Temperance Hall

Temperance Hall

This hall was built in 1858 for the South Australian Total Abstinence Society, founded in 1840. These organisations provided an alternative to the traditional hotel ¬– the coffee palace ¬– popular as a city resort for the country visitor. The Federal Coffee Palace (on the site of the present Grosvenor Hotel) and Grant’s Coffee Palace are examples of the efforts of local temperance societies.

In 1889, the publication Temperance in Australia commented that the organisations of the temperance party in South Australia were numerous and influential. It named the Total Abstinence League and Band of Hope Union, which had headquarters in “suitable buildings” at North Adelaide, as the most important. The various temperance bodies attacked the liquor trade by means of campaigns and other methods: “Its chief object is moral suasion and the amount of good that has been done by this means cannot be tabulated. As the result of the advocacy of temperance principles ... it is computed that there are at least 50,000 pledged abstainers in the colony, forming about one-sixth of the entire population.”

The foundation stone of the Tynte Street hall was laid on May 24, 1855, by Thomas Reynolds, MLC, president of the Total Abstinence Society. The building was designed by James William Cole. Tenders were not called for the building until 1856 and the building was not finished until 1858. In 1883, additions and alterations were carried out to the design of architect Philip Arthur Howells. The building has remained substantially unchanged since then.

James and George William Cole, both trustees of the hall, were prominent in their own right. They served as members of the House of Assembly from 1860 to 1866 (G.W Cole) and 1857 to 1860 (J.W. Cole), and as representatives of the Temperance Movement and the Wesleyan Church. G.W. Cole also acted as valuer for the Adelaide City Council.

From 1858 to 1879 this building had a prominent place in the Temperance movement and some of the most important meetings in connection with this cause in South Australia were held here. In 1879 the Rechabites built new premises in Grote Street.

Cole was responsible for several non-conformist chapels in South Australia. The design of this facade is strongly derived from the classical tradition as practised in England in the early 19th century. As originally built, without the extended porch between the columns, the facade is dominated by the extensive use of stuccoed detail with projecting pilasters, relatively elaborate entablature, a “Soanian” (after the eminent English architect Sir John Soane) parapet and terminations. The building was designed before stuccoed walling became unfashionable and before the “Italianisation” of structures. Preference for the classical idiom was common in non-conformist denominations.


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The hall is substantially original and a significant element in the Tynte Street streetscape. Its comparatively early date of 1858 is about the same as that of Belmont, built for the North Adelaide Masonic and Public Hall Association. Both represent the early provision of buildings for recreation and other social purposes in North Adelaide in particular, and the growing social maturity of the city in general.

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Images of Temperance Hall

  • Rechabite Hall, 1985
James William Cole
Building materials
Brick, Render, Stucco, Stone, Limestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.5 Free Classical
1858 -  

Additional Works

Additions to the design of Philip Arthur Howells

Construction commenced
Construction completed
Architecture and design features
pilasters, column
Engineering features
Upper North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
South Australian Total Abstinence Society
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Clubs and association
AS2482 classification
12560 - Hall
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5172/957 F106434 A10
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
2.2.1 Early Colonial Settlement
6.2 Recreation and Entertainment
6.2.6 Other Amusements
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Digest of Proceedings 27 November 1882; International Temperance Convention, Melbourne, 1888, Temperance in Australia, 1889; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 861); Nagel, P., North Adelaide 1837-1901, 1971, p. 41; Observer,
  • 9 September 1893; South Australian Register, 26 May 1855, 29 November 1882.

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