Adelaide’s Historical Buildings and Long-Lost Sights Shown in Colour Photograph Exhibition

It’s the bustle of Adelaide’s Beehive Corner, the crowning of Elder Hall, and a spectacular Easter shop fire — visible for the first time in colour photographs.

Adelaide City Council has commissioned artist Marina Amaral to add waves of colour to a series of vintage black and white photos for a special exhibition in Rundle Mall.

It is celebrating 30 years of the Heritage Incentives Scheme, which provides payments to building owners to restore and maintain the character of their little pieces of Adelaide.

Dozens of people are seen swimming and splashing in a colourised historical photograph of the Adelaide City Baths in 1940.

“I tend to believe that Adelaide’s best days are ahead of us, but as we plan for a very exciting future, we’ve really got to treasure what’s great about Adelaide,” Lord Mayor Martin Haese said.

“Our heritage, our architecture and our character buildings are certainly part of that story.”

There are 2,497 heritage-listed places in both Adelaide and North Adelaide, about 27 per cent of the total listings in South Australia.

“The Beehive Corner is a wonderful building and it’s got a gothic architecture associated with it, and Elder Hall of course in the University of Adelaide grounds — they are two projects that have both benefited from the Heritage Incentives Scheme,” Mr Haese said.

Mr Haese said modern-day developments, like the SA Health and Medical Research Institute, could eventually be heritage-listed alongside other historic icons.

“I put an open callout to all architects, all planners, all designers, all developers, and all investors, to really think squarely about the importance of design and architecture in characterising our city,” he said.

The Adelaide City Council has provided $20 million in payments since the scheme began in 1988.

Here are some of the highlights from the exhibition:

Pulteney Street, c.1913

A colourised photo of Pulteney Street in 1913, with part of the Ruthven Mansions and a tram visible.

Visible to the right of this image is part of the Ruthven Mansions — the first city apartment building to boast all the mod-cons of the time, such as electric lighting and mechanical ventilation.

Also visible in this photo is the Grand Central Hotel, which was demolished in 1976. In its day it hosted famous figures such as The Prince Of Wales, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, and The Kinks.

John Martin’s fire, c.1901

A colourised historical photograph of smoke rising from the John Martin's department store in Adelaide, 1901.

On Easter Saturday in 1901, a fire broke out in a store display window in John Martin’s department store on Rundle Street and eventually wiped out part of the building.

The store windows were lit by glass gas burners, one of which cracked and set fire to the decorations.

An estimated 10,000 people gathered on Rundle Street and North Terrace to watch the spectacle.

City Baths, c.1940

Dozens of people are seen swimming and splashing in a colourised historical photograph of the Adelaide City Baths in 1940.

The City Baths opened in 1861, proving a popular spot for locals for more than 100 years before being demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Adelaide Festival Centre.

The outdoor Olympic-size pool and high-diving platform pictured above were installed in 1940.

Olympic swimming coach Harry Gallagher started managing the baths in the 1950s, bringing with him the freestyle champion Dawn Fraser.

Beehive Corner, c. 1909

A colourised photograph of the busy Beehive Corner, in Adelaide, 1909, featuring horse-drawn carriages and people wearing hats.

Currently home to local confectionary institution Haigh’s Chocolates, Beehive Corner has been a bustling hive of activity since the 1800s.

The building located on this busy corner today was constructed between 1895-1896, drawing on the Gothic Revival style.

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