The Social Meaning of Classical Style Public Architecture in Adelaide in the Nineteenth Century

01st June 2007

Deborah Arthur

BArch(Hons), Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, October 2004

Adelaide (South Australia’s capital city) has a vast number of classical style public buildings in the city centre. Many of these buildings were constructed throughout the nineteenth century, and are still standing today. Classical style public buildings in three locations – the northern part of King William Street, North Terrace and Victoria Square – were analysed for this study. Fieldwork recorded the physical attributes of the buildings, while historical research noted the social and functional attributes.

The main aim of this study was to discuss the social meanings of classical style public architecture in Adelaide in the nineteenth century. Other aims were to examine the types of classical styles present in Adelaide, whether these styles were prevalent on public buildings in other Australian capitals and in other British colonies, and what the influences were for the choice of architectural style.

Analysis of architectural style in Adelaide has shown that architects and other influential individuals were emulating the behaviour of British elite, and copying historical trends for classical styles. At the same time there was some resistance against the strict rules governing traditional forms of classical architecture, providing new styles and orders, which formed different social meanings.

Deborah Arthur
The Social Meaning of Classical Style Public Architecture in Adelaide in the Nineteenth Century
June 2007
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Thesis Abstracts
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