Botanic Hotel

Botanic Hotel

This traditional Victorian terrace of buildings is one of the most substantial developments of the boom period of the late 1860s to the mid-1880s. An example of the vigour and confidence prevailing in South Australia at the time, it was built as a “family hotel and restaurant”, with houses and shops attached on East Terrace and terrace houses to North Terrace. The corner building was originally without its tiered balconies, the ebullient stuccoed dressings being then more prominent. The form of the three-storey hotel with chamfered corner and the later balconies is typical of the Adelaide pub. This is one of the most developed and elaborate versions of the idiom.

The complex was designed by Michael McMullen (associated with the design of several Roman Catholic buildings) and built by J. Barry in 1876-77 for Richard Vaughan. Vaughan’s obituary in Frearson’s Monthly Illustrated Adelaide News of May 1884 indicates his substantial contribution to Adelaide. In 1862 he set up the nearby East End Market for selling general produce and after selling it in 1873 was estimated to have spent £80,000 building “Botanic Terrace, Adelaide, the temperance Hotel and villas at Hackney and the Kensington Hotel … all the result of his perseverance and energy”.

Vaughan leased back the corner half-acre on which the Botanic Terrace development took place, for a term of 30 years.

A lengthy report in the South Australian Register of 13 August 1877 described the complex as “a large family hotel, three shops and seven dwelling houses, which when completed will together form one of the handsomest Terraces in Adelaide … The buildings are uniform in style and both substantial and rich in appearance.”

Each of the houses had 12 “fine large rooms, including bathroom, and is fitted up with every convenience”. The houses were all similar in design and size, and each had one bay window on the ground floor. “The seven balconies add to the beauty of the houses generally, and each one is entirely select and apart from the others. A splendid view of the country is to be had from them.” The material was Glen Osmond stone, with the fronts featuring cement dressings. “Rustic pilasters” separated the houses, and the mouldings and cement dressings in various classic forms gave the terrace “a rich and elegant appearance”.

The hotel was similar in style, with an additional storey and a roof surrounded by cement balustrades. There were 25 rooms. The Botanic Hotel received a liquor licence in 1883 and was renovated for £1200 to designs by architects Wright and Reed. In 1897 the present tiered balconies were added. In 1910 the hotel was again altered (mainly internally) to designs by Claude Lindsay. Further renovations took place in the 1920s for the new owners, the South Australian Brewing Company.


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The whole complex has been renovated periodically over time. It occupies one of the most prominent corner positions in the city and remains a fine book-end to the streetscape of North Terrace.

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Featured in
Pubs, Vintage pubs

See also

Images of Botanic Hotel

  • Botanic Hotel and Chambers, 2014
Michael McMullen
J Barry
Building materials
Iron, Cast iron, Stone, Bluestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate
1877 -
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Richard Vaughn
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Hotel
AS2482 classification
10510 - Hotel - Motel - Inn
Public Access
Opening hours only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5616/545 S13876 U1 CT 5616/546 S13876 U2 CT 5616/547 S13876 U3 CT 5616/548 S13876 U4 CT 5616/549 S13876 U5 CT 5616/550 S13876 U6 CT 5616/551 S13876 U7 CT 5616/552 S13876 U8 CT 5616/553 S13876 U9 CT 5616/554 S13876 UCP
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
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.5 A City of Pubs
4.7 Memorable Development Eras
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


Further reading

  • Frearson's Monthly Illustrated Adelaide News, May 1884; Illustrated Adelaide News, March 1879; MLSA Historical photographs (Town Acre 31); South Australian Register, 13 August1877, 6 October 1877

External links

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