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11-August-2015 (Bryan Cole)
11-August-2015 (Bryan Cole)

Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole / Peter Williams

The plaque commemorates the service given by members of Institutes since 1836 and Institute Libraries and the Institutes Association of South Australia since 1898 and the building which was constructed in 1860. 

The Institute Building was designed by Edward Hamilton who was the Colonial Architect.  His Italianate design for the Institute with its portico was described in the Observer newspaper of 28 July 1860 as 'decidedly in advance of any other building, public or private, in the colony. There is harmony of proportion and a classical stamp about the whole structure which entitles it to be regarded as an architectural gem.'

Construction was of rendered random rubble, with Italianate features and portico, and was completed by builders English and Brown after just ten months in July 1860 for a sum of £4839.

The Institute Building became the focal point of the cultural life of Adelaide, housing the library, a reading room, an art gallery, a museum, a School of Art and Design, and meeting rooms of societies affiliated with the South Australian Institute, such as the Philosophical Society and South Australian Society of Arts which had affiliated in 1859. Activities included regular soirees, recitations and concerts. A lecture series on technical and scientific subjects made it both an adult education centre and the only institution in the colony providing technical or further education beyond primary level, other than private secondary colleges. In fact the South Australian Institute was the early university of the city.

The South Australian Institute was still a mainly private body and only subscribers could borrow books, the others had to read them in the reading room. Women borrowed under their husband's name and rarely visited the reading room. The reading room was on the western side of the entrance and was used for items that could not be borrowed, in particular newspapers. Visitors used to be able to take their dogs into the library and reading room until 16 July 1864 when the caretaker's dog was accidentally locked overnight in the reading room. It was so distressed it caused considerable damage to the blinds and woodwork. From that day dogs were banned from the library.

The room remained as a newspaper reading room until April 1990, and housed the Bradman Collection exhibition in 1998. The room is now used for Library and visiting exhibitions



Address:North Terrace & Kintore Avenue, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.921074
Long: 138.602173
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 2nd September, 1986
Front Inscription

Institute Building

This plaque was unveiled by His Excellency Lt-Gen Sir Donald Dunstan, KBE, CB, Governor of South Australia on 2 September, 1986.

To recognise the outstanding service given by members of Institutes since 1836, Institute Libraries and the Institutes Association of South Australia since 1898, and to commemorate this historic building constructed for library services in 1860

G. D. Hollidge      R. J. Broad
President             Executive Officer

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au