Sculptures on David Jones Building

Adelaide Central Plaza 

20170209_113129[1].jpgMost South Australians and many other people from other parts of Australia and around the world will know about John Martin in connection with retail history in Adelaide. Partners Otto Peters and John Martin established a drapery store at 94 Rundle Street on 24 October 1866. The new shop was advertised in the South Australian  Advertiser on that day advising the public that they would be able to by general drapery and clothing – dresses, paletots (jackets). mantles (cloaks), ribbons, gloves etc. Eventually Peters left the business and the shop was expanded along Rundle Street (now Rundle Mall). Martin continued as a sole trader until he brought the Hayward family into partnerhsip with him.

John Martin died in 1889 aged only 49 but a long tradition followed his death.

During the years that the John Martin store existed in Adelaide, it was associated with the Christmas tradition of the Magic Cave (opened in 1896) and the Christmas Pagaent started by John Hayward in 1933. From the following year, the pagaent ended with Father Christmas entering the Magic Cave. It may also not be generally known that when the Beatles toured Australia in 1964, it was the John Martin company that sponsored them to perform in Adelaide as this city was not originally included in the itinerary. The John Martin company was also a major sponsor of the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

John Martin closed in 1998 and despite public pressure to keep the art deco building that fronted onto North Terrace, the new owners (David Jones) had the building demolished in 2000 to make way for the Adelaide Central Plaza. The building that had previously been David Jones’ store was sold and remodelled as Rundle Mall Plaza, opening in 2000.

The commissioned art work on the North Terrace facade is the work of Adelaide artist, Catherine Truman. The work called A Way of Seeing was installed in 2000. It is made up of several autumn leaves in bronze and fibre optics pinned like brooches to the building. When Tiffany & Co decided to open in Adelaide, the building was remodelled, the facade altered and some of the leaves removed to make way for Tiffany’s entrance.

20170209_1129202

In November 2007 some wonderful artwork was photographed on the old building west of the David Jones building on North Terrace. I haven’t been able to find any other photos so here is a link to Anny Studio. I doubt if this artwork is about the leaves on the David Jones building. Some reports say that the finger was in protest against the John Martin’s building being demolished. There are also reports that the occupier of the heritage building was unhappy about disagreements about the use of the lane separating it from the David Jones building. I am not sure what the real motivation was – perhaps someone has the answer.

0002-maple-leaf-finger-2

This photo from Anny Studio

Peregine Building

135 Rundle Mall | ADELAIDE  SA 5000

If you have walked down Rundle Mall near Twin Street, once or many times it is possible that you have not noticed this building. It currently houses Foot Locker, Dymocks Books and Price Attack. If you look up, you will see an interesting building which has been part of Adelaide’s history since 1879.

Back then, prominent South Australian architect, Rowland Rees, designed the building for butcher William Kither. Rees had come to the colony in 1869 where he practised as an architect and also served as a member of parliament in 1873 when he was Member for Burra, a seat he held until 1881. He then had the seat of Onkaparinga from 1882 to 1890. He designed such buildings as Lobethal Woollen Mills (1883), St Peter’s Town Hall (1885), Moonta Methodist Church (1873) as well as houses in Adelaide and North Adelaide.

The shop built for William Kither showed Rees’s attention to detail and use of ornate features. It includes wrought iron balcony which was later removed in the twentieth century. Kither was well known as a butcher and was also the first to import a butcher’s refrigerator. This is noted in the South Australian Register on 23 August 1884.

kithers-1932-b-6137

State Library of SA collection. B6137

 

This photo taken on 14 July 1932 is remarkably similar to the building today. The three pediments remain intact, and the windows and decorative features are almost unchanged. However, the decorative balcony is still there. On the middle pediment, you can see in the photo MDCCCLXXX – Roman numerals for 1890 the year the building was opened. On the left and right pediments, you can see the words Kither and Butcher and this business was to remain there until 1932 when Kithers moved to King William Street and the building sold to Clarksons.

Clarksons Limited had originally been established by German immigrant Heinrich Ludwig Vosz who arrived in Adelaide in 1848. After going to the Victorian goldfields he returned to Adelaide and set up a glass, oil and colour business in Rundle Street. The business had several owners after Vosz’s death in 1886 and was renamed Clarksons in 1915 after its managing director. The company expanded and included leadlight manufacturing. Clarksons. It moved to 135 Rundle Street (now Rundle Mall) in 1932 and  remained there until 1958 when the building was sold to the Commonwealth Saving Bank of Australia.

The photo below was taken in on 19 December 1932 just 6 months after the one above. Notice that the balcony has been removed. The left and right pediments are also missing and this could be that they have been removed to replaced Zither Butcher with the Clarkson name.

clarksons-1932

State Library of South Australia collection B 6209

The building is now owned by the Peregrine Corporation which owns several well known chain outlets such as Subway and On the Run. If you look up next time you are passing the building, you will notice the Corporation’s name is now on the central pediment – the left and right are now blank. You will also notice two owl like birds looking down on you. I haven’t been able to find out for sure but it makes sense that these are peregrines most likely installed by the Corporation when it bought the building. I am investigating this further. In the meantime, enjoy this building – another little slice of Adelaide’s history.

