Pulteney after

Bringing Rundle Mall's History to Colour

2018 marked 30 successful years of the Heritage Incentives Scheme and the City of Adelaide's commitment to protect, conserve and promote our built heritage.

To celebrate, the story of Adelaide's built heritage is told through a selection of digitally colourised black and white photographs, capturing moments in Adelaide's history over the last two centuries and reimagining them in vibrant colour by international colourist Marina Amaral.

Famous faces on Pulteney

The red brick building on the right is the Ruthven Mansions, which are still standing and in use today, over 100 years later. The now-demolished Grand Central Hotel was located at the south-east corner of Rundle and Pulteney Streets and stood for 66 years before it's demolition in 1976.

Original source photos: State Library of South Australia, B8519, c.1913

A dark day for Adelaide

On Easter Saturday 1901, a fire swept through John Martin's Rundle Street department store. An estimated crowd of 10,000 people watched as the plumes of thick black smoke left the building.

In those days, store window displays were lit by glass gas burners, and on Easter Saturday, one cracked and set fire to the window decorations. The store workers were quick to evacuate everyone from the building, and the first steam fire engine arrived on the scene in five minutes.

Firemen worked for hours to control the blaze, with their only refreshment being drinks brought over by Mrs Balfour, from the nearby Balfours Cafe.

Original source photos: City Archives, HP0221:01, c.1901

Lights, camera, action!

By the 1920s, Rundle Street was the city's retail hub by day and at night, theatre and cinemas were the big attractions. The York Theatre opened on the corner of Rundle Street and Gawler Place on 5 November 1921, built for the Greater Wondergraph Theatre's chain.

The theatre held over 2,000 people, and at the time of this image two American movies were screening: Universal Picture's action film Chinatown Squad and The Goose and The Gander – a Warner Brother's romantic comedy.

The side walls of the York Theatre's auditorium were hand-painted by George Coulter with landscapes representing Australasian scenery.

When television came along in 1959, many theatres and cinemas around the town closed down. The York Theatre's final screenings weren't long after in 1960 and by 1962, the building was demolished.

Original photo source: State Library of South Australia, B64013, c.1936

As busy today as it ever was

Beehive Corner has been home to Haigh's Chocolates since 1915 and is one of Adelaide's most popular and recognised landmarks jam-packed with history long before Haigh's occupied the space.

The first building on the site opened in 1849, with a drapery shop called 'The Beehive' as the first occupant, with the name reflective of the 'hive of activity' in the area.

The iconic building that stands on this bustling corner today was constructed between 1895 – 1896 and draws on the Gothic Revival style, with incredible intricacies both inside and out — and a gilded bee sitting atop the turret.

Original photo source: State Library of South Australia, B3532, c.1909

Spooky Tales

When Adelaide Arcade first opened on 12 December 1885, it was home to 50 shops and was one of the first city buildings with electric lighting.

There are rumoured to be at least six ghosts that call Adelaide Arcade home and over the years, there have been numerous reports of sightings, footsteps, objects moving and other unexplainable occurrences.

Original photo source: State Library of South Australia, B7496, c.1886

Cheers to our grand old pubs!

Adelaide is known as the 'City of Churches', though did you know Adelaide has always had more pubs than churches? These pubs have long contributed to the character of the city and over years, 9 pubs have existing along Rundle Mall.

The Hamburg hotel used to stand on the south-east corner of then-Rundle Street and Gawler Place. It was later replaced by the Oriental Hotel and is today known at the Walsh Building.

Original photo source: State Library of South Australia, PRG 631/2/1288, c.1909

Flags fly for troops

The Boer War (11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902) was the first war in which South Australians fought overseas and local women served as nurses.

The Kither building, seen to the left of the image, packed with onlookers has its own story to tell. In 1857, William Kither Senior took over a butchery established on the site a year prior. His son, William Junior succeeded him and became well-known as the 'Knight of the Cleaver'.

By 1880, this Italian Renaissance style building had replaced the old shop. The new premises garnered much attention when the South Australian Electric Company introduced the first commercial lighting in Adelaide there in 1882. Crowds of onlookers gathered between six and eleven o’clock.

Original source photos: State Library of South Australia, PRG 631/2/1813, c.1900

The story of Stephens Place

Edward Stephens was a manager of South Australia's first bank and a member of the City's Street-Naming Committee which decided the names of Adelaide's streets and squares.

The colony's Surveyor-General, Colonel William Light, selected the site for Adelaide and finalised the city's layout. In 1837, he and George Kingston published a map showing numbered Town Acres and the named major thoroughfares.

As the acres were sold, sub-divided and developed, streets like Stephens Place were created and named after people such as Edward Stephens.

At the end of Stephens Place is Garko House (formerly Haigh's Building) which was built in 1923 for A.E Haigh, founder of Haigh's Chocolates.

Original photo source: City Archives, LS0647, c.1923

Delivery of the mighty Wurlitzer

When the Regent Theatre opened on 29 June 1928, it was described as a 'Palace of Art' and made going to the pictures a special occasion.

The auditorium sat 2,300 people, with a highly-arched proscenium as the focal point. A huge crystal chandelier hung above the lounge circle and tapestries, paintings and other artworks adorned the interior. The ushers and usherettes were dressed in military-style uniforms.

The famous Wurlitzer pipe organ arrived three months after the opening and cost £25,000. It premiered on 22 September 1928 with American Ray de Clemens at the keys and often filled the theatre with music.

When television was introduced in 1959, theatre and cinema audiences dwindled and in 1967, plans were drawn up to create an arcade in the stalls area. The theatre ended up closing in 2004, though Regent Arcade remains a popular Rundle Mall destination.

Original photo source: State Library of South Australia, B4845, c.1928