Adelaide Goal - Powder Magazine and Surrounding Walls

Adelaide Goal - Powder Magazine and Surrounding Walls

Adjacent to Adelaide Gaol, these are the last remaining powder magazines within the confines of the city.

In 1876 land on North Terrace was vested in the University of Adelaide. On the portion of land near the police barracks were powder magazines that caused much concern as a danger to life and property until a new one was built in the west parklands in 1882. Both the university and the City Council put pressure on the government for their removal.

Throughout the dispute colonial commandant M.E. Downes was adamantly opposed to the removal of the two existing powder magazines as he believed they had “moral protection by their proximity to the Police Barracks and on the new site they would be devoid of all protection, and any evil-disposed person could readily break into them to carry out the purpose he had in view”.

A site was selected on part of the gaol area under Act No. 247 of 1882, The Adelaide Gunpowder Magazine Act. Tenders were duly called for in 1882 for the erection of the new powder magazine and keeper’s cottage.

The two buildings within a stone-walled enclosure were to serve as a merchants’ magazine in place of the one abandoned on North Terrace, and the other for artillery powder by the military force. At some distance from the boundary walls a substantial stone cottage was erected for the magazine keeper. The builder was William Camens. The powder magazine with its buttresses was constructed from “best approved slate building stone” on the exterior, with the internal walls being “best machine made brick”.


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Architecturally they are of an interesting style made to withstand explosion from within and break-ins from without. With a gently curving galvanised roof and buttresses to its 50 feet long, they are simply designed but nevertheless conspicuous, and are linked in terms of appearance to other powder magazines – for example, the magazine at the Burra Mine site.

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Images of Adelaide Goal - Powder Magazine and Surrounding Walls

  • Adelaide Gaol Powder Magazine and Surrounding Walls
Edward Woods
William Camens
Building materials
Stone, Bluestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.15 Carpenter Gothic
1882 -
Architecture and design features
Edward Woods
Engineering features
Precinct Parkland Name
Bonython Park / Tulya Wardli
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Government of South Australia
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Civic, Government, Defence
AS2482 classification
18100 - Historic Sites (unclassified)
Public Access
Exterior only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CR 5761/141 H105100 S1204
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
NTSA classified
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3 Developing a City Economy
3.1.6 Mid-1880s Recession
5.2 State Government
5.2.2 Law and Police
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


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