Hidden Stories, Small Details

Sometimes the smallest details offer clues to the most engaging stories from the past. Explore some of the most intriguing elements of the city's buildings.

Jubilee Exhibition Building: Staircase

At the back of the Napier Building, there is a set of stairs with ornate cast iron fencing. These are the last surviving link to a spectacular building that was once on this site. To celebrate 50 years since the colony's founding in 1836, the South…

Faces of the German Fatherland

To really appreciate this Victorian-era building, you need to take a few steps back and look upwards. It is fairly plain at eye level, but its first and second floors are far from ordinary. Architect Daniel Garlick and his son Arthur tendered their…

Adelaide Arcade: Coat of Arms

If you stand in front of the Adelaide Arcade in Rundle Mall, you will see Australia’s Commonwealth Coat of Arms proudly displayed high above on the building’s dome. But how is this possible? The Adelaide Arcade was built in 1885, and the first…

Beehive Corner

Beehive Corner is arguably the most popular and well-recognised buildings in Adelaide. Its distinctive corner turret, showing the year of construction, is in the shape of a beehive. On top sits a lone gold bee. A drapery shop known as the Beehive…

Tattersalls Club

A hidden motif in this building’s façade offers a clue to its original purpose. If you look closely, you can see horseshoes near the building's vertical columns. It was built for the South Australian Tattersalls Club. Founded as a betting and…

Adelaide Stock Exchange: Federation Window

This is an example of a building detail best appreciated from the inside. The former Stock Exchange building is now the home of the Royal Institution of Australia. As you enter turn left and walk towards the main staircase. At the top of the…

Epworth Building

At first glance, this building appears to be like any other office block in the city. However, if you head inside to the foyer and turn around to look back towards Pirie Street, a surprising feature above the entryway may provide a clue to its…

Stow Memorial Church: a hidden pet

Stow Memorial Church was built between 1865-1867 as a memorial to Reverend T.Q. Stow. While he was not directly linked to this church, Stow played a big part in establishing Congregationalism in South Australia. Robert George Thomas won a…

Observatory House

This building's distinctive tower may seem to be out of place on Flinders Street. However, it is a symbol of the business that once occupied the premises. Otto Boettger emigrated to South Australia in 1877 from Germany. In 1877, he set up a…