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SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

From the ground up - architecture in South Australia


Government buildings       
Public buildings       
Pubs and churches       
Lost Adelaide walking tour       

The architecture of South Australia is characterised by six chronological styles, beginning with Old Colonial to 1840, Victorian to 1890, Federation to 1915, Interwar, Postwar and the Late Twentieth Century from 1960.

However, there are many more ways of classifying buildings apart from the architectural styles they wear such as the ideas they communicate, the functions they serve, the history they relate, the structural or engineering systems they use.

Many of the beautiful buildings standing today date from periods of outstanding prosperity, such as the great wheat boom of the 1870s and 1880s.

Architects were not required to be registered until 1939, but the major 19th century figures such as George Strickland Kingston, Thomas English, Edward Woods and Edmund Wright are well known.

South Australia is noted for the use of corrugated iron, for underground houses at Coober Pedy, and for 'Adelaide lace' decorative cast iron on verandas.  

Further reading:

Lost Adelaide walking tour

Bagot, W. H. Some nineteenth century Adelaide architects, Adelaide: Pioneers' Association of South Australia, 1958

Heritage of the city of Adelaide: an illustrated guide, edited by Susan Marsden, Paul Stark and Patricia Sumerling Adelaide: Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990

Morgan, E. J. R. Early Adelaide architecture 1836 to 1886, Melbourne, New York, Oxford University Press [1969]

Page, Michael F. Sculptors in space: South Australian architects 1836-1986, [Adelaide, S. Aust.]: Royal Australian Institute of Architects ;(South Australian Chapter), 1986



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