Austral Hotel

The Austral Hotel and adjacent shops a complex unique on Rundle Street for its size and composition.

In 1880, architect William McMinn was commissioned to design 14 shops and a hotel covering almost two town acres. The complex was established for the South Australian Company, one of the most important commercial enterprises in the colony due to its role in the founding of the settlement.

The complex was built between 1880 and 1883, beginning with the hotel at the eastern section. It was first known as the Family Hotel, and the name was changed three times after that. It became the Austral in 1898, just before Australian Federation in 1901.

The hotel made headlines in the local newspapers in November 1915 when a horse, started by the strange noise of a motorcycle, bolted and crashed through a window into the front bar. Although there was much damage to the hotel, luckily the horse and patrons were largely unharmed.

Merchants Malcolm Reid and Co occupied the western end of the complex from 1909. A highly successful furnishing, drapery and ironmongery business, Malcolm Reid and Co. had branches in Port Adelaide, Broken Hill, Melbourne, London and Johannesburg. You can still see the company’s sign on the building today.

The complex is built of squared sandstone with stucco strings and surrounds to openings. The corner of the building adjacent to Bent Street was changed to include a tiered verandah and balcony of cast iron lacework. The lead light glass bearing the hotel’s name on the ground floor verandah was added later.

Images

Austral Hotel, Rundle Street, 2014

Austral Hotel, Rundle Street, 2014

The distinctive outdoor mosaic furniture located at the front of the Austral Hotel were designed by South Australian artist Annabelle Collett in 1995. | Creator: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

Austral Hotel shops, Rundle Street, 2014

Austral Hotel shops, Rundle Street, 2014

Creator: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

View of the Austral Hotel and Bent Street, c1929

View of the Austral Hotel and Bent Street, c1929

Source: Image courtesy the State Library of South Australia, B5536 View File Details Page

Horse drawn vehicles in Rundle Street in front of the Austral Hotel, 1913. The licensee at the time was M. Kerrison.

Horse drawn vehicles in Rundle Street in front of the Austral Hotel, 1913. The licensee at the time was M. Kerrison.

Source: Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/7/522 View File Details Page

"Gambling Case Dismissed", The Advertiser,

"Gambling Case Dismissed", The Advertiser,

The Austral Hotel was a well-known place for illegal betting in the 1950s. Luckily for John Wingate Rout, the charges against him for illegally betting at the Austral in 1954 were dismissed! | Source: "Gambling Case Dismissed", The Advertiser, 3 August 1954, p.7, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47598420 View File Details Page

An advertisement for Malcolm Reid and Co.

An advertisement for Malcolm Reid and Co.

This 1911 advertisement in the Kapunda Herald newspaper shows the variety of household goods available at the Malcolm Reid and Co. store in the Austral Hotel and shops complex. | Source: "Advertising", Kapunda Herald, 1 September 1911, p.7, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108337208 View File Details Page

Malcolm Reid & Co., 151-155 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Malcolm Reid & Co., 151-155 Bourke Street, Melbourne

From 1936, Malcolm Reid and Co. had a store on Bourke Street in Melbourne. The former site of the Empire Theatre, the company completely remodelled the building in 1938. View File Details Page

Street Address:

187-207 Rundle Street, Adelaide [map]

Official Website:

www.theaustral.com.au

Cite this Page:

Adelaide City Explorer Team & East End Coordination Group, “Austral Hotel,” Adelaide City Explorer, accessed June 23, 2017, http://adelaidecityexplorer.com.au/items/show/55.
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