Piccadilly Cinema

Piccadilly Cinema

On October 23, 1940, the Advertiser reported: “The opening of the new and modern Piccadilly at O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, tonight by D. Clifford Theatres Ltd. will be a big step forward in the history of this enterprising Adelaide company. The building, which has been designed by Messrs. Evans Bruer and Hall, architects, of Adelaide in conjunction with Mr. Gus Crick of Sydney, will cost about £26,000 and has seating accommodation for 1500. Mr. R.J. Nurse of Norwood is the contractor ... The imposing structure ... has attracted a lot of attention because of the elegance of its design. The whole of the internal walls are finished in an ivory texture, and silver ash doors and internal fittings give an artistic finish to the spacious foyers and the hall. Ultra-modern lighting has been installed.”

Dan Clifford, a prominent promoter of cinemas and the motion picture industry in South Australia, was born in Adelaide in 1887. His career included purchase of the Wondergraph network of cinemas and a period as president of the Motion Picture Exhibitors 1932-35. At the time of his death in 1942 he owned the Star Circuit of 20 suburban and country cinemas.

The Piccadilly was one of the last cinemas built before World War II stopped construction of buildings for almost six years. Ross Thorne in Cinemas of Australia via U.S.A. described the building as being at a crossroads in design, with no particular theme connecting its design elements.

Chevron-shaped windows harkened back to the jazz style, providing light to the sweeping curved main stair. Most other windows were rectangular or circular and half-circular. The ceiling of the upper foyer was of a simple Moderne style with a sweep of smooth fibrous plaster: “The smooth side walls were decorated by large streamlined wheels with a centre slipstream motif projecting towards the proscenium a short distance and being taken up by a thin mould line, which swept down in a curve and returned towards the rear of the auditorium.”


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The cinema has retained its integrity both within and without. It stands as a significant feature of O’Connell Street because of its scale, design and corner site.

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See also

Images of Piccadilly Cinema

Evans Bruer and Hall, Gus Crick
R J Nurse
Building materials
Brick, Render, Plaster
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.21 Functionalist & Moderne
1940 -
Architecture and design features
chevron window
Engineering features
Upper North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Dan Clifford
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Cinema
AS2482 classification
13040 - Theatre - Cinema
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5545/271 F183783 A511 CT 5560/395 F183699 A427
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
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.8 New Technology and City Development
6.2 Recreation and Entertainment
6.2.2 Cinemas
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • Advertiser, 23 October 1940, 11 December 1942; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre
  • 944); Thorne, R., Cinemas of Australia via U.S.A., 1981, p. 263.

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