Quaker (Society of Friends) Meeting House


Among the early arrivals in South Australia was John Barton Hack, a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are also known.

In 1839 he donated an allotment of land in Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide, upon part of which the Meeting House now stands.  The prefabricated timber building was shipped from England aboard the Rajasthan in sixty-nine separate packages including wooden sections and iron pillars, and arrived in Adelaide on 6 February 1840; the previous day the ship John had arrived with a cargo of over 3,000 roof slates.  In keeping with the beliefs of the Society of Friends, the interior of the Meeting House with a seating capacity of about 160, is plain with un- decorated walls and ceilings.

Meeting House is extremely important to an understanding of the types of buildings imported during the earliest years of South Australia and the part played by prefabrication as a tool of colonisation.  Manufactured by the noted prefabricator of ‘portable colonial cottages’ Henry Manning of London the Meeting House arrived at Port Adelaide on 6 February 1840 aboard the ship ‘Rajasthan’.  It is one of the most sophisticated examples of prefabrication from this period and is of international importance to the development of this most important building technique.  The building is testimony to Manning’s high quality workmanship and his remarkable perception of climatic control (especially the use of verandahs not supported but tied down by the iron ‘pillars’).  The interior is remarkable for its originality;  the pews are also by Manning and are the only pieces of furniture made by him known to have survived.

Current status and listings

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

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6 thoughts on “Quaker (Society of Friends) Meeting House

  1. This is a childhood memory for me from the early sixties. We were an Irish immigrant family and attended the meetings here regularly. I remember going to sunday school here as a child in a contiguous building; I remember too the Quaker custom of addressing people by their full name and being shocked to discover that all Quakers were not vegetarian as we were. These photos evoke many precious happy memories for me.

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  4. Iam an internatIional student at the University of Newcastle. A registered Architect from Nigeria. Iam working on my PhD programme in Building, and my reserac topic on Modular construction. Iam happy to here that modular construction originated from Australia. This will give me some strength in the course of my research.