West's Coffee Palace

West's Coffee Palace

In the boom years of the late 1870s, Hindley Street was transformed from a piecemeal collection of structures into an elegantly terraced street lined with buildings of strong architectural character, often with deep balconies. West’s Coffee Palace was built in 1903, during another period of renewed prosperity in the city. Its extensive use of stuccoed dressings, brick and Marseilles tiles is tied to the Edwardian period and the eclectic approach to design by architects of the era.

Leopold Conrad, for whom the complex was built, began trading in Hindley Street in 1869 as a butcher and smallgoods manufacturer. His firm became one of the largest of its type in South Australia and had its head office in Hindley Street.

In 1902, Leopold Conrad’s old shops were pulled down and by the end of 1903 a group of 12 shops and dwellings, designed by his architect son Albert Conrad, had replaced them. Conrad named the complex Austral Stores.

In 1908, Jonathan Grant, who had operated successful dining rooms in Hindley Street opposite the Austral Stores, took up a lease in the complex and established Grant’s Coffee Palace.

Coffee palaces were by this time an established tradition in Adelaide. With the founding in 1884 of the South Australian Temperance Alliance, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1886, the temperance movement gained a strong political and moral voice. Coffee palaces sprang up as a result, although by the time Grant’s Coffee Palace moved into the Austral Stores they had evolved into a form of cheap accommodation with more frills than boarding houses. They remained unlicensed and were not classed as hotels, and were particularly popular with country visitors.

Grant’s Coffee Palace was taken over in 1919 by John West and renamed West’s Coffee Palace. When John West died in 1926, his wife Agnes took over management of the coffee palace and his family continued to run the accommodation side.

The building was eventually subdivided and the shops sold. Around 1960 the ornate verandah/balcony was removed and the present shopfronts inserted.

The complex is an excellent example of the florid freestyle typical of the Edwardian period. Twin three-storey towers with flanking pavilions dominate the main facade, and the roof features vertical elements, party walls, tiles and ridge work. Built of brick with stuccoed dressings, the complex has similarities with the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange, built about the same time.

Although altered and in deteriorating condition, the upper floor of the building remains remarkably original.


show more


[edit | edit source]

West’s Coffee Palace is a significant reminder of Hindley Street’s commercial and residential importance of in the early colony. It is a striking example of its architectural diversity and former splendour.

Connects with

Related places
Related people
Related organisations
Related events
Related things

See also

Images of West's Coffee Palace

  • West's Coffee Palace, 2014
Albert Selmar Conrad
W B Bland
Building materials
Brick, Render, Stucco
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915)
1904 -
Architecture and design features
marseilles tiles, dormer window, terra cotta tiles
Engineering features
West End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Leopald Conrad, Jonathan Grant, John West
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Shop
AS2482 classification
16010 - House
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5109/130 F101428 A11 CT 5218/166 F124968 A5 CT 5295/68 F159087 A1 CT 5561/581 F181471 A629 CT 5508/839 F181472 A630 CT 5508/913 F181475 A633 CT 5858/197 F181476 A634 CT 6049/931 F207413 A123
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
2.3 City Dwellers: Householders, Boarders and Tenants
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.4 Smaller Retail Establishments
4.7 Memorable Development Eras
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Assessments 1902, 1903, Digest of Proceedings, 2 February 1903; Burgess, H.T.,
  • Cyclopedia of South Australia, 1909, Vol. 1, p. 545, Vol. 2, p. 266; Honorary Magistrate,
  • 31 December 1926; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 52); Quiz, 2 June 1905; Register, 10 January 1903; South Australian Directory, l02-70; Whitelock, D., Adelaide: from colony to Jubilee, 1985, p. 276.

Further reading

External links

Something to add or share?

blog comments powered by Disqus