The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Co. (CML) had reached a stage in its development when it built impressive, internationally recognisable offices. While this building is in the company’s signature style, it is also a “skyscraper” of the transitional period in architecture. It uses the proportion and detailing of earlier styles, abstracted and reinterpreted.
The building was constructed during 1935-36. It was designed by architects Hennessy, Hennessy and Co and built by Concrete Constructions (S.A.) Ltd. The architects had built in this style elsewhere, and were responsible for its evolution and adoption by the CML for its buildings in Brisbane, Durban (South Africa) and Wellington (New Zealand).
One of the most interesting features of the Adelaide CML was its skyline, with the tower and mansard roof tiled with Wilsons tiles in colours that matched those in the Benedict stonework of the King William Street and Hindley Street facades. The lions, vultures and other ornamentation, cast in Benedict stone, were brought from the Benedict stoneworks in Brisbane.
Externally the building is largely unchanged, although the window-framing has been altered. The interior was modernised and light wells filled in to create a new southern facade during renovations in 1980.