Liberal Club

Liberal Club

The construction of the Liberal Club Building in 1925 marked the consolidation of the Liberal Party and was a vote of confidence in its future.

The club had been formed in 1912 as an investment company known as the Liberal Club Ltd. Incorporated and one of its purposes was the acquisition of property. By 1924, it was prosperous enough to have a seven-storey building designed and built at a cost of about £54,000. This was completed in 1925 by builders J. King and Son to the design of architect Frank H. Counsell.

The Builder of September 17, 1924, described the building under construction as a skeleton and floors of reinforced concrete filled in with brick. “A building of such height, surrounding other tall buildings, requires special treatment for light and air,” it declared. “In this case the demand for light is met by six light areas, and by glazed partition walls.”

The architect had ensured even temperature in the rooms by means of cavity walls and a super roof to prevent concrete ceilings over the top storey being chilled by rain or heated by the sun.

Accommodation for the Liberal Union was on the first floor. It included clubrooms with billiard tables, a card room, a reading and writing room, a ladies lounge and a balcony. Rooms above the first floor were let as offices “admirably located for the medical and dental professions”, the balconies being “convenient for patients resting after a light operation”.

On the ground floor was a public hall with a dance floor and seating for 150 people. The basement combined a large cafe for smokers and a somewhat smaller one for non-smokers. The café, known as the Piccadilly Tea Rooms, was run by Mesdames d’Arenberg and Twiss. By the 1930s it had become the Wentworth Tea Rooms.

Other tenants initially were six doctors, Sir Sidney Kidman and the University Club.

Architecturally, the building is an eclectic mix. The façade is similar to that of the adjacent Verco building, although its “high-rise” facade is considered more successful. Dominated by deep balconies between detailed bow windows, it makes great use of the interplay of light and shade. It is topped by a great arch above the tiered balconies on the topmost floor.

Inside, the building has been upgraded to modern office accommodation standards but the exterior still has a strong street presence. It is also an important example of a building being refurbished and given a new lease of life. The building was demolished in 1989 and the façade has been incorporated into the Myer Centre.


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This site is significant as one of a group of four buildings illustrating a stage in the evolution of “high-rise” buildings in Adelaide.

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See also

Images of Liberal Club

  • Liberal Club Building, 2014
Frank Counsell
J King and Sons, G A Reinforced Concrete Company
Building materials
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.21 Functionalist & Moderne
1923 - 1925
Architecture and design features
Frank Counsell, high rise, bow window
Engineering features
Rundle Mall
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Liberal Union Club
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Clubs and association
AS2482 classification
11510 - Business House - Offices
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5081/691 F30802 A13
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
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.8 New Technology and City Development
6.4 Forming Associations
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Annual report 1923, p. 65, Assessments 1924, 1925; Builder, 17 September 1924; Liberal Club, Memorandum and articles of association of Liberal Club Limited; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 18); South Australian Directory, 1925.

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