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20 June 1866 Adelaide Town Hall

 20 June 1866   Adelaide Town Hall

The Adelaide Town Hall was officially opened, amid great ceremony, by the Governor, Sir Dominick Daly, on 20 June 1866. The day was declared a holiday and the streets were gaily decorated. At noon the bells in the Town Hall's Albert Tower were rung for the first time. Designed by William Wright, a former Mayor of Adelaide, on Italianate lines, the building was said to be the largest municipal building in Australia at the time. The front of the hall is 75 feet wide and projects 20 feet over the footpath to form the portico, while the 145 foot tower with its eight bells soared over other buildings in King William Street at that time. Sculptured heads of Italian artists flank those of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort on the facade.

In the evening a large crowd of people gathered in front of the Hall to witness the illuminations and the arrival of the guests for the banquet given by the Mayor, William Townsend, and to hear the bells chiming again. Adelaide had done itself proud. The Albert Tower was the city's tallest structure in 1866 and from the top a modest town of wood and stone could be seen. This view can still be seen in the 'Duryea Panorama' which was photographed from the partly completed Town Hall tower, and was on display at Old Parliament House.

In 1869 the building on the southern side of the Town Hall was added. In 1877 a magnificent organ was imported from England and was played for the first time at the swearing-in of Sir William Jervois as Governor on 2 October 1877.

Max Lamshed, Adelaide Sketchbook,  Rigby, 1967, p. 14.

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