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Sunday, 2 October 2016

What's behind the North Terrace heritage frontages?

Another collection of colonial buildings!

There's a whole set of heritage buildings behind the museum, art gallery and library buildings which line North Terrace. These buildings spent the major part of the 20th century falling into disrepair or were ignored.In the lead up to the state celebrating its 150th anniversary of European settlement in 1986, there was a major push to restore heritage buildings. Not just restore but also open up the areas to the public.

This beautiful old building was the police barracks, built in 1850, and used up until a larger barracks was built in 1916 just outside the city centre, and is still used today. The South Australian colony was free settlers only, no convicts but a police force was needed and one was established within 2 years of the founding of the colony. The South Australian Police Historical society have a museum in this building on the first floor, it's only open by appointment for special tours.


Next to the police barracks is the armoury. The section without windows has extremely thick walls, it was where the gunpowder was stored. The thick stone walls were to contain any accidental explosion!


Entrance to the courtyard bordered by the armoury and the police barracks. It's now called the Armoury Lawn and is used for weddings and corporate functions.

The Armoury from the front, it's now used by the South Australian Museum. (Not to store gun powder or arms!)

Behind the police barracks were the stables, currently used as eating area for the museum staff.

It's possible to walk around this 'hidden from the main road' section of the city to what's now the Migration Museum. It began its life as the Destitute Asylum. In Victorian times, being poor was a crime and you could be locked away, even a new colony punished its poor people.


The entrance from Kintore Avenue. (I hate the lime green signage!!) The buildings were originally the Destitute Asylum and then a reformatory for wayward girls. It was finally closed in 1918 and the buildings were taken over by the S.A. Government Chemistry Department until the end of the 1970s. The buildings were restored and the Migration Museum opened in 1986 in time for the state's sesquicentury.

I don't know if these smashed bottles date from the asylum and reformatory days or the chemistry era, but they fascinate me as it's a primitive, if not vicious, method of keeping out intruders or keeping in the inmates.



During the Destitute Asylum era this had been the Lying-in Home where pregnant women gave birth. 1678 babies were born at the Destitute Asylum between 1880 and 1909. (Research!)

The paver patchwork rug design commemorates migrant families. Anyone can buy a paver and have the name of their family members and the year of their arrival in South Australia engraved on it. I like to stroll around and read some of the names and countries of origin.

The chapel.


The punishment cells, this gate leads to 3 small cells which were to be used as punishment or isolation cells. Small and claustrophobic to look at, they played their role in keeping order, just the threat of them was enough. They were never used.


I really like this sculpture called The Immigrants, highlighting the current use of the buildings as a migration museum.

South Australia is fortunate to have such a good collection of heritage buildings, and the state leaders who made the decision to invest in history to restore and preserve these buildings should be commended as well. Thanks to them visitors to Adelaide can enjoy them as well.






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