The City of Burnside is committed to preserving the city’s rich history and heritage. The area has a range of significant sites you can visit where you can delve into the historical highlights that have shaped Burnside.
View the full list of Burnside's Local Heritage Places, refer to Table BUR/2 in the current Burnside Development Plan.
For more information, please submit a Local History Enquiry.
401 Greenhill Road, Tusmore
Opened in 1954, the ballroom was built on the western side of the Council chambers on the site of the Council works depot to match, at least on the outside, the 1920s rendered style of the original building. The interior however was pure mid 1950s, with wrought iron, spun aluminium lights, and booths with upholstered seating.
Hired out by the Council for dances and other functions, the ballroom made a profit of £2374 in its first year. It was the venue for the popular Princeton Club dances in the 1960s. In 1996 the décor was restored to its original condition and in recent years it has been used for a variety of purposes, including concerts, plays and antiques fairs.
Glynburn Rd, Beaumont
Sir Samuel Davenport purchased section 269 of 80 acres in 1846 for £700 and laid out the Village of Beaumont in 1848. In 1904 he told a reporter from The Observer newspaper how he had decided on the location: “ I was always an admirer of the Mount Lofty Ranges and picked out this spot when I was riding into Adelaide from Macclesfield to attend to my Parliamentary duties.”
Davenport’s plan included 10 acres of ‘pleasure grounds’ – Beaumont Common – ‘for the exclusive use and enjoyment of the owners and occupiers for the time being of the allotments of land in the said village.’ The common was administered by a group of trustees and originally included two circular pieces of land at the western and eastern ends of the common called East and West circus. These were sold to adjacent land owners in 1884. The Burnside Council became one of the trustees in 1936. With an amendment to the Local Government Act in 1973, and in the face of some opposition, control of the Common passed to the Council, on the condition the land not be used for ovals, tennis courts or a swimming pool. The Common has remained more or less in its natural state, a pleasure ground for perpetuity, but is no longer, as Davenport intended, exclusively for the use of the residents of the Village of Beaumont.
Although much of Beaumont was developed after the Second World War, it contains a number of important historic buildings including: Tower House which faces The Common and part of which dates from before 1850 (the three story stone tower with battlements and a flagpole was added after 1879); Beaumont House on Glynburn Road, Davenport’s home (now owned by the National Trust) and part of which dates from the early 1850s; Ferndale, originally six rooms built in 1857 but later enlarged; and Holly Grange in Cooper Place, built around 1852.
Greenhill Road, Hazelwood Park
Hazelwood Park is part of the old Hazelwood property, purchased by Francis Clark in 1853. The property consisted of 45 acres, a small cottage, well, and a garden of vines and fruit trees. The Clark family transformed what was a run down farm into a ‘fertile paradise’ with irrigation, an orangery, almond and Moreton Bay fig trees, shrubs and many other flowers. There was also a small concrete swimming pool, probably one of the first in Burnside. The Clark family occupied Hazelwood until 1911, and in 1914, after the death of Francis’s eldest unmarried daughter, the property was sold to the state government for the benefit of a number of Clark beneficiaries, but on the understanding it would become a park, open to the public. After being gazetted as a ‘pleasure resort’ in 1915 the park was administered by the Tourist Bureau, and given to the Burnside Council in 1964, subject to certain conditions contained in a Deed of Trust.
A public swimming pool was first proposed for Hazelwood Park in 1953, but it was not until January 1964 that the Council announced it would build a swimming pool complex in the park at a final cost of approximately £170,000, and for which an initial loan of £70,000 would be needed. However almost immediately there was a great deal of opposition to the project. What followed was one of the most divisive periods in Burnside’s history.
The pool was the vision of Burnside’s mayor, George Bolton. ’You won’t see us for dust for this marks the fruition of our plans for a swimming pool in Hazelwood Park begun when I was Mayor in 1953.’ (Burnside News Review, 14 August 1963).
Opposition to the project came from a number of quarters, and was based on a number of grounds including: cost; denigration of the park’s natural beauty; noise and a likelihood undesirables would be attracted to the facility. While the cost of the project was significant (in 1964/65 the Council’s rate revenue was just £323,965) many of the other objections seem spurious now. Apart from some red gums the park contained very little of its natural vegetation, the pool occupied less than a tenth of the park’s total area and the location of the pool in the middle of the park mitigated the noise concern.
