Heritage Places of Adelaide

Edmund Wright House (former Bank of South Australia Head Office, later Union Bank, then ANZ Bank)

59 King William Street ADELAIDE

State Heritage Place

Edmund Wright House, built in 1878 for the Bank of South Australia, is historically significant for its association with the development of financial institutions in South Australia, and in particular the Bank of South Australia, one of the earliest banks in the State, which was initially connected with the South Australian Company. The building was in continuous use by three of the major banks in Australia for over 90 years and is one of the few significant architectural statements of 1870s commercial architecture remaining in King William Street. The building represents the combined work of two significant architects - South Australian Edmund Wright and Victorian Lloyd Tayler - and is of exceptional architectural merit as an example of Victorian era Classical architecture with Renaissance influences. Victorian aesthetic principles of commercial architecture are also illustrated in the design of this building and its position highlights the focus of the commercial district of Adelaide in the nineteenth century. It also features quality craftsmanship and the use of both imported and local materials, epitomising the wealth and status of banking institutions in South Australia during the boom time of the 1870s. The building is also significant for being a catalyst for public debate and concern for the built heritage of South Australia when it was scheduled for demolition by Mainline Corporation in 1971. A prolonged public campaign culminated in its purchase by the State Government in November of that year. (Derived from Danvers Architects 'Edmund Wright House Conservation Study' 1991)

Listing Information

  • Date of Listing: 24 July 1980

Disclaimer: The content in the Heritage Places of Adelaide database has been adapted from the SA Government’s South Australian Heritage Register, made available via the Data SA website under a Creative Commons licence. See: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/sa-heritage-places.

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