The Adelaide Town Hall remains a major city landmark and a popular live music venue for concerts. The foundation stone for the City’s town hall was laid on 4 May 1863 by the Governor of South Australia at the time, Sir Dominick Daly. When it was completed three years later, the new civic building was a much-celebrated addition for the city and colony. On 22 June 1866, a ball was held to celebrate the official opening of the new town hall. Over 800 guests attended the event, paying 35 shillings for a double ticket. A concert followed on 26 June 1866, where 1500 guests enjoyed a selection of music including Locke’s celebrated music to Macbeth and a selection from Balfe’s opera of Satanella.
Shortly after the opening, a campaign began to acquire a pipe organ for the Town Hall’s auditorium. Funds were raised by the Adelaide Philharmonic Society and the City Council, and in 1875 a pipe organ was ordered from London manufacturers, William Hill & Son. The opening concert was held on 2 October 1877.
Over the next several years, the organ was enlarged and upgraded, and in 1923 the organ’s hydraulic engine was replaced with an electric motor. By 1989, however, the City Council decided it was time to replace the pipe organ. A new Walker & Sons Pipe Organ was installed in 1990, and the original pipe organ found a new home at the Barossa Regional Gallery Hall in Tanunda.
The Adelaide Town Hall has hosted to some of the world’s most famous musicians including Dame Nellie Melba, The Beatles, and Paul Kelly. It is the chosen venue for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian String Quartet. The Adelaide Town Hall continues to play a key role in festival openings and other notable music concerts and events throughout the year.