State Library of South Australia logoThe Foundation of South Australia 1852 - 1883
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future


  • Adelaide to Port Augusta railway opened.
  • City Baths open in King William Street, Adelaide.

For more information see The Foundation of South Australia: 1852-1883, Key events and issues.

Advertisement for City Baths
Title : Advertisement for City Baths Advertisement for City Baths
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Source : Adelaide almanac and directory for South Australia, 1883, p. 108 of advertisements
Date of creation : 1883
Additional Creator : Boothby, Josiah, 1837-1916
Format : Magazine
Dimensions : 215 x 145 x 55 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Advertisement for the City Baths, 1883, promoting tepid baths, Turkish and swimming baths and swimming classes.

The City Baths once stood on the western side of King William Road, behind Parliament House. The original City Baths, built in 1861, provided Turkish and warm water baths to the public when few houses had their own bathrooms. .

The initial building was replaced in 1883, and was a two story combination of Italianate and Jacobean styles set five metres further back to allow the widening of King William Road. The first floor of the new establishment incorporated eighteen hot baths, retiring rooms, and a suite of rooms for the manager. The ground floor housed a large open swimming open pool for men and a smaller roofed pool for women. The men's pool was roofed in 1885. The Baths then remained much the same until 1910, when they were extensively and lavishly refurbished.

The Baths were owned by the City of Adelaide, but leased and managed for more than fifty years by the same family. Mr Thomas Bastard was granted the original lease and he kept it a family affair - as seen by this advertisement. Mrs. Bastard was superintendent of the Ladies' Department, their daughter, Emma, was 'swimming mistress' and son, Charles, was 'assistant swimming master'. Thomas died in 1883 and management of the Baths was then taken over by his sons, first John, and later, Charles. Thousands of children were taught to swim by Charles Bastard who remained manager of the City Baths for several decades, and became a popular Adelaide identity.

Renovations for a new exterior and pool began in 1939. On 13 January 1940 the new open air Olympic Swimming Pool was opened. It was 55 yards (50.29 metres) long and could be heated but rarely was due to the cost. In 1969 The City Baths were demolished as part of the construction of the Adelaide Festival Centre. They were replaced by the Adelaide Swimming Centre (now the Adelaide Aquatic Centre) which stands in the northern Parklands of Adelaide.

Coverage year : 1883
Period : 1852-1883
Place : King William Street
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :
Heritage of the city of Adelaide: an illustrated guide Adelaide: Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990
Bastard, Charles, Anecdotes of Adelaide manuscript, 1929
Bastard, Charles, 1863-1941 Something about the Adelaide Turkish Bath Adelaide : Sharples, n.d.]
Linn, Robert Those turbulent years : a history of the city of Adelaide, 1929-1979: Adelaide : Adelaide City Council, 2006 (Adelaide : Openbook)
Morton, Peter, After Light : a history of the City of Adelaide and its Council 1878-1928 Kent Town, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 1996
Internet links :

The autobiography of 'Cockney Tom'



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