Savings Bank of South Australia Head Office: ‘The Radio Cabinet’

The Savings Bank of South Australia's head office is one of the few significant tall buildings built in Adelaide during the Second World War. It is the maximum height the building regulations allowed at the time.

The bank's headquarters had been at 23 Currie Street since 1904. Over time it outgrew the space. The financial institution commissioned architects Eric Habershon McMichael and Alfred C. Harris to build a new headquarters. McMichael is also known for his work on Kelvin House and the Verco Building on North Terrace.

Work began in May 1939. War broke out four months later and national defence needs delayed delivery of the steel basement sections. Labour shortages, also due to the war, slowed things down.

The new Savings Bank of South Australia’s Head Office finally opened on 2 February 1943. Premier Thomas Playford and the Governor attended the event.

This building was affectionately called the "radio cabinet" as it resembled wireless sets of the day. Typical Art Deco features are its streamlined design with stepped façade, parallel line motif and high and low relief ornament. There are also carved symbols of South Australian agriculture on the exterior.

The ground floor façade on King William Street is finished in Murray Bridge granite. Above this, the building’s is covered with stone from Waikerie, South Australia.



97-105 King William Street, Adelaide