Edmund Wright House Adelaide

Edmund Wright House Adelaide

Edmund Wright House Adelaide was completed as headquarters for the Bank of South Australia in 1878 and is a tribute to the fine architecture of Edmund Wright and Lloyd Tayler.
Until the bank moved into these new premises from Bank St. they were in 3 weatherboard rooms located on North Terrace, and before that they operated from a canvas tent where they began in 1837.The bank acquired the site in 1874 and organised a design competition with a first prize 0f £200 and a runner up prize of £100.
Wright, either individually, or with associates E.J. Woods and Daniel Garlick had already designed several prominent buildings including the Methodist Church Meeting Hall, the Adelaide Town Hall and St Lawrence Church and Priory in North Adelaide.Expert stone craftsmen were contracted and the carving of the capitals and ornamental work was undertaken by Messrs Maxwell, Craig and Williams Jnr.William Maxwell came from Scotland to work on the project was also responsible for carving the keystones on the two story section and three keystones including the heads of Mercury, Minerva and Winter.
Joseph Durham, a Royal Academy Sculptor, was commissioned to carve the coat of arms above the entrance.In 1892 the Bank of South Australia was taken over by the Union Bank who then moved into the premises. In 1951 they merged with the Bank of Australasia to become the ANZ Bank and by 1969 had outgrown the premises which was sold to Mainline Corporation, a Sydney development group who intended to build a 19 story office block on the site.Negative public reaction met the proposal and eventually the building was bought by the South Australian Government for $750,000.In 1872 it was named Edmund Wright House in honour of the two architects and re-opened in March 1973 as a public function centre, and offices for the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.The building became unoccupied in 1995 and was used by the State History Centre.