This impressive edifice is the Goodman Building, the ‘crown jewel’ of the former Hackney tram depot complex constructed on this site in the late 1900s. The Goodman Building is the former administrative ‘home base’ of Municipal Tramways Trust, a government organisation founded in 1906 by an act of parliament to create a public, fully-electrified tramway network.
Proudly establishing Australia’s first system of metropolitan street tramways in the 1870s, Adelaide’s early horse-drawn tram system was slow to respond to the rapidly-changing technologies of the early 20th century. When the remote West Australian mining town of Kalgoorlie managed to introduce its own electrified trams in 1902, Adelaide’s citizens had finally had enough. Following the appointment of Mr. William Goodman as the State’s Chief Engineer in 1907, the new electrified system was inaugurated on 9th March 1909 to much public celebration.
The Goodman Building was designed by architects H. E. Sibley and C. W. Wooldridge under the direction of William Goodman, after whom the building is named. The construction was carried out by Smith, Timms and Co. With its prominent siting on Hackney Road and its distinctive scale and massing, the Goodman Building is of considerable architectural interest, presenting as a bold combination of neo-Classical detailing with Arts and Craft Movement influences. Alongside the adjoining Tram Barn, the Goodman Building is considered to represent a high standard of Edwardian utilitarian design in South Australia, demonstrating the civic pride and general confidence of the period.
Following the closure of the Hackney tram depot in 1992, The Goodman Building and adjoining Plant Biodiversity Centre were reopened by South Australian premier John Olsen on the 20th November 1999 as facilities to support the operations of the Gardens. A State Heritage building since the 1980s, the Goodman building is now an integral part of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens heritage landscape.
GGA has a long association with the Goodman Building dating from the late 1990s fit-out. In 2014 we prepared a condition survey of the exterior of the building, which has led to several stages of conservation works including repointing, painting and replacing the entire slate roof. Works have been packaged and undertaken as funding became available, with the final stage due for completion in May 2022.
Grieve Gillett Anderson Architects have previously undertaken heritage assessments for the Goodman building and are currently undertaking conservation works on the building’s façade, which should be nearing completion or are perhaps already complete as you walk around the building!