Tattersalls Building

Tattersalls Building

A horseshoe motif worked into the balustrading suggests this building’s purpose. It was built for the South Australian Tattersalls Club (SATC), founded as a betting and gaming club after the style of the London Tattersalls.

When the Duke of Edinburgh visited Adelaide in 1867, he reportedly wanted to meet the sporting men over a glass of wine at the Tattersalls Club. Although there were Tattersalls clubs in Sydney, Adelaide did not have one. The Duke held his meeting at the Globe Hotel in Rundle Street and it was 12 years before the idea of a club in Adelaide took shape.

In 1879, E.M. Bagot, C.J. Coales, J. Richardson and W.K. Simms MP met at the Globe to create a club as a centre “where the earliest sporting news may be obtained; where Racing, Hunting and Coursing men can meet in comfort and privacy; as a court of Arbitration to take cognisance of Turf frauds and prompt action in their suppression and for the settlement of disputes”.

In its formative years, Tattersalls was a betting shop, gaming house and gambling den, and the committee and members were inveterate gamblers. In the 1880s, after restrictive betting legislation was introduced, interest in racing declined, as did membership of the club, forcing it to close in 1887.

Eighteen months later when a Totalizator Bill was passed in parliament, a new South Australian Tattersalls Club was formed, in October 1888. The club met in Grenfell Chambers in Grenfell Street and later bought the premises, building clubrooms there in 1917. Later, it bought an adjoining building and built the eastern section in 1928. The architects were Garlick and Jackman. When bought the land for this section it paid £900 per foot, “easily a record in Grenfell Street” according to the Builder, the total price being £27,000.

In the mid-1920s membership topped 1500 but the Depression years saw it decline dramatically. Numbers rose again after World War II, but from then on the costs of running the club forced it to reconsider the facilities and services it offered. In the 1970s women members were admitted. In 1977 the building was sold with a lease-back arrangement to cut continuing losses.

This heavily detailed building is unusual for its obvious two-stage construction, the western part having been built in 1916-17 and the eastern half in 1927-28. It is largely unchanged, the 1928 extensions simply complementing the original building with identical bulk and detailing. The interior retains its original spaces and details, including a central light well that illuminates a stained-glass lantern over the club dining room.

The building now comprises of a bar and offices.


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The Tattersalls building is historically significant for its early association with sport and betting. It is also of architectural note for its unusual details.

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See also

Images of Tattersalls Building

  • Tattersalls Building, 2014
Daniel Garlick, Herbert Jackman
Building materials
Brick, Concrete
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.13.2 Free Classical
1916 - 1917 

Additional Works

Eastern Half Built

Construction commenced
Construction completed
Architecture and design features
Ionic, cornice, balconette
Engineering features
Rundle Mall
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
South Australia Tattersals Club
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Clubs and association
AS2482 classification
11510 - Business House - Offices
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5585/334 F31390 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
6.2 Recreation and Entertainment
6.2.5 Sport
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, BSO plan files, 1916, 1927; Digest of Proceedings, 7 October 1916, 30 May 1927; Advertiser, 25 December 1917; Builder, 19
  • August 1925; Cox, A.B., History of S.A. Tattersalls Club, 1980; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 108).

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