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.

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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.

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This photo from Anny Studio

Thebarton Air Raid Shelter

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

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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.

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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

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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

More stobie poles

Surrey Street, GOODWOOD  Stobie poles are popular for children’s artwork. These four poles are easy to spot on the corner of Surrey and Hampton Streets, GOODWOOD.

Springbank Road Panorama (just near Daniels Road). Two sides of one Stobie pole. If the Stobie poles of Adelaide are ever eventually removed, hopefully this one can be preserved.

What is a Stobie pole?

When you are in South Australia, you will most likely hear people mentioning Stobie poles. People often talk about these poles as being ‘deadly’ or ‘killers’. If you are wondering what they are, but were too afraid to ask – here’s your answer.

Stobie poles are actually power poles made of concrete enclosed in two metal braces which look a bit like they have come from railway lines. They were invented back in 1924 by an engineer at the Adelaide Electric Supply Company. His name was James Stobie and he used the materials that were readily available because termite resistant timber was not easy to find in South Australia.

Read more about Stobie poles here. Continue reading