Urban Exploration – Adelaide’s Forgotten Arcade: The Gallerie

Twenty years ago, one was able to walk from Pulteney Street to Gawler Place without seeing daylight by entering Renaissance Arcade in The Mansions building, heading down the escalator into the basement of John Martins, into the food court of The Gallerie Arcade and then up the stairs into Gawler Place.  Of course, this all changed in 1998 with the closure and subsequent demolition of John Martin’s department store.

Since Johnnie’s closure in 1998 the former Gallerie Arcade has stood empty, albeit for brief periods of revitalisation such as Tuxedo Cat’s use of the building as an art space.  A small section fronting Gawler Place had a period of retail use several years ago as a kitchenware outlet but this was short lived.  Once this store closed, the building was stripped out and more or less forgotten.

The Gallerie building comprises five floors and three separately linked buildings, including the heritage listed G&R Wills Building.  In recent years, the building has been heavily vandalised internally.  However, the majority of this is cosmetic damage, with shop fittings, electrical wiring, plumbing and escalators removed years ago.

g&r wILLS
Original 1880 architectural drawing (www.samemory.com.au)

My memories of The Gallerie are hazy, but I do recall the coffee shop/restaurant on the first floor at the Gawler Place entrance.  And the food court which I used to frequent on my way through to John Martins (the music section of John Martins was in the basement and I used to buy my vinyl LP’s and cassettes there!).

After standing empty for the best part of twenty years, plans have been approved via the Development Assessment Commission for a 19 storey, mixed residential/commercial tower to occupy at least a part of the former Gallerie site.  Plans for the remainder of the site are at this point unknown.

203 North Terrace
Artist rendering of new tower (www.203northterrace.com.au)

It is somewhat amazing that a building of this size and scale can stand empty in the middle of a modern city for twenty years.  Perhaps this is testament to the changing face of retail or the rigour of our current building rules which make re-purposing older buildings an onerous task.

I captured hundreds of images within The Gallerie, over multiple explores (thanks to Wildstar for accompanying me).  It must be noted that these images are nearly two years old and do not accurately reflect the current state of vandalism within.  I have been advised that the building is now equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance and regular security patrols.

Anyone else remember The Gallerie??

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1984 Advertisement for The Gallerie (www.flickr.com/baytram366)
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Looking down one of the neighbouring alleyways
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Top floor
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Remnant infrastructure
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From the rooftops
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Neighbouring buildings viewed from the lift room
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Stairway at Gawler Place entrance
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Gawler Place entrance.  There used to be a coffee shop/restaurant here
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Stairs from the old coffee shop
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2010 The New New, CACSA Contemporary installation
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2010 The New New, CACSA Contemporary installation
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Ground Floor
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North Terrace entrance.  Downstairs leads to the old food court
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Ground floor – at the North Terrace entrance
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Looking into the neighbouring laneway
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Lift room
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City Views
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Part of the old G&R Wills building fronting North Terrace
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Second Floor
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Second Floor
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Stripped Out
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First Floor
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Third Floor
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Fourth Floor
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Basement – the old food court was down here
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Basement
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Basement.  The old food court
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10 thoughts on “Urban Exploration – Adelaide’s Forgotten Arcade: The Gallerie

  1. Worked for G&R Wills in this building in the Manchester department which was in the basement until the building was sold and moved with them to Marion Rd Marleston (where Beaumont tiles is now). Remember the old building very well.

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  2. I feel that I should remember this place and I’m sure I would have visited it back in the day. How sad that I can’t recall it, even with the help of the photos. Although, I am wondering if this was where Julius’ was because I remember those awesome hotdogs!

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  3. It opened in very early 1980s , was heavily advertised on TV and sounded and looked quite classy & upmarket. The David Jones of arcades.
    I too, forgot about the Gallerie as I lived in Melbourne during the 2000s. Upon visiting Adelaide a few times around 2009-12 I noticed how many buildings were vacant ( inc the – once full of gleaming tiles & marble + brass handrails – Gallerie.

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  4. My Mum used to work in a jewellery store here – where the photo is taken from inside an old shop with the filing cabinet. Those photos are both haunting and nostalgic. I went to Tuxedo Cat a couple of times for some parties and it gave me goosebumps (good ones!) being able to stand exactly where the shop was.

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    1. Yes IK. 25 years ago you’d most likely catch me at Eliza’s, in the basement, downing coffee & maybe a 20 tonne, 5 billion calorie lasagna ( god knows how I stayed in shape ?) I’m writing fiction about the resurrection of Adelaide ( & I don’t mean as student accommodation) CHEERS! Though I like abandoned buildings most of all ( but that little fetish stays within this forum please.)

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