The new Royal Adelaide Hospital sits on the site of the old cattle yards and markets that operated in the mid 1800s. After 1841 the market was connected to the City Slaughter House built to the west of Adelaide Gaol. Slaughter House Road ran from North Terrace, behind the livestock yards to what is now Bonython Park. From the 1850s until the 20th century the City Council's major income derived from the Park Land was from the slaughterhouse and cattle market.
In 1913, while new gardens were being created, the council was able to expel the cattle market from the Park Lands after 65 years and relocate it to Gepps Cross. The yards were seen as damaging to the Park Lands and the aesthetics of the city. The noise, dust and smells from the many cattle and sheep was no longer accepted. That also allowed the construction of railway lines across the former route of Slaughterhouse Road.
Sitting opposite the former cattle yards site, over the other side of North Terrace is the Newmarket Hotel, which was built in 1847 and was then called the Newmarket Inn.
The Inn was a favourite of abattoir workers employed at the cattle market. They would simply cross North Terrace on their lunch breaks . It was renamed the Newmarket Hotel in 1883 and today remains as a landmark. Local custom holds that this is where the ‘Butcher’ glass was supposedly invented – being the amount of beer that butchers were allowed to consume during their break!
Outside the Newmarket Hotel at the corner of Port Road, North Terrace and West Terrace, a large bronze plaque – 80 cm across - is embedded in the footpath. It's called "Trig Station A" and it marks the point where Colonel William Light began his trigonometrical (trig) survey of Adelaide, in 1837.
In February 2018 the hospital's lights went out unexpectedly in the middle of the day, even in an operating theatre during surgery, for 20 minutes,. Maintenance staff were testing backup generators which had run out of fuel.
Today, the hospital includes two helipads on its roof and parking for 2,300 cars underneath.