Our Boys Institute Building - façade

Our Boys Institute Building - façade

The Our Boys’ Institute (OBI) was established in 1888 as “a kind of junior Young Men’s Christian Association. It was founded by persons who were active in that field of usefulness, has corresponding objects, and employs very similar methods.” Within 20 years “no fewer than 8500 boys had passed through the institution, in the great majority of cases to their lasting benefit”.

On August 7, 1896, architect F.W. Dancker advertised fo tenders for the first section of the institute building. It was opened on February 23, 1897. It was claimed to have the finest gymnasium in Australia, and its large “swimming-bath ... was one of the best fitted in the world”.

The trustees in 1896 were Thomas Kinley Hamilton, Robert Knowles, John Greeley Jenkins, William Herbert Phillips, and E.A.A. and A.C. Dunn. Hamilton was a prominent medical specialist with international experience. Knowles was a merchant associated with the firm of E. & W. Murray, and a notable supporter of the Wesleyan denomination and Sunday schools. Phillips was involved in commercial life, president of the YMCA in Adelaide and chairman of the Congregational Union of South Australia. The Dunn brothers carried on the family business as the grandsons of the prominent industrialist and devout Wesleyan John Dunn. Jenkins, like the other trustees, must have had the necessary conviction, interest and expertise to fulfill the OBI’s health, religious instruction and education mission.

This building’s detailed facade shows Dancker’s typical eclecticism and his preference for heavy renderings. Architectural eclecticism was common at this time, and Venetian Gothic-derived arcading was typical. However, the façade is unusual because this style was rarely used in Adelaide.

The OBI sold the building to the minister of education in 1961. Since then the building has been converted into Adabco Boutique Hotel, however the façade has remained unchanged.


show more


[edit | edit source]

The façade is of great architectural significance for its unique detailing, rarely used in Adelaide.

Connects with

Related places
Related people
Related organisations
Related events
Related things

See also

Images of Our Boys Institute Building - façade

F W Duncker
Building materials
Render, Stucco, Stone, Sandstone
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.6 Gothic
1896 - 1897
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
South East Corner
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Our Boys Association
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Education, School
AS2482 classification
14040 - Secondary School/College
Public Access
Limited public access
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5799/369 F181570 A728
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 classified
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
7.1 Schools
7.1.3 Primary and secondary schools
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Digest of Proceedings, 21 September 1896, 13 September 1897; Burgess, H.T.,
  • Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 263, Vol. 2, pp. 61-2; Loyau, G.E., Notable South Australians, 1885, pp. 121-2; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 348);
  • Observer, 19 October 1895, 27 February 1897; Pascoe, J.J., Adelaide and vicinity, 1901, 423-
  • 7, 443-5; South Australian Register, 7 August 1896.

Further reading

External links

Something to add or share?

blog comments powered by Disqus