintaining the property from sea spray and weather.

“You have to be vigilant on the maintenance on the painting and stuff.

“When they were built, because of their technology at the time — like the cast iron for the filigree balustrades — within 12 months they were rusting,” he said.

To protect the original feel of the frontage, Dr Henningsen said they had recasted the filigree in aluminium to avoid rust and degradation.

Iconic buildings of Adelaide: The Torrens Drill Hall


Ever wondered about the building opposite the new Adelaide Oval? The prestigious white Torrens Drill Hall is celebrating its 80th year this year.

To mark the occasion, 891 ABC Adelaide took a tour of the site, which was previously used for a quarry and rubbish dump.

Today the hall still houses some of South Australia’s historical war treasures.

The original Drill Hall and storage shed in August 1935.

Two smaller buildings — a hall and a storage shed — were originally built on the site, before the current building opened on September 22, 1936.

“Architecturally we call it a stripped classical style, verging on a bit of art deco” architect Michael Queale told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Afternoons host Sonya Feldhoff.

“This hall was built in an exercise of providing better accommodation for those new things called guns and trucks, rather than horses and carriages.”

No 7 Platoon march past the Drill Hall in January 1945.

The facilities were refurbished in the period between the two world wars, in a time when the Commonwealth Government was investing heavily in such facilities as it prepared for World War II.

As part of the centenary of federation, the building and land was handed over to the South Australian Government from the Federal Government in 2001.

Mr Queale was the architect employed to oversee the building’s restoration to grandeur, and ensure its future use by several government departments.

Inside the Drill Hall.

“The RSL, air force association and Vietnam Veterans came together … and we fitted the top floor out for those organisations and the ground floor for cultural and community use,” he said.

Repairs were carried out to fix a leaking roof and salt damp.

A podium was added to the front of the building to aid wheelchair access and provide a platform for ceremonies.

The original bronze-clad doors can still be seen at each entrance, with modern glass doors installed behind.

A man walks into the Drill Hall at the Torrens Parade Ground.

Several items of memorabilia were introduced to the building once it was restored in 2001.

A bronze relief that once was on the facade of the RSL in Angus Street now hangs at the southern end of the Drill Hall.

The bronze relief from the front of the Angus Street RSL.

“Our upstairs tenants have a fairly fascinating collection of memorabilia,” Mr Queale said.

One piece — the still operational RAAFA links simulator — was used to train WWII pilots for night flying.

“We always called it the Snoopy plane,” Mr Queale said.

“Most air force pilots in World War II were trained in this thing.”

The RAAFA links simulator.

Iconic buildings of Adelaide: Christopher Smith art deco home in Prospect


An art deco house in Prospect, built in 1938 by renowned style architect Christopher Smith, remains a highlight of the Adelaide suburb.

David O’Loughlin, owner, convener of the Art Deco Society of Adelaide and Mayor of Prospect, took891 ABC Adelaide Afternoon host Sonya Feldhoff and heritage architect David Brown for a tour.

Prominent in the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, art deco became popular due to its simplicity of construction — square blocks with decorative shapes added on.

The streamlined era was bold and embraced the aerodynamic shapes of the emerging airplanes, ocean liners and trains of the time.

The lounge room features ornate ceiling and lighting decorations.

“Typically the common style is rendered with horizontal bands and lots of curves, often with bandings and crests and shields and stripes,” Mr Brown said.

The Prospect Road premises encapsulates two sub-genres of art deco, with the rear garage an example of the jazz era.

Unlike the smooth lines of the streamlined style, the jazz era focused on sharper, harsh and angular geometry.

The sharper edges used in the Prospect Road carport define its jazz era.

Art deco also borrowed from Aztec and Egyptian art history.

Colours and patterns were often aligned with the bold gold, blue and blacks featured in ancient Egyptian artefacts.

Mr O’Loughlin said the grandiosity of the building was almost a mirroring of how ancient pharaohs displayed their wealth and prowess to the world.

The golden ceiling of the dining room.

“All of this detailing is what the richness of art deco is all about,” he said.

“It was throwing off the shackles of the Edwardian-Victorian era.”

The wish to depart from the formal nature of the previous eras was also displayed in the routing and painting of trimmings in the kitchen.

An art deco styled kitchen.

Built-in furniture was also prominent in Smith’s design, with the main bedroom having a dressing table, benches and bedside tables installed.

