The heritage of Hindley Street

Hindley Street

The West End has long been synonymous with wining, dining, culture and good times. With built heritage playing such an integral role in Adelaide’s identity, it’s no surprise that many of our favourite current-day spots have long-reaching histories. Discover the tapestries behind some of them below.

Walk the Hindley Street Heritage Trail

Hindley Street is one of the original public streets of Colonel Light’s designed city of Adelaide. In colonial tradition, the street is named after Charles Hindley, a member of the House of Commons in the British Parliament and the original director of the South Australian Company in 1835. The South Australian Company provided crucial financial support for the founding of the colony.

Hindley Street through the 20th century was a genuine mixed-use street. It had industry, retail, cinema, theatre, restaurants, cafes, car yards, hotels, strip clubs, night clubs, brothels, roller skating, ice skating and amusement arcades, plus people lived on the street. Explore the city’s earliest ‘entertainment’ street and all it has had to offer over time.

Explore more Hindley Street walking trails: Experience Adelaide | Early entertainment in Hindley Street

Learn about other stand-out historic locations

Black Bull Hotel

58 Hindley St, Adelaide SA 5000

The site’s original hotel, the Buffalo’s Head, opened its doors in 1838 as Adelaide’s first permanent hotel. Original owner, James Chittleborough, came to South Australia on one of South Australia’s first colonist ships called the Buffalo and named the pub in its image. A few years following in 1841, it evolved into the Black Bull.

Like many hotels in the area, the site was rebuilt in the 1878 following an economic boom with additions of the veranda and balcony following in 1905 and 1923 respectively. The hotel was rebuilt by one of Adelaide’s most prominent businessman, T.G. Waterhouse. The notable investor and son also owned the Griffins Head and Ambassador’s Hotel around the same time.

The hotel has now come full circle to re-embrace one of its earliest identity. The modern Black Bull Hotel now serves up local ales, some serious pub-grub and pumping dance floors.

Black Bull Hotel, circa 1880

Image: State Library of South Australia, circa 1880

Black Bull Hotel, present day

Image: City of Adelaide

Fowler’s Live – Lion Arts Factory

8 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

It’s hard to miss The Lion Arts Factory iconic industrial brick frontage and larger than life yellow paint drips. The hub is best known as the backdrop for some of the best national and international bands.

Constructed in 1906, the building was one of 12 flour mills owned by D & J Fowler (Australia) Ltd. From the late 1800s, the grocery wholesaler company was one of the most formidable commercial powerhouses in the Southern hemisphere. The majestic lion sitting atop the Lion Arts Factory reflects D & J Fowler’s iconic lion logo while performance space Fowler’s Live was named as a tribute to the original owners.

The 70s rolled around and the building took shape as the Adelaide Fringe’s headquarters and home to the Fringe Club – perhaps foreseeing the space’s creative future. 

Fowler's Lion Factory

Image: State Library of South Australia

Lion Art Factory

Image: City of Adelaide

Mayfair Hotel

45 King William Street (corner of Hindley Street), Adelaide

In 2015, The Mayfair Hotel opened its doors in one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage buildings. The 5-star boutique hotel boasts 170 rooms and has scooped up a myriad of accolades like Best Hotel Bed in Gourmet Traveller 2018 Australian Hotel Awards and the best five-star hotel in Australia by Trivago. The rooftop Hennessy Bar offers sweeping views of the city and beyond, and pays homage to the original architects Hennessey & Hennessey.

The building’s previous life as the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance building commenced in 1934. Despite being in the throes of the great depression, the building was whipped together in just nine months. At 11 storeys, the site held the crown of Adelaide’s tallest building for over three decades. Over the years, it amassed a further three storeys to bring it to its present 14. In its luxe makeover, the building retained the entirety of its outer façade however was completely rebuilt inside - from the basement to the rooftop!

Colonial Mutual Building

Image: History Trust of South Australia

Mayfair Hotel

Image: Mayfair Hotel

West Oak Hotel

208 Hindley Street, Adelaide

This pub has been pouring drinks and lifting spirits for over 180 years. Opening in 1838, the pub represents one of the city’s oldest licensed venues that has continued operation. It was originally known as the Royal Oak and Miners' Arms before being known simply as the Royal Oak. It lasted under this banner until 1993 where the watering hole had a brief stint as the Bijou Hotel before becoming The Worldsend in 1996.

Fast forward to 2017 where the pub transformed into its current iteration, the West Oak Hotel. The West Oak Hotel has retained the jewels of its former glory like the veranda and tiled ground floors. Situated a stones throw away from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the upstairs area has been transformed into an ode to an exclusive drinking spot for doctors and surgeons from the former Hospital site. The new Jolly Bar is comprised of salvaged components of its previous predecessor of the same name.

Royal Oak Hotel

Image: State Library of South Australia

West Oak Hotel, present day

Image: West Oak Hotel