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Victoria Square
Title : Victoria Square Victoria Square
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Creator : Stuckey, E. E., artist
Date of creation : 1905
Format : Artwork
Dimensions : 140x230
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

King William Street, Victoria Square; a sketch

King William Street, Victoria Square; a sketch. This looks north from the centre of the square down King William Street. The General Post Office is on the left, with the Adelaide Town Hall on the right.


General Post Office

Located on the corner of King William and Franklin Streets, the General Post Office was designed by Edmund Wright and Edward Woods who won a competition ahead of twelve other architects. Their design had to be modified as it exceeded the budget. When the GPO finally opened on the 6 May 1872 the final cost was 53, 258 pounds 9 shillings and 2 pence.

Disputes arose over the quality of the building stone and eventually a formal inquiry was held. Building finally commenced in 1867, with Prince Alfred (second son of Queen Victoria) laying the foundation stone at the base of the clock tower. However there were further disputes between the architects and the builder over the choice of the stone and work was stopped for six minths while this was resolved. Further modifications were made, including reducing the height of the clock tower.

The external appearance of the GPO is in the Anglo-Italian style in cut freestone from the Glen Ewin quarries and the main portion of the walls of Glen Osmond stone. The two storey building features Doric and Ionic architecture with a cornice between the two storeys and another cornice topping the building.

The imposing clock tower known as the "Victoria Tower" made the GPO the tallest and biggest building in Adelaide during the mid to late 1800's.

An extension to the King William Street facade was built in the years 1891 to 1893 which was constructed in Murray Bridge freestone backed with brickwork. The additions of 1891-92 were expertly blended with the 1872 building and there is only a subtle difference in the colours of the stone in the two buildings.

The GPO is a major feature of the King William Street townscape and, with the town hall opposite, provides an impressive twin towers vista from Victoria Square.

The scale and level of detail of the GPO reflects the civic importance of the building.

THe GPO is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List, the Register of the National Estate and the South Australian Heritage Register.

Adelaide Town Hall

Home of the oldest municipal body in Australia, the foundation stone of this building was laid by Governor Daly, on 23 April 1863. In 1863 the councillors accepted Wright's final plans for the Town Hall drawn up in consultation with his young partner Edward Woods.

It was designed by Edmund Wright who had a preference for Italian architectural styles. The building reflects this with its strong Florentine and Genoan design influences. Large pillars and arches form the impressive colonnade, and there are carved heads of famous Italian artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello alongside those representing Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. The Town Hall has been rendered with Tea Tree Gully freestone.

The Town Hall was officially opened in June 1866 with the eight bells in the Albert Tower proclaiming the occasion. At the time the Town Hall was the biggest municipal building in the Southern Hemisphere.

The buildings either side of the colonnade were initially built by leasees of the council land, based on design guidelines set by council so development would match the style of the Town Hall. By the twentieth century the corporation's operations had expanded to such an extent that space for employees was at a critical level. In 1914 the council decided to build directly behind Queen's Chambers. This building was constructed in 1915 by Milburn and Jeffrey for 8500 pounds. In subsequent years, the Town Hall expanded into both of the side buildings. In the 1970s the Colonel Light Centre was built in Pirie Street as a further expansion of the Council's offices.

The complex is listed on the Register of the National Estate and the South Australian Heritage Register.

Related names :

General Post Office (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Adelaide Town Hall

Wright, Edmund W. (Edmund William), 1824-1888

Woods, Edward John, 1839-1916

Coverage year : 1905
Place : King William Street (Adelaide, S. Aust.)
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :
Adelaide Town Hall visitor's guide[Adelaide] Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 2000
Centenary of the General Post Office, Adelaide, 1867-1967 [Adelaide: Postmaster-General's Dept., 1967]
Heritage of the city of Adelaide: an illustrated guide Adelaide: Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990
Adelaide Town Hall visitor's guide [Adelaide]: Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 2000
Page, Michael F. Sculptors in space: South Australian architects 1836-1986 [Adelaide, S. Aust.]: Royal Australian Institute of Architects (South Australian Chapter), 1986
Morgan, E. J. R. Early Adelaide architecture 1836 to 1886 Melbourne, New York: Oxford University Press [1969]
Turney, Barbara Adelaide, city of charm [Kent Town, S. Aust.]: Axiom Publishing, 1989
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State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. From the ground up August 2004-



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