It also had something that was very new for its time — a walk-in wardrobe.

“There were many features in here because they were seen to be modern and this guy was showing the world that he knew what modern meant,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

The main bedroom.

The upstairs bathroom continued the flair of the home, with unique tiling covering almost every angle.

“You can see the five colours in the terrazzo in the design of the floors, with the cross, the diagonal and the rounded-ended features,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“There are four different types of tiles in the walls — the castellated brown in the skirting, the swirling body tile, the five-coloured zigzag design topped by a bull-nosed tile.”

Four different tile styles are used in the bathroom.

Mr Brown described the house and garage as a masterpiece.

“It is an architect just showing off to the extreme,” he said.

“The attention to detail is just mind-blowing.”

The sitting room.

Iconic buildings of Adelaide: Come inside the Stock Exchange


Dwarfed by surrounding high-rises, Adelaide’s Stock Exchange building makes up in history what it lacks in size. Opened in 1901, the Edwardian/Federation-style building was the operational home of the exchange until 1991.

It then remained unused until it was bought by the State Government in 2007, restored, and reopened in 2009.

The building then became the home for the Royal Institute of Australia (RiAus) Science Exchange.

The architect who oversaw the renovations, Denis Harrison, told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Sonya Feldhoff the building required widespread repairs.

Inside the Adelaide Stock Exchange in 1901.

“There had been two fires — one in 1938 and one in 1982,” Mr Harrison said.

“Fortunately the western side was fairly intact and what we did on the western side was heritage restoration.

“The eastern side was all new work.”

The western end of the building houses the reading room, history room and boardroom.

Stock Exchange reading room wide.

“There were a lot of dog boxy-type offices,” Mr Harrison said.

“When everything went electronic, the building ceased as a stock exchange.”

Mr Harrison said the group of renovators went to great length to source matching timber for the intact rooms.

Care was also taken to ensure air conditioning was hidden in the restored rooms.

Original floor tiles and wood panelling were also reused.

Stock Exchange history room.

The building’s history room was named so as it contains many antiques from the Stock Exchange’s operational days.

“This is where Charles Todd set up the first telegraph station in 1901,” Mr Harrison said.

The building is also home to one of Adelaide’s most exquisite examples of stained-glass windows.

On the third floor of building is the Federation window.

Stock Exchange Federation window.

“This was given to the Stock Exchange by the Brookman family,” Mr Harrison said.

The six-panel window was produced by the Morris Company of the UK.

“They say it is one of the best examples of Morris Company windows in Australia and is valued at well over $1 million,” Mr Harrison said.

A quiet corner of the boardroom, with round table and fireplace.

At the top of the western side of the building stands the boardroom.

Damaged by fire, the ceiling of the room required extensive work.

“A lot of the roof trusses were still quite charred,” Mr Harrison said.

The boardroom’s previous use was also quite different.

“This was divided up into lots of little offices, had a false ceiling and there were great holes through the original ceiling,” he said.

Stock Exchange two-storey conference room.

With the eastern side of the building badly damaged by the 1938 and 1982 fires, Mr Harrison said it was easier to completely redesign the space.

“The original roof was gone — it was a mess,” he said.

An auditorium/function room able to seat 200 people was created.

“It’s now used for various functions,” Mr Harrison said.

The building is listed on the National and State Trust registers and remains a highly regarded example of Edwardian architecture, Mr Harrison said.

Iconic buildings of Adelaide: The Colonial Mutual Life building


The Colonial Mutual Life (CML) building of Adelaide has transformed several times in the past eight decades, but it is its heritage-listed facade that holds the most interest.

“It was built in 1934, right in the middle of the Great Depression,” architect Kerstin Bruneder told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Afternoons program.

891 ABC Adelaide By Brett Williamson Posted

Ms Bruneder said the building was constructed in a Romanesque-style and was the tallest building in the city for 35 years.
The Colonial Mutual Life building in King William Street.

However its Benedict stone facade — now heritage-listed — was not all it appeared to be.

“It is actually precast concrete,” Ms Bruneder said.

“It’s a manmade stone, hand chiselled and was actually very progressive for the time.”

One of the 200 monuments on the CML building.

On its 80th birthday, the building was transformed into a hotel.

Ms Bruneder led a team of architects and builders for five years and oversaw the empty office building come into its own as the 4.5-star Mayfair Hotel.

Major makeover

Although largely unchanged on the outside, inside the team made great use of areas previously used for storage.

