Adelaide & The Province of South Australia in 1840

Extract From 'The Southern Australian' - 26 March 1840

Let us look at the buildings of Adelaide.  The plans of the town which have been published in England, will enable our friends easily to understand and apply our statements. Let them take a plan, and imagine themselves standing at the NW angle of South Adelaide, and taking a survey in each direction from east to south.

First, the line of houses along North-terrace will meet their eye, the upper part of which, above King William-street, is almost entirely filled up.  Amongst the buildings along this line are Trinity Church, at the corner of Morphett-street, with the residence of the Rev’d Mr Howard; the temporary place of worship occupied by Mr Stow; the elegant house of J Morphett Esq; the Bank of South Australia, and below King William-street the Bank of Australasia; not far from which the new school house is being erected.  At the corner of King William-street is the Post-office; a little below this is Stephens-place leading from this North-terrace to Rundle-street.

The next line to take is that of Hindley and Rundle streets.  The former, terminating at King William-street, is almost crowded with shops, residences and houses of business.  The low thatched cottages, which were at first erected, have given place for the most part to buildings of a far more substantial and respectable description, several of which have two storeys.  Among these last are those of Mr Hack, Captain Walker, Waterloo House, the Royal Admiral and the Australian Arms.  Several grocery and general stores, at which a very extensive trade is carried on, are also in this street.  There is also the printing Office of R Thomas & Co, the Publishers of the Register and Gazette.  There are also several Auction rooms in this street.

Rundle-street is a continuation of Hindley-street, and is, though not so populous, characterised by a very superior style of building.  The Office of the Southern Australian is at the corner of Stephens-place.  At the opposite corner, the Company are erecting a row of very substantial and spacious shops, adjoining which they have already built one row, occupied by persons who carry on an extensive business in general merchandise, grocery etc.  Opposite, there is the Market, and below on the same side are several stores and shops in different lines of business - butchers, bakers, grocers, drapers etc. etc.  On both sides, the space is nearly filled up as far as Hindmarsh-square.  Among the stores are those of Mr Freeman.

At the corner of Hindmarsh-square is Miss Bathgate’s boarding-house for gentlemen, one of the best looking houses in Adelaide.  Immediately opposite is the store of Flaxman and Rowlands, and a little below are the excellent house and offices of Messrs Frew.  Several houses of brick, in a very good style of building, have been erected and are now in course of erection in immediate contiguity with those already mentioned.  At the bottom, next the Park land, is Mr Prescott’s.

Out of Rundle-street into Grenfell-street, and close to the Market, runs Gawler-place, in which is situated the beautiful Chapel of the Wesleyan Methodists, on each side of the road the space is nearly filled up.  The intermediate spaces between the streets are almost all occupied either with rows of cottages, or with yards, offices, and places of business...

Currie and Waymouth streets, both parallel with Hindley-street, are becoming populous.  Between these two is Gilles Arcade, in which the Old Court house is placed, and where the new and handsome store of AH Davis & Co, is now built. Here, also, Mr Gilles has built a Hall of Exchange.  Opposite the Arcade is a very large Auction room, next door to the southern Cross Hotel. In this street is the handsome residence of Captain Lipson.  The intermediate spaces are fast filling up.

In Grenfell-street, continuation fo Currie-street, is Fordham’s Hotel, the Commercial Inn, Mr Nash’s, the Colonial Surgeon, Mr Peacock’s fellmongering and tanning yard, and a variety of other buildings.  A continuation of Gawler-place, called Freeman-street, runs south across several streets, and in this, close to Pirie-street, the Congregational Church is now erecting.  Pirie-street has in it Garratt’s iron store, the residence of ------- Bartley Esq., Mr Quaife’s Bible and Tract Depot and general book shop...

The centre of the town, however, is not so populous although clusters of houses are springing up in various directions.  In Flinders-street is the store of Messrs Gorton and Andrews, and on the opposite side of the road is the large stone building known by the name of Beck’s store.  In Victoria- square, at the corner of the same street are the new Government offices.  In another part of the square the Presbyterian Church is to be erected.  The southern and western parts of the town are becoming populous.  The east Terrace is not so much so being much preferred as the private residence of gentlemen, and not so suitable as a place of business.

Now, we have given...a view of which, three years ago and one quarter ago did not exist, and could be scarcely said to have an existence at a much later period.

We have said nothing of the Government house and other public erections on the park land, of North Adelaide, and of the many villages which are not only springing up, but are becoming thickly populated, around.  We may mention, adjoining the road to the Port, Hindmarsh, and near it Bowden and Islington.  Across the plain towards the mountains is Kensington.  On the Torrens are Walkerville and the German village Klemzig.  All these places and numerous straggling locations are in contiguity with Adelaide.

There are several townships in progress in Mount Barker district, and the inhabitants are becoming numerous in some of them.  Then there are the distant settlements of Encounter Bay and Port Lincoln, the latter of which is obtaining a high degree of popular interest, and will increase in numbers of residents very fast...

As to education - there is a school on the British system, for children of both sexes, at Adelaide.  There are besides three schools for boys, of which two are conducted by the Rev’d Mr Stow and the Rev’d Mr Drummond.  There are several schools for young ladies, and also for little children.  Then there is a Sunday school attached to each place of worship and one or two separate Sunday schools besides....

We fear that the education of children is not deemed a matter of the first importance among the population generally.  There is not much encouragement held out to a devoted and laborious class of teachers.  Of all things done in the colony, this is the worst remunerated.  We cannot therefore speak highly of the actual state of education.  A good boarding school in some healthy situation out of Adelaide, conducted by a person of suitable qualifications, would be a great blessing to the community...

The places of public worship are as follows - in Adelaide, Trinity Church belonging to the Church of England, of which Rev’d Mr Howard is the minister.  The Congregational Church, a temporary place occupied by the Rev’d Mr Stow, whose new church is erected in Freeman street, and who is the agent of the Colonial Missionary Society.  The Wesleyan Methodists in Gawler-place, of which the Rev’d Mr Longbottom was recently the regular preacher, but who has been compelled to return to Van Diemen’s Land on account of his health.  To supply his place, the Rev’d Mr Egglestone has just arrived.  The Baptists in Hindley-street, the scene of the ministry of Mr McLaren. And the Presbyterian, in Angas-street, of which the Rev’d Ralph Drummond is the pastor, whose new Church is to be built in Victoria-square. ..

There is a little chapel at Hindmarsh, where two public services and a school are regularly conducted every Lord’s day.  The Wesleyan Methodists have laid the foundation stone of a chapel in North Adelaide, and some months ago, His Excellency laid that of a new church near the East-terrace.  The Wesleyans have preaching stations in some of the villages, and at the Port in a little chapel occupied every Lord’s day by parties in connection with the Congregational Church.  The Rev’d Mr Newland has located himself at Encounter Bay.  Mr Poole, who came out in the Java, and was authorised to act as school-master on board, is connected with parties at Port Lincoln, and will conduct religious services there.  Besides those already mentioned, several persons are engaged in preaching at the various stations...  Mr Quaile, who came out with a view to the furtherance of religious objects, ... has opened a Bible and Tract Depot in Pirie-street.