Nonetheless, the opposition was steadfast and vocal and a ratepayer poll was demanded. In 1964 more than 49 per cent of eligible voters – an unprecedented turnout – defeated the proposal. Undeterred, the project was scaled down and a second poll in February 1965 asking this time for approval for a loan of £100,000 for the total cost of the project was narrowly carried.
The pool was opened in October 1966. Dawn Fraser swam the inaugural lap, fulfilling a promise she had made to Mayor Bolton some years before when he befriended her in Sydney.
George Bolton Swimming Centre Burnside
Kensington Road, Kensington Park
- Designed by Chris A Smith (who also designed the Capri Cinema at Goodwood). Opened on 24 November 1925 and operated by National Theatres. Their slogan was “pictures for the people, owned by the people”
- Opening address was given by J A Harper, chairman of the District Council of Burnside.
- Originally presented silent films and pantomimes accompanied by the Princess Theatre Orchestra.
- The main feature on opening night was Little Annie Rooney starring America’s sweetheart, Mary Pickford.
- The theatre was the last word in picture theatre construction, with careful attention paid to seating, lighting and ventilation. The dress circle had no supporting columns, allowing an uninterrupted view of the screen. A parking area for cars was provided.
- On both sides of the proscenium were painted murals showing Venetian scenes (no longer visible from the auditorium, but still in place). Other murals were behind the screen and in the foyer.
- After National Theatres went into liquidation, the cinema was purchased by the Waterman family who renovated it in the Art Deco style, reopening the cinema in 1941 as the Ozone.
- In 1951 Hoyts purchased the cinema. Cinema Scope was installed in 1955 and a new, wider proscenium was placed in front of the 1941 version.
- By 1964 many suburban cinemas were in financial trouble. The Ozone was about to be demolished for a service station when the Burnside Council purchased it for the community. Wallis Theatres took over the lease in 1971. It was renamed the Chelsea.
- In 1982 a proposal from Wallis Theatres to buy the cinema and turn it into a twin cinema complex was rejected by Council.
- In 1984 the Council secured a grant under the Community Employment Programme and the cinema was renovated. The number of seats was reduced from 1145 to 586 and a new floor, screen, acoustic equipment and carpet were installed. The cinema was also repainted, the first time since 1955!
- In February 2012 Republic Pictures took over the lease of the theatre and renamed it The Regal.
The Regal Theatre
One of Adelaide’s oldest structures stands on a site above Glen Osmond. The site was known for many years as ‘Chimney Hill’.
The structure is the chimney associated with an ore smelting works built by M F Penny and Co of Adelaide for the Union Mining Company in 1849. This mining company had been formed in 1844 by Osmond and Lewis Gillies and had prospered over the next few years, extracting 1009 tons of lead carbonate ore from three different lodes. The chimney, built of brick in the round Cornish style, was located on the side of the hill and connected to the smelting works by a conduit, so that fumes from the smelting operations could be carried off at a higher level.
A newspaper report in 1849 stated:
‘The new lead smelting works at Glen Osmond, which are being constructed upon sound and scientific principles, will not only be another great acquisition to the productive power of the Province, but be unaccompanied by any injurious dispersion of fumes.
A conduit chimney will be carried to the top of the hill, and every other precaution and economical contrivance suggested by considerations of health as well as of profit will be combined in the new establishment.’
It is thought the smelter was hardly ever used and produced only about 107 slabs of bullion in its working life. A legal dispute between the owners of the mines and the Union Mining Company, coupled with the exodus of the miners to the Victoria gold fields meant mining at Glen Osmond abruptly ceased for many years, rendering the smelter redundant. Despite several attempts to restart mining at Glen Osmond (including one in the 1950s) very little ore was extracted from the mines after the initial 1841–51 period.
Fortunately the chimney remained. For many years it was whitewashed and acted as a beacon to ships in Spencer Gulf. Glen Osmond was the site of Australia’s first metalliferous mine and today the chimney and flue are rare and valuable surface relics of the early engineering and mining history of Australia.