The basement rooms were transformed into a restaurant.

The basement of the CML building was transformed into a restaurant.

Several tonnes of concrete had to be removed between the ground floor and basement to provide natural light to the space.

An equipment room — home to hundreds of pigeons when the building was vacant — became a rooftop bar.

The Hennessy Lounge takes its name from the building’s original designer, Hennessy, Hennessy and Co.

The original plant room has been transformed into a bar.

A challenging space

The building had been renovated several times in its history, creating several challenges for Ms Bruneder’s team.

“No column grid lines lined up,” she said.

“Wherever we looked there were challenges.

“It was a challenging space to be honest, as it was simply not built to be a habitable space.”

At one point the building had hosted radio station 5DN.

The building’s original height was boosted by 32 metres to accommodate the station and two wooden transmission masts were erected on top of the building.

King William St from Government House in 1936.

“I find it very rewarding in coming up here and seeing people enjoying a space and exploring a new bit of an old building which had never been used before,” Ms Bruneder said.

The mansard roof, covered in Wilson tiles, is also heritage-listed.

The Hennessy Lounge, named in honour of the building's original architect.

Iconic buildings of Adelaide: The Grand Lodge of Freemasons


As it approaches its 100th anniversary, step inside the hallowed halls of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Adelaide.

Built in the 1920s, the lodge is five storeys of ornate architecture.

“It’s in a style that is known as the inter-war free classical style,” heritage architect Bruce Harry told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Sonya Feldhoff.

“It’s a style that is unrelated to freemasonry that evolved after World War I.”

No doubt controversial in its day, the architects did away with the traditional style of British freemasons and moved towards an American, new-world design.

“It’s an eclectic style which was popular during the 1920s,” Mr Harry said.

The Grand Hall set up for a meeting.

He said the building combined the three ancient orders of architecture — Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.

Doric columns can be seen on the ground floor of the Hall of Fame, with Ionic columns used on the upper level.

“They have allegorical meanings within freemasonry, but there is not specific architectural form that craft lodges need to take,” he said.

Freemasons are an international men’s group which is believed to have been established in the late 14th century.

The closed-door groups were established to provide networking opportunities for local men and support communities.

Members must profess belief in a deity which is represented by the large G in the centre of each room.

The G stands for Great Architect and represents gods and deities from all religions.

The Grand Lodge of Freemasons Adelaide building was entered into the South Australian Heritage Register in 1984.

The entrance and Hall of Fame.

Freemasonry is made up of several lodges or sub-branches.

Each lodge generally meets on a monthly basis.

The building’s three lodge rooms are laid out in an east-west format.

The head of the lodge — the worshipful master — is always seated in the centre of the eastern row.

Supreme Grand Master's gold chain collar.

The lower two floors of the building contain offices and meeting rooms, with a Grand Hall on the ground floor and a second large room in the basement.

“The lodge rooms and their layout is derived from the stonemasons lodges on the grand cathedral sites in the medieval and Renaissance eras,” Mr Harry said.

“The original building was going to be faced and lined with a lot of ashlar stone cladding, but because of the cost of the time … a lot of that had to be cut out.”

The slightly smaller Glover Room at the Freemason's lodge in Adelaide.

Stonemasonry features on the ground and second floor, with wood, cement plaster and paint used for other floors to reduce costs.

“The timber elements within the lodge rooms are secondary to the building’s design but have specific allegorical roles in terms of the practices that take place,” Mr Harry said.

The Way Room at the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Adelaide.

The Way Lodge room is on the top floor of the building and can seat up to 600 members.

“It is no more important than the other lodges,” Mr Harry said.

“It is simply scaled up to fit larger meetings.”

The building’s architect, John Quinton Bruce, also designed other notable buildings in Adelaide including the Carclew, Woodville Institute and Electra House buildings.

“He was renowned in Adelaide for his florid architecture,” Mr Harry said.

“This building is his interpretation of what a grand masonic centre should look like.”

Among the treasures within the building, the one of most significance to freemasons is the contents of a 1912 time capsule.

The contents were discovered in 2015 when a headstone was moved to another site.

The Grand Lodge of Freemasons Adelaide building and Adelaide Masonic Centre Museum will be open to the public on May 7 and 8 from 10:00am till 4:00pm as part of the SA History Festival.

Contents of a 1912 Freemason time capsule unearthed last year.

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.