In 1886 there were moves to create a school in South Australia for technical and practical instruction in engineering, mining, agriculture and other industries. The school was set up two years later. Sir John Langdon Bonython, the namesake of the nearby Bonython Hall, was a member and president of its representative council for 50 years.
The school was at first in the eastern annexe of the Jubilee Exhibition Building. By the beginning of the 20th century it needed more space. George Brookman bequeathed £15,000 for a building. This building, which opened in 1903, is often called the Brookman Building.
Architect C.E. Owen Smyth, who also designed the North Wing of the South Australian Museum and the Art Gallery, was commissioned for the project. Poor economic conditions in South Australia at the time constrained his design. He kept costs down by using cheaper red brick with small amounts of the more expensive limestone in the dressings.
All the materials used for the building were sourced within South Australia. The blue-coloured stone in the foundations are from Auburn. The marble in the steps, front entrance and the staircase hall came from Angaston. The bricks were from Hallett’s yard, in Brompton.
In 1960 the school was renamed the South Australian Institute of Technology. And increase in the number of building courses saw the name change again in 1963 to the School of Architecture and Building.
In 1991 the school merged with the South Australian College of Advanced Education to form the University of South Australia. The former School of the Mines and Industry building is now part of the University of South Australia’s City West campus.