Vardon Price Printing Works & Warehouse

Vardon Price Printing Works & Warehouse

Semi-industrial buildings, many of which once served the retail heart of the city, are now rare in Adelaide. Several have been recycled (Sands and McDougalls in Light Square, and Young Street Chambers), radically altered (the former Wilkinsons warehouse/Grenfell Street Mail Exchange), or neglected, underused and threatened with demolition.

This building, therefore, is of some significance. It is even more important because of its association with Joseph Vardon, who bought the property on which it stands in 1911.

The Honourable Joseph Vardon was born at Hindmarsh in 1843. He was apprenticed to the printing trade, and began the printing and publishing business of Vardon and Sons. In public life Vardon served as a councillor and later mayor of Hindmarsh. He spent six years as a councillor and alderman with Adelaide City Council, and was an alderman in Unley. He was also elected to parliament, and was commissioner of Public Works from 1904 to 1905.

Vardon also became a senator in the Federal Parliament. He was noted for his service to community organisations, especially the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and was a director of the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange. Vardon Avenue, part of the Exchange, is named after him.

Plans for Vardon’s printing works were approved in June 1912. Similarities with the Wilkinson warehouse and Detmold printing works (Young Street Chambers) suggest that the architects were English and Soward.

This well-proportioned building is typically utilitarian and echoes design principles devised in Britain some 90 years before. It has load-bearing brick walls and no internal walls, the structure simply being supported on cast-iron columns. The panelled facade to Grote Street is strongly detailed, with a notable corbel table and continuous string course at parapet level. The segmentally arched openings show the use of lintels before reinforced concrete was accepted.

Although the façade remains unchanged, the interior of the building has been converted into a car park adjacent to Adelaide Central Market.


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Although its interior has been altered, the building is still hightly significant. It is near other buildings included on the City of Adelaide Heritage Register, and the materials used link it to the former Advanced School for Girls immediately to the west.

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Images of Vardon Price Printing Works & Warehouse

  • Government Printing Offices
English and Soward
Building materials
Brick, Iron, Cast iron
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.7 Warehouse
1912 -
Architecture and design features
string course, parapet, corbel
Engineering features
West End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Joseph Vardon
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Industrial, Printing
AS2482 classification
18100 - Historic Sites (unclassified)
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5307/792 S13531 U1 CT 5307/793 S13531 U2 CT 5307/796 S13531 UCP CT 5894/841 S13531 U4
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
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.8 New Technology and City Development
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.2 Retail and Wholesale Industry
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Assessments, Digest of Proceedings, 17 June 1912; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 179; Coxon, H.J. et al, Biographical register of the South Australian parliament, 1857-1957, 1985, pp. 2

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