Note: Clarksons is still trading https://www.obrienglass.com.au/clarksons/

 

Observatory House

84 Flinders Street ADELAIDE  5000

20170130_140446.jpg

This Queen Anne style building on Flinders Street is one of Adelaide’s survivors. It was commissioned in 1906 by G.C.W. Kohler who was an instrument maker. His company made spectacles, binoculars and telescopes – things that helped people to see clearly. The inclusion of the tower was symbolic of these instruments.

Kohler had bought his business from Otto Boettger who emigrated to South Australia from Germany. Before coming to the colony, Boettger had been an instrument maker in St Petersburg in Russia and an astronomer’s assistant in Hamburg. In 1877, he established a successful manufacturing and repair business for scientific equipment in South Australia and by 1890 he was selling his instruments around Australia. He lived next door to the site of Observatory House until he sold his business to Kohler in 1899. Kohler had the House built in 1906 and his family continued to trade under the Boettger name until 1974.

The building is Federation period (1890 – 1915) and is built of brick, iron and cast iron. It features include fenestration, the observation tower and Marseilles tiles. It is state heritage listed and is a significant building because of its connection to German settlers, its original use, and its architectural design. It is currently occupied by solicitors and is not open for general viewing.

b1804-1

From the State Library of SA (copyright free) circa 1910

1906

From State Library of SA (copyright free) circa 1907

Thebarton Air Raid Shelter

92 South Road TORRENSVILLE SA (Corner Ashley Street & South Road TORRENSVILLE SA)

20170126_155655

Have you ever noticed this structure on South Road, just near the Thebarton Oval? Or wondered what it is? This is an air raid shelter built in the suburb of Thebarton (it is now it Torrensville due to re-zoning) in 1942 during World War 11. It took 4 months to build and cost £2000 to complete – that’s about $AU140,000 in today’s money.

It was decided by Lt-Col Shaw, the Commissioner of Civil Defence, that the shelter would be built in this location because ovals were known landmarks with plenty of space. They were considered to be unlikely targets for enemy bombs. The function of the Thebarton shelter was a communication and dispatch point. It had 16 telephone lines – 6 in and 10 out, and should there be an enemy attack the personnel in the shelter would coordinate evacuation and rescue efforts with staff in the communication centre in the basement of the SA Savings Bank in King William Street in the city of Adelaide.

20170126_155511

The centre was also the base for ARP (Air Raid Protection) wardens. Inside the shelter there were stockpiles of food, blankets, batteries, medicines and other essential supplies. If Adelaide was attacked, the people of Adelaide were encouraged to assemble at this location and be transported by bus to safer areas away from the city.

It is worth noting that the shelter at Thebarton was not intended as a refuge point and neither were other similar control centres that were built throughout Adelaide. Slit trenches and pipe trenches were used for the protection of civilians and many people built their own in backyards and gardens.

CONSTRUCTION

The shelter is made of concrete and timber and is mostly underground. The thick roof weights about 70 tons and two staircases lead down into the shelter. The reinforced external concrete walls are 30 cms thick while the internal ones are 23 cms thick. It is not a particularly large structure measuring only about 30 X 20 metres. While there are 6 rooms inside, the largest one is only about 10 X 6 metres.

CURRENT OCCUPATION

20170126_15585720170126_155606

For a short time after the War, the shelter was used by St John’s Ambulance Brigade and then by the Girl Guides’ Association. Since 1969 the shelter has been used by two thriving magicians’ clubs – the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Australian Society of Magicians who use the facility to hold meetings, store equipment and to house club rooms, a gallery and a museum. Note the art work featured on the South Road side of the shelter. The Society maintains the site and occasionally conducts public performances and lectures there, the last one being in May 2016. While I have not been able to find any open days scheduled for 2017, I will post dates as they are released.

While the SA Heritage Places Register lists the shelter as one of the few  in good condition in this state, it is possible that it could be removed as South Road is widened and extended. Even though you cannot see inside this facility, it is still worth a visit to the outside to see first hand what a structure of this nature looked like – while you still can.

For more information on the Air Raid Shelter –  The West Torrens Historian

Contact details for the Australian Society of Magicians are listed in the City of West Torrens Community Directory 2016 as
Peter Lohmann Phone: 0430 787 257 Email peeweetheclown@hotmail.com

Contact details for the International Brotherhood of Magicians:
call Don Gagliardi on 0428 435 778 or Drew Ames on 0439 821 708

Old Fire Station Thebarton

20170125_130744

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.

20170125_130820