SA Historical Archaeology Database 

   
Home Page

Project Information

South Australian Cemeteries
  • Browse all
  • View by Cemetery
  • Search

  • South Australian Architecture

    View Student Assignments
  • Browse all

  •  


    Data Entry Access
    (Requires Login)

    Admin Login
    (requires Password)

     

    Assignment Detail Page:

    Project Title : Archival research into Gawler Chambers, 188 North Terrace, Adelaide
    Assignment Type : Property (house/land)
    First Name : Rebecca
    Last Name: Vartto
    Date Range: NA
    Why: My aim for this assignment was to research the historical significance of Gawler Chambers of 188 North Terrace, Adelaide. The building has always fascinated me because of its beautiful appeal and grand design, and it has always baffled me why such an incredible building would be left unused and, why it seems to be neglected, resulting it seems, in ruin and despair. I wanted to research and find out as much information as I could concerning the building, in order to understand: what it was used for throughout time, what, if any, buildings existed prior to the Gawler Chambers being constructed, what businesses resided there, how the building has changed throughout its existence and also what is happening in terms of the building's protection for the present and future.
    Summary : 188 North Terrace Adelaide, South Australia, 5000 Register of the National Estate Class: Historic Registered: 21.11.2000 Owner (past): The South Australian Company. Built by the aforementioned 1913 and owned by the same company until 1945. Owner (present): Adelaide Development Company. [Source: The Mail, January 18th, 1913. South Australian Company Records S.A.A.B.rg 42, series 12]. Gawler Chambers is heritage listed in both the SA State Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate and was built in C. 1913-1914. Gawler Chambers has significance because of its association with the South Australian Company, which was mainly domiciled in England. The company has played a central role in the foundation of South Australia, and established many industries and enterprises, that included whaling, Banking and pastoral enterprises. Gawler Chambers is one of the only surviving reminders of the company, that actively occupied the site for well over a hundred years, in and earlier building in 1842 and then in Gawler Chambers until 1945. Gawler Chambers because of its connection to the South Australian Company has a very important link to the early development of South Australia. The original building that occupied the allotment of acre 19 was for the South Australian School Society in c.1839 but unfortunately during the building, and also the catalyst of the early 1840s depression, the building was left unfinished, despite £2200 already being spent on the building. Fortunately the colonial government made negotiations with the South Australian Company to complete the project, resulting in the original building being knocked down (nothing spared according to reports) and Gawler Chambers being built in 1913-14 (Flanning, 1991:5). Flanning (1991) discusses that, although the South Australian Company played a huge role in the foundation of the colony and also industry and enterprises, by the time Gawler Chambers was built, the company was in decline (1991:7). Although the South Australian Company owned the building, they only occupied the western end (four rooms) of the first floor, and the remainder of the offices were leased out to surgeons, doctors, and dentists, and dressmakers, who make up the bulk of the occupants. Prominent Architects English and also George Klewitz Soward (1857-1941) designed the beautiful five-storey office building. The front of the building is made of red brick and cream detailing, and is symmetrical in design. George Soward was renowned for designing buildings on a grand scale, often incorporating Gothic style, red brick, and white cement dressings. The so called ‘golden age’ for South Australian brick work included Beehive Corner (1895), Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange (1904) and Gawler Chambers being the more well known buildings using such a style as noted in the book ‘Early Bricks and Brickwork in South Australia’ (1998:14). The overall design mixes Gothic/Tudor and also classical elements. The building has a red brick façade, cement dressings, with the main entrance being finished using Murray Bridge granite and freestone. There is a castellated ‘Tudor’ parapet over the central projecting section that forms part of the entry on the ground level of the building (Queale & Lernia, P: 82). The interior contains cedar work, part of which has been transferred from the South Australian Company’s former building (1842) to the offices of Gawler Chambers that are situated on the western end of the first floor of Gawler Chambers (Challen et al. 1996, p.41). Internal beams and piers made of reinforced concrete are throughout the building (as viewed from original building plans) and numerous alterations have been made to various levels and sections of the building throughout the years. The foyer of the building has also been altered, along with extensions to the roof and also the more recent extension of the caretaker’s quarters located on the top of the building (which will be explored in more detail later on). Unfortunately only a few remainders of nineteenth-century elements previously mentioned are left internally due to alterations being conducted throughout the years (as mentioned later in report), and the removal of the balconies in 1965 have compromised the original design of the buildings. [Sourced from the following: SA State Heritage Register; Australian Heritage places of Inventory; Register of the National Estate; Uni SA architects database, other sources used are in reference list were not stated.]
    Limitations :The only limitations I found through undertaking the research was firstly the time limits of the research. The Gawler Chambers is a five-storey building that was continually used from 1914 until the late 1980s as offices for various businesses. I was able to gain insight into many of the businesses that leased out the rooms, however, given more time, I could have found out names, dates and businesses throughout the entire time frame that Gawler Chambers was occupied rather than a small portion. I was regrettably unable to find the original documents for the building plans and as such had to rely on the report from City Archives to verify the architect and date with which the building was built. Finally I would have loved to gain access inside the building and view the inside so that I could see firsthand the changes that the builders had made to the interior of the building.
    Issues Raised : In relation to the archaeology of the site, it was important not to rely on books from the library or from the government websites in order to gather true information. The information I found was possible due to research using a variety of resources to gain a firm date on the building's construction and also the original building that once resided on that part of Town Acre 19. I would also question whether there was any Aboriginal cultural significance to the area and how the land was altered well before Adelaide was a city, and also when the city was first being planned.
    UserFAN : Vart0008
    AssignmentId : 145