Shops adjoining the Austral Hotel

Shops adjoining the Austral Hotel

This complex was built in the early 1880s for the South Australian Company, one of the most important commercial enterprises in the economic development of South Australia.

Architect William McMinn was commissioned to design the 14 shops and hotel. By January 1880 the hotel of three storeys with dwelling accommodation had been finished. Construction proceeded from east to west, the section now occupied by Malcolm Reid being the last built, in about 1883. In his brief life McMinn showed himself to be competent in the Italianate manner as these buildings, together with the alterations for Samuel Way at Montefiore and the building at the corner of Ward Street and Lefevre Terrace, show. He also designed the romantic compositions of Mount Breckan, at Victor Harbor, and Marble Hill, which are unlike his other works.

The part of the complex occupied by Malcolm Reid and Co was substantially altered for them in 1909, underscoring the success and expansion of the firm. Malcolm Reid and Co had branches at Port Adelaide and Broken Hill and later opened establishments in Johannesburg and London, which indicates the part of the South Australian economy in world trade at this time.

The completed range of buildings occupies almost two town acres. It is an unusually large and distinctive composition for Adelaide, comprehensive developments on such a scale being rare in South Australia. The buildings are well constructed of squared sandstone with stucco strings and surrounds to openings. The detailing, although typical of the boom period, is impressively carried out. The original composition was altered slightly by chamfering the corner to Bent Street and adding the tiered verandah/balcony to the hotel. The four shops west of the hotel are in remarkably original condition, while the hotel and the section occupied by Malcolm Reid have been painted. The Malcolm Reid store now has a continuous contemporary shopfront and the rear section has been virtually rebuilt. The accommodation at the rear of the Austral and the four adjoining shops are a good example of 19th-century terrace development with massive bluestone walling and brick dressings.


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The area is historically significant for its association with the South Australian Company, and architecturally significant as an example of early terrace development.

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Images of Shops adjoining the Austral Hotel

  • Austral Hotel and Shops
William McMinn
Building materials
Render, Stucco, Stone, Sandstone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate
1882 - 1883
Architecture and design features
cornice, balcony, stained glass
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
South Australia Company
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Shop, Hotel
AS2482 classification
11500 - Business: Commercial/Retail
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5404/441 F199754 A111 CT 5404/443 F181832 A180 CT 5570/735 F181831 A178 CT 5852/208 D37943 A54 55
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
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.5 Farming Boom
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.4 Smaller Retail Establishments
3.5.5 A City of Pubs
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Annual report 1909, p. 74, Assessments, 1879-81; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South
  • Australia, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 614, MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acres 88 and 89).

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