Old Fire Station Thebarton

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Located in Carlton Parade | THEBARTON SA (now a private residence)

Thebarton is Adelaide’s suburb – established in 1839 just after the colony was proclaimed in 1836. Thebarton got its name from the home place of Captain Colonel William Light. His home in Suffolk, England was actually called Theberton  and it was probably a clerical/typographic error that resulted in the spelling being changed. Later when boundaries were added and changed and other suburbs established, many of the buildings that included Thebarton in their name were actually then in Torrensville – like Thebarton Oval, Thebarton Theatre, and the Old Fire Station.

Even though Thebarton was established in 1839 and was the location for many factories, it was not until 1916 that the fire station was built there and officially opened on Saturday 6th January.

The Advertiser newspaper reported the event on Monday, 8th January 1917. The report said that the button of the alarm bell was pressed and the firemen were ready in just 8 seconds, pulling out the hose along the dusty street, and had the water on in just 1 minute 46 seconds. When the bell was pressed, firemen were also summoned from nearby Adelaide and North Adelaide. The hose reel from the head station in Adelaide arrived in 7 minutes and the water was on in 73 minutes. The report went on to say that the North Adelaide unit was delayed because of at train at the Mile End railway crossing gates for 2 minutes, but still was able to reach Thebarton station in 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

The station was equipped with a large and powerful motor reel and ladder. Apart from having state of the art equipment, the building itself served a population of about 15,000. It was designed with a motor house in the middle front and flanked by the station-master’s residence on the left and the foreman’s residence on the right. The rooms were described as ‘spacious’ with provision made for 8 single men at the rear of the building. The two apartments allocated to the station-master and foreman and their families each included two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The red brick building did not include any unnecessary adornments. The original design remains evident today. To see how it looked in 1920, click here.

The old Thebarton is now in Torrensville. The western suburbs are rich with history from the early years of settlement. Find the fire station on Carlton Parade and take the time to find interesting old buildings, shops and advertising signs that still exist in this vibrant multi-cultural district.

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