South Australian Museum - East Wing

South Australian Museum - East Wing

Within 18 months of the opening of the South Australian Museum’s North Wing in 1895, the director stated that “the plain fact is that in spite of the greatly increased accommodation afforded by the new building we are still cramped for space”.

By 1908 construction was under way on a wing similar in style to the west wing (the Jervois Wing), now the Mortlock Library of South Australiana. However, it was 15 feet wider, with one tower instead of two, and with three floors and a basement. Building took seven years because of the difficulty of obtaining enough stone. Built for £36,283 by T.F. Brown, it was officially opened by the governor, Sir Henry Galway on December 8, 1915.

The external walls were of Murray Bridge freestone, backed by “Hindmarsh” bricks. Most of the flooring was reinforced concrete.

In his first annual report as museum director, Edgar R. Waite lamented that “the requirements of the Museum have been made subservient to the architectural features, the new building having to conform in general to that of the Public Library”. By this time, dressed cut-stone buildings were becoming exorbitantly expensive to built, leaving little regard for the cost of such essential matters as internal design, fixtures and fittings.


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Despite the controversy surrounding the construction, the architectural significance of the building is high.

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Images of South Australian Museum - East Wing

  • South Australian Museum - East Wing, 1972
T F Brown
Building materials
Brick, Stone, Freestone
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915)
1908 - 1915
Architecture and design features
dormer window, bell tower, plinth, finial, string course
Engineering features
Cultural Precinct
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
South Australian Museum
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Education, Recreational
AS2482 classification
13020 - Museum
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CR 5759/681 H105100 S561
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
6.6 Arts and Sciences
7.4 Libraries, Learned Institutions and Museums
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • Hale, H.M., The first hundred years of the museum, 1856-1956; MLSA, Bierbaum files, historical photographs, PRO GRG19/353, drawing of library/museum complex, 1885-87, sketch of proposed SA Institute Building, C.B. Richardson, 1877. Register, 31 October 1923,
  • 2 October 1925; SAPP, No. 30, 1907-08.

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