Adelaide Mail Exchange

Adelaide Mail Exchange

Wilkinson & Co Ltd was founded in 1882 by Alfred Wilkinson, who opened a small grocery store in Marlborough Chambers. The wholesale business expanded so quickly that Wilkinson built his own large premises in Grenfell Street in 1898. With ongoing growth, in 1908 he extended the building with a four-storey addition of 45,000 square feet facing Wyatt Street.

The company became well known for its product Viceroy Tea. Several other teas were blended and packed on the premises, including Mandarin, Pansy, Bulldog and Gold Medal. Viceroy Tea’s company motto was “British Right Through” as only teas grown in Ceylon and British India were used.

The machinery used in the early 1900s for tea blending, flour mixing, coffee roasting and grinding were of the latest design. As well as beverages, the company packed general grocery lines under the brand name Arab.

The warehouse was bought by the Post Master General in 1951 for use as a Mail Exchange and any alterations were largely cosmetic. However, in 1983 most of the Wyatt Street extension was demolished to make way for new office accommodation, leaving only the front bay of the original building on Grenfell Street. It is currently being used as government offices.

Notes

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Significance

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The building’s detailing evokes the American Romanesque, which although more commonly found in the eastern states, is rare in Adelaide. It was designed by the notable Adelaide architectural practice English & Soward, and built by N. Trudgen. This is also one of the few warehouses of this scale to survive in the city centre.


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Images of Adelaide Mail Exchange

  • Adelaide Mail Exchange, 2014
 
Architects
English and Soward
Builders
N N Trudgen
Building materials
Brick
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.5.1 Romanesque
Construction
1898 -
Architecture and design features
Cast Iron Columns, Steel Beams, Galvanised Iron Roof
Engineering features
 
Precinct
East End
Council Ward
Central
Alternative Addresses
Geo-coordinates
Town Acre
146
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Wilkinson and Co
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Warehouse
AS2482 classification
11510 - Business House - Offices
Public Access
Exterior only
 
NTSA ID
3243
State Heritage ID
10958
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
1290
RNE ID
1290
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5956/741 F181758 A106
NTSA file exists
Yes
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 registered
Date of NTSA listing
1981/11
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
 
Historic Themes
3 Developing a City Economy
3.1.8 New Technology and City Development
3.4 Manufacturing
3.4.5 Breweries and Drink Manufacturers
Topics
Tea
 
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies
ACHHK097
 

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