The facades of several city buildings were dramatically modernised between the two world wars. One was Sands and McDougall's South Australian headquarters on King William Street.
John Sands and his brother-in-law Thomas Kenny formed a printing partnernship in 1851. Dugald McDougall joined them in 1860. Kenny retired a year later and the firm was renamed Sands and McDougall.
By the 1870s it was one of the largest companies in the Australian colonies. It grew as a stationer, bookseller, printer and account book manufacturer. The Sands and McDougall Directories were particularly well known. The first Melbourne directory was published in 1857 and it was still being printed well into the 1970s. The firm had a strong presence in South Australia. It set up this office in the colony in 1882.
On the upper section of the façade you can see geometrical patterns, shells and circular motifs on the parapet. There are also fluted panels between the windows. Metal grilles are visible on the windows of the second floor.