In 1844 Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold arrived in South Australia aboard the barque Taglione. With him were his wife Mary and infant daughter Georgina. He purchased about 60 acres at Magill, built (or perhaps added to) a stone cottage (still in existence and one of Burnside’s oldest buildings) and planted grapevine cuttings – cuttings he brought with him on his voyage, their ends sealed with beeswax.
As a practising doctor, Dr Penfold used wine in his medical practice, putting great faith in the curative properties of port. As time went on the reputation of his wines spread, and more and more of his energies were put into the winery. After Penfold’s death in 1870, his wife Mary and son-in-law, Thomas Hyland carried on with the winery and it flourished. Herbert and Frank Hyland (Thomas’ sons) followed and Penfold’s greatest period of expansion occurred under them: the Hunter Valley (1909), McLaren Vale (1910), Nurioopta (1911-12), Eden Valley (1920), Griffith (1921). By 1949 Penfold’s Magill holdings totaled 297 acres.
In the 1980s, despite a spirited campaign to save the Magill Grange vineyards, most of the land was subdivided for housing. A small core vineyard, the cottage and the winery buildings were retained. In the 1990s one of Adelaide’s finest restaurants was built in the vineyard area.
Two of Australia’s best red wines were developed at Magill in the 1950s– Grange Hermitage and St Henri Claret. Today, the Magill Estate Shiraz is produced at Magill entirely from Magill grapes.
In the 1990s the Burnside Council developed Penfold’s Reserve on a piece of land (acquired as a result of the Penfold’s subdivision) which was once part of Patrick Auld’s Home Park Winery. The reserve is situated next to the original Penfold vineyards.
Penfolds Magill Estate
Mount Barker Road
This small hexagonal building in the middle of Mount Barker road was built in 1841. An 1841 Act of Parliament called ‘An Act for Making and Maintaining the Great-Eastern Road ‘ initiated the building of an 'improved communication between the City of Adelaide and the Mount Barker District and the overland route to New South Wales and Port Phillip'. The resulting road was the Great Eastern Road and it commenced at Glen Osmond. The same Act empowered a group of trustees – 25 prominent colonists owning land near the road – to levy tolls and raise loans by mortgaging the tolls, so as to finance the building of the road.
A toll house was constructed for the toll keeper and this small hexagonal stone building with a chimney in the middle of the roof still stands in its original position.
The tolls were collected from 1841 to 1847. The amount of the toll depended on the nature of the vehicle: a one horse coach or two bullock wagon was 1 shilling, whereas a carriage or vehicle drawn by six or more horses or eight or more bullocks attracted a charge of 3 shillings. Exemptions from tolls included the Governor’s horses and carriages and 'persons travelling to divine service on Sunday'.
From 1844 the colonial government took over control of the road and the collection of the tolls. Tenders were called for the toll collection. The successful tenderer was allowed to keep the tolls and pay a fixed monthly rental to the government.
Not surprisingly the tolls were unpopular. In 1847 Sir Samuel Davenport moved in the Legislative Council for the abolition of the tolls on the grounds they constituted an unfair tax on a particular district. His motion was successful and the tolls were abolished in November 1847.
The Toll House is not just Burnside’s oldest building. It is also one of South Australia’s oldest buildings.
The Parade, Kensington Park
The oval known as the Kensington Park Oval was purchased in 1874 by a group of local residents using donations and money raised by ‘entertainments’. Administered by a group of trustees on behalf of the district it was originally called the Kensington Oval (although located in Kensington Park and not in the adjacent suburb of Kensington). Initially cricket and football were played there and the oval was financially viable, but by 1881 the trustees were forced to sell off some of the land on the perimeter for housing. Using some of this money a pavilion was erected in 1882 and by 1883 fences, gates and a scoreboard were in place.
For a while the oval was successful and league and interstate football matches drew large crowds. The oval was Norwood’s home ground from 1882 to 1887; North Adelaide’s from 1883 to 1894 and West Adelaide’s in 1887 and 1897. However by 1886 the oval’s trustees were again in financial difficulties and the Burnside Council stepped in order to save the oval for the district. At a meeting on 15 February 1887 the Council resolved to get a written offer from the trustees of oval to sell the oval to the Council. On 4 October 1887 the Council resolved, subject to the satisfaction of the ratepayers, to offer £1850 (the amount of the overdraft) to the trustees. The ratepayers endorsed the proposal, the money was borrowed and the land transferred in November 1888. It seems the land was acquired at a bargain price - the Commissioner of Taxes valued it at £4800.
