As the surrounding area of upper North Adelaide developed, Tynte Street evolved as the High Street of the district. While O’Connell Street eventually became the commercial centre of North Adelaide after the mid-1850s when King William Road provided a direct connection to South Adelaide, Tynte Street retained its early pre-eminence as the location of the more dignified cultural and philanthropic institutions.
The property on which this building was erected was purchased in 1879 by the Albert Lodge No. 6 of the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society, and by George Guest Newman, Albert Hirst, William Cox, William Smith and Henry the trustees of Court Huntsman’s Pride No. 2478 of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society. In August of that year tenders for the hall’s construction were advertised by architect J.G. Osborne. It was built soon afterwards as it appears on the Smith Survey of 1880.
The property remained in the names of the friendly societies until it was sold in 1963, and so has had a lengthy association with these societies and the philanthropic work of the organisation that now embraces the Oddfellows, Australian Natives Association, Foresters, Hibernians and Rechabites. The building is typical of the expansion of such organisations in South Australia, which are also represented by the Oddfellows Hall in Franklin Street (1872) and the Rechabite Hall in Grote Street (1879).
The hall is a simple gabled structure of bluestone rubble trimmed with brick. Strong blocking at quoins and around the windows lends distinction and originality to an otherwise plain facade evocative of chapel architecture.