For a century, this unique building was an important site of South Australia’s financial affairs. Opened in 1901, it served as the home of the Stock Exchange of Adelaide. The Stock Exchange formed in 1887 when a group of financial brokers and traders came together to trade stocks and bonds for companies listed in the colony. It aligned with the stock exchanges in Australia’s other capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart.
By the beginning of the twentieth century it was decided that the Stock Exchange, which had been trading on Pirie Street, required new premises. Architects H.E. Fuller and H.N. Dunn designed the red brick building in the Federation Edwardian style. South Australian Premier J.G. Jenkins opened the new building on 6 September 1901. Along with its distinctive corner tower, the Stock Exchange building also boasted a specially commissioned stained glass window designed by the famous London Company Morris & Co., the first to be brought to South Australia. The building was damaged twice by fire, once in 1938 and again in 1982. The stained-glass window miraculously survived both blazes!
The Stock Exchange remained in the building until 1991. For 20 years after their departure, the building remained empty. In 2009, renovations were undertaken for the building to become the new home of the Royal Institute of Australia, the first international satellite of the Royal Institute of Great Britain. During the renovations, spaces within the building that had been closed up over the years were reopened and many of the original features restored.
The importance of the heritage-listed building as the home of the Royal Institute of Australia is stated on the organisation’s website: “There is a powerful symbolism in the building’s restoration: we can only shape our future by understanding our past.”