South Australia’s first inclined cycle track was built there in 1888 and for a while the oval was again a successful venue. However between 1898 and 1920 the oval fell into disuse and was for a time the Council’s works depot. In 1920 the Kensington Cricket Club leased it and in subsequent years the oval was replanted and other improvements were made. During World War Two the army used it for troop training. After the war the South Australian National Football League again played league football at the oval.
In 1963 the oval was leased to the South Australian Amateur Athletics Association and the South Australian Soccer Federation. A synthetic running track was laid and the oval was renamed the Olympic sportsfield. For many years it was Adelaide’s principle athletics stadium and was used for soccer until 1990.
In 1992 the Council resolved to determine exactly what it could do with the oval, given that in 1888 the land had been acquired subject to a Deed of Trust. One option was to sell the oval, another was to again lease it to a sporting or other type of organisation. However by 1992 the instrument creating the Trust was lost and so its exact terms were not known. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court, which held that there was sufficient secondary evidence to establish such a Trust existed, the Council had signed the Trust and the terms of the Trust established the Council agreed to hold the land as a public recreation ground. The secondary evidence included an internal memorandum, an entry in the Council's solicitor's Deed book and a report of a meeting held by the Oval's trustees where it was resolved to sell the land subject to a Trust which was to stipulate the Council must hold the oval 'for the public use of the District as a recreation ground, free at all times from all specific charge.' In the initial hearing the judge found, based on the trust, the Council did not have the power to sell the land. On appeal the Full Court reversed this decision, holding the evidence fell short of establishing the Trust was subject to any express term precluding the sale of the land. It was also held the land constitutes ‘parklands’ within the meaning of the Local Government Act, but that this fact does not preclude sale or disposal of the land either.
The Council did not, however, sell the land. Rather, it retained ownership and leased the oval to nearby Pembroke School who use it for school sports. Outside of school hours, Saturday mornings and term time the oval is still available for public use. Recently it was the site of the Burnside Autumn fete.
Kensington Park Oval
The Council Chambers on Glynburn Road (next to St David’s Church) were built in 1869. Before this the District Council met at a variety of locations, including the Greengate Inn which was located in today’s Linden Park. The first Council Chambers consisted of the single fronted building which exists today and an animal pound. The building accommodated all the staff and the Council meetings, and also the pound keeper’s family! In 1916 the Council purchased the site at the corner of Portrush and Greenhill Roads (Tusmore Farm land) and built the first stage of the current Council building in 1927/28.
In 1953 the Education Department indicated they wished to acquire some of the land behind the old Council Chambers for the Burnside Primary School. The Council agreed to exchange some of this land for an equivalent area at Glynburn (then Burnside) Road, which was owned by the Engineering and Water Supply Dept and contained an old water tank. This land and tank now forms part of the works depot.
Restored in the 1980s the original Council building is now owned by the church.
The Parade, Kensington Gardens
Originally grazing land, what is today known as the Kensington Gardens Reserve was once called Piles Paddock, after William Pile who purchased the land in the 1870s. In 1909 the 40 acres which comprises the Kensington Gardens Reserve was given to the Tramways Trust by Kensington Gardens Ltd who were subdividing the land for housing. In return the Trust undertook to dedicate the area as a public park and extend the electric tram (which ran up Norwood Parade) to the middle of the northern boundary of the park. They did this and developed the park, including building the band stand/rotunda. Band concerts were held on the rotunda and the park became a popular picnic resort. The park (including the bandstand) was transferred to the Burnside Council in 1932.
In May 1951 the East Torrens branch of the Mothers and Babies Health Association approached the Council and proposed the bandstand be converted into a Baby Health Centre. Owing to disagreement about the term of the lease and an alternative proposal to build a room on to the Scout Hall, nothing happened until December 1951 when the Association asked the Council to reconsider. Council approved the proposal, subject to the submission of satisfactory plans.
The plans were approved in June 1952, and in October 1952 (following a donation of £421 from the disbanded Kensington Gardens Golf Club) the Centre was opened.
Kensington Gardens Reserve