Bushmen's Club

Bushmen's Club

The bluestone wings to the east and west of the present William Booth Memorial Home are the only remains of the Bushmen’s Club, founded in 1870 when pastoralism was the main force in the South Australian economy. Only part of the western wing is heritage listed by the Adelaide City Council.

The club began in the former house of Judge Cooper, which dated from about 1840 and was renovated for its new function. Although it was partially philanthropic in nature, membership was required to make use of all its facilities. The location was deliberately chosen so that members were semi-isolated from the then licentious activities of the Light Square area and the many hotels (about 120) operating in Adelaide during the 1870s. The bluestone wings were built in 1871 and 1872 due to expanding membership.

Incorporated in 1878, the club buildings and associated land were sold in 1899 to the Salvation Army. The buildings became the nucleus of its Prison Gate Brigade Home until 1910, when the remodelled former home of Judge Cooper was demolished and the present William Booth Memorial Home built.

The Australian branch of the Salvation Army began in Adelaide’s Botanic Park on September 5, 1880. The movement spread quickly and by 1883 it had built the first Prison Gate Home in Carlton, Victoria. The present buildings in Whitmore Square represent the growth and maturity of the Army in Australia.

Designed by James Cumming, the wing to the west was built by Charles Farr in 1871 for £476. In December 1872 the corresponding eastern wing, also designed by Cumming and built by C. Farr for £540, was opened. Internally this wing was divided into a dining room 40 feet by 25 feet, and a smoking room 25 feet by 16 feet by 18 feet high.

Both bluestone wings were originally identical and are naturally complementary. The buildings are in reasonable order, although the eastern wing has been affected by salt damp that has been exacerbated by the application of render and hard pointing


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The two bluestone wings facing Whitmore Square are historically significant due to their association with the Bushmen’s Club. Architecturally, however, they are only of marginal interest. They are well constructed of bluestone rubble with cement dressings, and originally featured decorative bargeboards.

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Images of Bushmen's Club

  • Bushmen's Club, 2014
James Cumming
Charles Farr
Building materials
Stone, Bluestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate
1871 - 1872
Architecture and design features
James Cumming
Engineering features
South West Corner
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
John Howard Angas, David Murray, William Kyffin Thomas
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Clubs and association
AS2482 classification
18100 - Historic Sites (unclassified)
Public Access
Limited public access
1153, 3780
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5422/742 D25977 A1
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 registered
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3 Developing a City Economy
3.1.5 Farming Boom
6.4 Forming Associations
6.4.2 Philanthropic Associations
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


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