Union Hall (Adelaide)

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Union Hall in 2010
Union Hall in April 2010.

Union Hall was a theatre, hall and lecture theatre located on the North Terrace campus of the University of Adelaide, in South Australia. Constructed in 1958, Union Hall served as a performance venue for various festivals and productions until 2007. It was demolished in November 2010 to make way for a new science precinct.

History[edit]

In 1955, in response to a shortage of student space on the North Terrace campus, the University of Adelaide began a public appeal for funds with which to renovate and expand the buildings of the Adelaide University Union (AUU).[1] The appeal raised £103,761, with notable contributions including £6,000 from the AUU and £12,000 from GM Holden.[2] The majority of these funds were set aside to erect a multi-purpose theatre for the Union's use. Designed by South Australian architect Louis Laybourne Smith,[3] the building was named "Union Hall", and opened on 8 August 1958.[4] The Hall was built with 499 seats, thereby avoiding an ordinance requiring a full-time fireman for buildings with seating capacity of 500 or more.[1][5][6]

Union Hall was a venue for Adelaide's first Festival of the Arts in 1960 and the venue for the first 10 Adelaide Film Festivals, from 1959 to 1968.[7][8]

In 1999, control of Union Hall was handed from the AUU to the University[citation needed], and the hall was renovated into a lecture theatre, in the process reducing its capacity to 415 seats.[5] In 2007, the University ceased allowing the use of the hall for artistic and theatrical purposes, turning it into a full-time lecture theatre.[9][10]

Union Hall being demolished in November 2010
Union Hall being demolished in November 2010.

Demolition[edit]

In September 2009, the University of Adelaide announced that Union Hall would be demolished in order to construct a new science precinct centred on a proposed Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.[11] The announcement was met with opposition from the local arts community,[3] the National Trust,[12] and the Adelaide City Council.[13] In February 2010, the hall was provisionally listed on the State Heritage Register,[14][15] allowing for submissions from the public regarding the heritage status of the hall.[7] However, in September, South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation Paul Caica removed it from the register,[16] and the hall was demolished between 17–26 November of the same year.[17]

Construction started soon after, on the Bragg's building. It completed construction in 2013 and was inaugurated by the new Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington. [18]

The Hall[edit]

Union Hall was originally constructed to seat 499, with a stage 72 feet (22 m) from front to back and a proscenium arch of 38 feet (12 m). Under the stage was an extensive basement with dressing rooms, and electrical room and a workshop.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Duncan, W. G. K.; Leonard, Roger Ashley (1973). The University of Adelaide. 1874-1974. Adelaide, Australia. p. 148. ISBN 0-85179-667-2. 
  2. ^ Finnis, Margaret M. (1975). The Lower Level. A Discursive History of the Adelaide University Union. Adelaide, Australia. p. 210. ISBN 0-9598309-0-1. 
  3. ^ a b Foster, Farrin (7 November 2009). "Disunity over Union Hall". The Independent Weekly. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Record View - Official opening of the extensions to the Union Buildings and of Union Hall by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor on Friday, August 8, 1958 at 3 p.m.". Barr Smith Library Catalogue. Barr Smith Library. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Goers, Peter (11 October 2009). "It's the art's end of Adelaide". The Sunday Mail. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Union Hall to Open Friday". On Dit. Adelaide University Student Representative Council. 1 August 1958. p. 1. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Akerman, Pia (11 February 2010). "Union Hall spared the wrecker's ball". The Australian. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Medlin, Harry; Horace Swales-Smith; Bronwen Greet; Reg and Glenice Bennett; Lucy Osborne; Mary Dodgson (1968). University Union Hall : 8 August 1958 to 8 August 1968. Adelaide, Australia: Griffin Press. Retrieved 29 April 2010 from the Barr Smith Library Special Collections.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ Harris, Samela (29 September 2009). "Curtains close on Union Hall". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "FAQ - New science precinct". The University of Adelaide. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "Building a world-leading science precinct". The University of Adelaide. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Harris, Samela (28 October 2009). "National Trust joins fight for Union Hall". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  13. ^ MacDonald, Aaron; Daniel Wills (19 January 2010). "Council body rejects proposal". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Heritage listing stalls Union Hall plan". ABC News. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  15. ^ Lloyd, Tim (11 February 2010). "Union Hall given heritage listing, throwing uni plans into chaos". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "University welcomes decision on Union Hall". The University of Adelaide. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Union Hall demolished for science precinct". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  18. ^ http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news62661.html

External links[edit]

Photos of Union Hall: 2005:left; 2006:front; 2010:left, centre, right