A parliamentary inquiry into South Australia’s heritage system has been inundated with submissions opposing the possible partial demolition of a historic hotel.
Designed by prominent South Australian architect Daniel Garlick and built in 1883, the Newmarket Hotel stands on the north-west corner of the city centre, where Colonel Light began his survey of the city in January 1837.
The campaign to save it follows reports that the heritage-listed hotel sits within the preferred site for the planned $1.8-billion new Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
The Advertiser reported in August that senior staff of the hospital had been told the site, which covers two city blocks at the corner of West and North terraces, was viewed as the best of four possible options, in part due to its proximity to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. An air bridge across North Terrace would link the two hospitals.
While the facade of the Newmarket would reportedly be retained in the hospital build, the plan has caused outrage amidst heritage advocates, with 40 submissions against the plan made to the state parliament’s Environment, Resources and Development Committee inquiry into heritage operations since it was called in July.
The terms of reference for the committee’s inquiry call for the committee to investigate how heritage should be managed, with particular reference to who should be heard in relation to listings, who should be the decision maker for listings and review, and what processes should be in place for the review of listings.
Among those calling for the hotel to be saved is architect Julian Rutt, director of Lumen Studio, who wrote in his 30 August submission that he was “appalled” at the suggestion the hotel could be demolished.
“While I applaud the proposal for a new WCH hospital in the vicinity of the new medical precinct, any proposal that could suggest demolition of the Newmarket [would be] so ill-considered, it goes beyond short-sighted or visionless, and into urban vandalism,” he wrote. “How anyone could not see the value in terms of cultural or visual in this hotel is beyond my comprehension.”
The Newmarket Hotel is state heritage listed, and the majority of the 40 submissions made to the committee in relation to the hotel question how a heritage-listed building could be earmarked for partial demolition.
The Newmarket Hotel takes its name from a livestock market and slaughterhouse that sat opposite, where the Royal Adelaide Hospital and railway lines are today. The hotel is said to be the place where the South Australian beer measure the “butcher” originated, the size being the preferred choice for workers from across the road. More recently the hotel has been home to the notorious nightclub HQ. Its interior has been significantly altered.
Lord mayor Martin Haese has shown his support for the hotel, telling The Advertiser that the construction of a new hospital should not come at the expense of the building and that “South Australians would be horrified” at the prospect of the hotel’s demolition.
The South Australian government announced a taskforce to plan for the new hospital in April, and set a target completion date of 2024. A decision has not been made on the location of the hospital.