Adelaide Town Hall

1863 to 1866
Current owner/occupier:
Corporation of the City of Adelaide
First owner/occupier:
Corporation of the City of Adelaide

The Corporation of the City of Adelaide was established in 1840, making it the first local government authority in Australia.  It is now more commonly known as the Adelaide City Council.

The foundation stone of the Adelaide Town Hall was laid on 4 May 1863 by the Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominick Daly, who used a silver trowel for the occasion. The building, erected from modified designs of architect E. W. Wright who was Mayor of the city in 1859, was opened on 20 June 1866. It was built at a cost of about £17,000.

The Town Hall’s portico and graceful tower doubt set the pattern for the remainder of the buildings which were built later, with commendable architectural respect for the nucleus, for lessees of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide. The building to the south, with a frontage of sixty-five feet (20 metres) was finished in 1869, Daniel Garlick being architect and Charles Farr the builder. This building was the Prince Alfred Hotel until about 1953 when the balcony was removed and it became part of the Town Hall. Eagle Chambers, on the corner of Pirie Steet, was built to the design of E.J. Woods; finally, Gladstone Chambers, with a frontage of forty feet (12 metres) to Pirie Street, was added in 1874, Wright & Reed being the architects.

The clock was added to the tower in 1935.  In 1964, the balcony famously hosted a visit to Adelaide by The Beatles.  In 1989 a new organ was installed in the auditorium.  It was built by J.W. Walker and Sons and is the largest mechanical-action instrument to have been built in the United Kingdom for 100 years. It has 61 stops distributed over four manuals and pedals and 4500 pipes, each made by hand.  Converts have been held in the Town Hall since the 1960’s in the auditorium that is renowned for the quality of its acoustics.

The Town Hall remains a major city landmark and a popular venue for concerts, public meetings and special events.

Current status and listings

ACH Status:
Heritage Protection:
NTSA Listed, State Heritage Listed
State Heritage ID:

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