Adelaide's stained glass windows are among the most diverse and interesting in Australia. The city's first stained glass window arrived in 1836 aboard the HMS Buffalo, one of the first ships sent to established the new British colony. It was installed in Holy Trinity Church on North Terrace, marking the beginning of the Colony of South Australia.
Religious communities were mainly responsible for the earliest examples of stained glass windows in Adelaide. Anglican and Catholic parishioners commissioned many of the stained glass windows that can still be found in the city's churches.
Stained glass windows were also fairly common in early secular buildings. A number of colonial houses on South Terrace feature stained glass imported from Britain. Prominent 19th Century families, including the Ayers, the Barr Smiths, and the Bonythons were all important patrons of stained glass in both domestic and business settings.
The popularity of stained glass in South Australia also saw the establishment of a local glass industry in the 19th Century. A number of small local studios designed and made stained glass for the city's businesses and residents.
Often the subject matter of the city's stained glass windows was determined by the placement of the window and the design fashions of the time. Religious windows mainly feature traditional iconography, such as biblical stories, while secular windows were often designed to mark important national events, such as Australian Federation in 1901.