professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > May > 24 May 1849 St Peter's College

24 May 1849 St Peter's College

 24 May 1849   St Peter's College

On 24 May 1849 the foundation stone of St Peter's College, actually two blocks from the old city bridge, was laid by Bishop Augustus Short.

In February 1847, before Bishop Short arrived in the colony, a meeting was held to consider the establishment of a school for boys. The first classes were held in a room behind Trinity Church. Bishop Short brought with him a grant of £2000 from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and with this, and other donations, seven acres of land was purchased at Hackney for £125. The first building, measuring 60 feet x 30 feet, known as the Big Schoolroom, was ready by January 1850. Over the years many additions, some funded by the generous bequest of Benjamin Da Costa, as well as many others, has seen the College grow to its present impressive appearance.

The Memorial Hall was built between 1922 and 1929 as a memorial to old boys of the college who fought in World War I. It was opened on 22 September 1929 by the Governor, Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven, at a service conducted by the Bishop of Adelaide, the Right-Reverend Dr Thomas, before a crowd of 1500 guests, including 250 returned servicemen, 150 next of kin of old boys killed in the war, and 600 subscribers to the hall. Another 2000 guests were seated on the adjacent lawns. The handsome building, in the Tudor Gothic style, was used for many functions over the years. In the early morning of 2 December 1985 a deliberately lit fire completely destroyed the hall. The famous Wurlitzer organ, which came from the Regent Theatre when that building was re-designed, was saved, although damaged. The hall has since been rebuilt and the organ restored.

Max Lamshed, Adelaide Sketchbook, Rigby, Adelaide, 1967, p. 10.
The Advertiser, 3 December 1985, p. 43.
The Advertiser, 23 September 1929, p. 11.

Tags: St Peter's College