R. Dixson and Co. Factory and warehouse

R. Dixson and Co. Factory and warehouse

Built as a factory/warehouse for R. Dixson and Co. in 1883, the building was used afterwards by a succession of merchants, including the British and Australian Tobacco Company.

Hugh Dixson established the first tobacco business in New South Wales during the late 1820s. By the 1880s this was the largest house of its kind in Australia, with plantations in New South Wales and Queensland. It was also the largest importer of American leaf and had branches throughout Australia, including the Adelaide branch, established between 1876 and 1878. The Adelaide factory was at Halifax Street from 1878 to 1882, when the Light Square factory was built to the design of Cumming and Davies.

A grandson, Hugh Robert Dixson, became associated with the local business in 1889. He settled in North Adelaide, building the imposing Stalheim House in 1897 (the name was changed to Carclew when the Bonythons bought it in 1908). H.R. Dixson became MP for North Adelaide in 1901. By then he had produced a cigarette especially for South Australian smokers known as Dixsons No. 1 cigarette.

At that time there were six registered tobacco, cigar and cigarette factories in Adelaide. This figure rose to 11 in 1905, but by 1915 there were only two left. In 1904, Marcus Belton of the British and Australian Tobacco Company took over the Dixson factory until about the end of World War I. Several other merchants then used the premises until 1930. From 1930 until 1965, bacon curers George Chapman Ltd owned the premises.

Apart from the addition of a verandah, subsequent remodelling for use to turn the building into Cobbs Restaurant has made no change to the building’s external character. The building has since become Live Nightclub.


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Factory/warehouses such as this are a dominant feature outside the central business district of Adelaide and are enduring reminders of Adelaide’s role as South Australia's major industrial centre.

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Images of R. Dixson and Co. Factory and warehouse

  • R Dixson and Co. Factory/Warehouse
James Cumming, Edward Davies
Building materials
Render, Stucco, Stone, Bluestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate
1883 -
Architecture and design features
James Cumming, Edward Davies, balustrade, parapet, pediment
Engineering features
West End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
R Dixson and Company
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Warehouse
AS2482 classification
11550 - Restaurant - Cabaret - Nightclub
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5240/441 F131732 A4
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
3.1.5 Farming Boom
3.4 Manufacturing
3.4.3 Factories
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.2 Retail and Wholesale Industry
George Chapman Ltd
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments; Frearsons Monthly illustrated Adelaide News, October 1880; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 180); Pascoe, J.J., History of Adelaide and vicinity, 1901, pp. 418-19; SAPP, Report of inspectors of factories, 1922.

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