From the very beginning of his episcopate in South Australia, Bishop Short took a lively interest in the educational work of the colony. Before leaving England in 1847, he obtained a grant of £2000 for the establishment of a school and theological college in his diocese. This sum was granted to the governors of the Collegiate School of St Peter with the condition that provision should be made for students in theology, but it was found difficult to combine successfully the role of a theological college with that of a large private school. Bishop Short sought alternative means for the ordination of local clergy, but it was not until 1880 that his idea for an Adelaide theological college bore fruit. Financial aid from the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and donations received from retired colonists in London, allowed him to begin a training school for theological students.
The South Australian Register, June 11, 1880 announced that: “The foundation stone of this College is to be laid by His Lordship the Bishop of Adelaide at 3.00 o’clock this afternoon. This College, for training candidates for Holy Orders in the Church of England, is to be erected on a site opposite St. Peter’s Cathedral, North Adelaide. The building will consist of a centre block and two wings, having gables to the front, the central block being surmounted by a ventilating turret . . . The entrance hall will be 12 ft. x 25 ft., with the principal staircase opposite to the door. To the right and left, corridors lead off to the studies and bedrooms, these being arranged so that they communicate with one another, each student having a suite of two rooms. The back portion of the right hand wing is taken up by kitchen, scullery, pantry and back stairs leading up to the caretaker’s rooms and down to cellar under kitchen . . . The whole of the building, when completed, will contain 14 sets of rooms . . . The portion proposed to be first built will contain 4 sets of rooms, the hall, kitchens, and offices forming the right hand wing and half of centre block. The style of the building will be Tudor, to be built of stone, with red brick dressings to windows and quoins, the entrance being carried out in stone. The cost of the building is estimated at £3800 and the portion to be now built will cost half that amount. The building has been designed by Mr. D. Garlick.”
Additions to the building were carried out in 1896, 1910, 1912 and 1919. In 1950 the college ceased to operate from this building. In 1954 the Anglican office moved from Leigh Street to this property, and in 1956 St Barnabas College re-established itself at Belair.
The composition of the front portion erected in 1880-81 is unusual for Garlick, whose designs were more commonly Italianate. It is strongly derived from Tudor English influences, with four centred, arched heads to openings, a slight informality lent by the southern gabled projecting wing, and steeply pitched roof crowned by finials, chimneys and small lantern. Well-constructed of bluestone with brick dressings, the building is an important element of this part of King William Road and has a strong stylistic and functional relationship with St Peter's Anglican Cathedral opposite. Both buildings illustrate the preference by Anglicans for the Gothic style in sharp distinction to the dissenting congregations and their preference for the more severe classical idiom.