This former hotel is one of the city’s most important and precious heritage sites despite its humble appearance. The simple structure was built in 1839, just two years after Colonel William Light first laid out the city. The hotel is named Viscount Beresford, a colleague from Light’s military service in Spain fighting the French Army.
John Martin bought this block of land in 1839 and organised the building’s construction. The Beresford Arms was first licensed in 1840, with James Ellery as the licensee/lessee. It became a popular establishment with early colonists, and by 1851 consisted of eight rooms and stabling for horses. In 1856 its name was changed to the Oddfellows Arms.
The Beresford Arms is one of the oldest buildings remaining in the city, and is a unique example of early Adelaide hotels. Many hotels from the early colonial period were torn down and rebuilt in the 1870s and 1880s. This one survived. The most likely explanation is that it ceased operating as a hotel in 1861. It has been a private residence ever since.
In 2001 the building was significantly damaged by fire. The owner undertook major conservation work in conjunction with the Adelaide City Council to restore the site. During this work one of the earlier owner's/licensee’s names was discovered on the front of the building under the 1890s verandah. This lettering is again visible today.