Adelaide Architecture: A walking tour

Part 4: National Wine Centre to Adelaide Arcade

This is part 4 of the Adelaide Architecture walking tour.

National Wine Centre

BUILT: Completed 2001
LOCATION: Corner of Hackney Rd and Botanic Road
ENTRY: Free Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm, Sat and Sun 9am – 9pm

This multi-award winning $40 million building houses a restaurant, tasting room, function hall, wine industry offices, interactive exhibitions (such as smelling pods), and has a vineyard outside.

National Wine Centre

A number of elements influenced the radial geometry of the design including First Creek, the historic stables and heritage wall, and a line of jacaranda trees bordering the Botanic Gardens, which is now the focus of the Centre’s northern forecourt.

The spacious and light-filled main building evokes a sense of space typically found within a winery. The materials range from coarse and rustic (rammed earth, stone, timber) to finer smoother surfaces to mimic the increasingly refined aspects of the winemaking process. The external walls of the Exhibition Hall form a vat-like shape and the industrial qualities of the bridges and ramps crossing the space add to the impression.

National Wine Centre


The National Wine Centre has embarked on a “green” accreditation scheme by developing an Environment Management Program (EMP). This includes measures to use water and energy efficiently, recycling and better waste management, biodegradable products, and growing vegetables and herbs on site for the restaurant. More information.

The Site

The National Wine Centre is on the sight of a mental health hospital built in 1856 which operated until the 1920s. The original building can be seen on the corner of Hackney and Botanic Roads. The stone wall around part of the National Wine Centre  was built by the hospitals ‘inmates’. Later the site was a tramway where trams were built and exported. Some of these trams are still running in San Francisco to this day.

Cox Grieve Architects of Adelaide collaborated with Sydney’s Cox Richardson to design the National Wine Centre.  More information.

National Wine Centre
National Wine Centre: learn about wine production then taste the results.

After tasting some of the wines on offer here, toddle back down Botanic Road (or through the gardens if you want to take the scenic route)and cross North Terrace to the Ayers House Museum.

Ayers House Museum

BUILT: 1855
LOCATION: 288 North Terrace Adelaide
ENTRY:Tue – Fri 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Weekends 1 p.m – 4 p.m
COST: Adults $10, kids (13 – 16) $5, kids 12 and under FREE.

From 1855 to 1897 this was the home of South Australia’s Premiere, Sir Henry Ayers. The forty room mansion has been restored to its former opulence with a magnificent hand painted ceiling in the formal dining room.

Ayers House Museum also hosts changing exhibitions and is a stone’s throw to the bars and restaurants of Rundle Street.


Adelaide Arcade

BUILT: 1885
LOCATION: Rundle Street Mall
ENTRY: Mon – Thu 9am – 7pm. Fri 9 – 9. Sat 9 – 5. Sun 11 – 5.

Adelaide Arcade was founded in 1885 with 50 stores. It was planned that each of the original shops would sell their wares from the ground floor with a workroom on the first floor. Each shop had an inside staircase up to the workroom. These top level workshops were turned into shops in the 1960s and a balcony was added for access to them.

Today, Adelaide Arcade retains its old world charm with a traditional barber shop, a button shop, and a good old-fashioned soda bar with house-made sodas and healthy veg-friendly food. It’s called  Two-Bit Villains.



The arcade is said to be haunted by at least three ghosts. One of these ghosts is the early caretaker Francis Cluney who died after falling into the electricity generator in 1887 and having his head terribly mutilated. There have been intermittent reports over the years of sightings, footsteps in the empty arcade, objects being moved from where they were put, and other strange happenings which cannot be explained. Apparently, his ghost was even recorded on security footage in 2008. Oooh!


The floor is a mosaic of Victorian tiles. There is a museum showcasing its history on the balcony level of Gay’s Arcade. Skylights in the ceiling fill the arcde with natural light. Ornamental cast iron from Messrs Fulten & Co was used throughout and marble slabs flanking the entrances were supplied by the Kapunda Quarries.


More Information

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