An auxiliary of the Bible Society formed in Adelaide in 1845 held its first meeting in the Wesleyan Chapel, Gawler Place. The to celebrate the jubilee of the auxiliary, a site was selected and new permanent premises were built following a bequest by T. Selway of £1350 as well as two legacies of £50.
In 1897 an advertisement in the daily newspapers called for designs for a new Bible House. The best design was offered 10 guineas, provided the cost of the building did not exceed £1000. In September 1897 Alfred Wells’ plans were adopted, and the tender of W. Rodgers was accepted in October 1897.
The foundation stone was laid on December 1897 by His Excellency Sir T. Fowell Buxton, a vice -resident of the parent society, and the building was publicly dedicated on May 19,1898.
A report from the time describes a building of red terracotta brick with Glen Osmond bluestone base and stucco dressings, which “being of Gothic design has quite an ecclesiastical appearance”. The large hall on the second floor was described as unique in South Australia. Its interior walls were of terracotta brick and the ceiling was of polished yellow pine, forming a Gothic arch: “A pair of lancet windows with leadlights in small squares of tinted glass in front, a white glass-paned window in a corner recess and four sidelights of several colours give a very pretty and finished appearance to the hall.”