Beehive Corner

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Architectural detail of Beehive Corner
Beehive Corner 1849 B60076
Bee Hive corner opposite Waterhouse's corner, 1866
Waterhouse Chambers survives little changed in 2013
At night, looking east towards Rundle Mall from King William Street

The Beehive Corner is a landmark in the Adelaide city centre, on the north-eastern corner of King William Street and Rundle Street, centrally placed between the railway station and the city's shopping precinct.


The name gained currency from "The Beehive", a draper's shop opened by Brewer and Robertson from October 1849 then J.V.B. Ryley from 1850 to 1858,[1] followed by Israel Simmons (ca.1831 – 9 June 1893) who ran the shop until 1886, when his business, with many others, failed.[2] According to one reference it had a beehive motif on the glass door portrayed in gold leaf. Nearby tenants included Edmund Wright the well-known architect, William Ekins the gunsmith[3] and James Allen's printing shop.[4][5] The name is even older – archivist G. H. Pitt found the name was chosen by the original owners to denote a busy trading centre.[6]

It had been a well-known landmark for fifty years in 1895 when what is essentially the present Beehive Buildings were built for the owner, Henry Martin to replace the antiquated structure. In the new design, four shops had frontages on King William Street and three facing Rundle Street, each 8 ft. (2.4 m) high, with jarrah floors and plastered walls and rear access and one shop 14 ft. (5.3 m) high, all having large plate-glass windows and nickel-plated columns. It was built three storeys above the pavement, and was Gothic in character, each gable finishing with crockets and a finial, and with open balustrades between them. At the main angle an ornamental turret was corbelled out, surmounted by a gilded beehive and bee and on the shaft of the turret the words 'Beehive Corner 1895' among foliage. The piers dividing the shopfronts were of Palmer granite. Sliding shutters were fitted to the windows facing King William Street, with a handsome iron verandah made by Fulton & Co. The sills of the windows facing Rundle Street were fitted with a small iron railing. The architects were English & Soward.[7]

In 1950 the prime corner section of the complex was sold to confectioner C. A. Haigh for his iconic shop (Haigh's Chocolates) after his leasing it for some 35 years.[8]

The neo-Gothic facade and prominent tourelle were refurbished in 1998 by the firm of Harrold and Kite.[9]

Place in popular culture[edit]

For over a century, "Meet you at the Beehive Corner" has been a common phrase among Adelaideans when nominating a meeting-place in the city.[10]

Forgotten today, but once a familiar landmark, "Stump's Corner", directly across King William Street from the Beehive Corner, was an earlier rendezvous, named for Alfred Stump (1860–1925), a photographer who had a prominent sign on his studio.[11]


  1. ^ John Venables Ball Ryley and William Moore were in partnership
  2. ^ "Suspected Suicide in the Botanic Park". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 June 1893. p. 5. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Advertising". South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 13 December 1879. p. 23. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Jubilee of South Australian Journalism". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 3 June 1887. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Marsden, Susan et al, eds., Heritage of the City of Adelaide Corporation of the City of Adelaide (1990) pp. 96–97
  6. ^ "Illustrated article". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 August 1943. p. 7. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "New Buildings in the City". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 19 April 1895. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Part Of "Beehive" Block Sold". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 25 September 1950. p. 4. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Beehive Corner". The Chronicle. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 4 January 1934. p. 51. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Obituary". The Chronicle (South Australia). LXIX, (3,615). South Australia. 2 January 1926. p. 41. Retrieved 17 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia.  This corner hosted a succession of photographers: Melbourne Photographic Company to 1885, then (briefly) Henry Jones's "Children's Photograph Company", then in 1886 R. Laming before Stump & Co. around 1890.

External links[edit]

34°55′22″S 138°35′59″E / 34.922857°S 138.599764°E / -34.922857; 138.599764Coordinates: 34°55′22″S 138°35′59″E / 34.922857°S 138.599764°E / -34.922857; 138.599764