History of The Science Exchange
The Stock Exchange was designed by architects H.E. Fuller and Hedley A. Dunn and is one of the few remaining Federation/Edwardian style buildings in Adelaide.The project was tendered in August 1900 and the contract let to a leading builder of the time, Walter Torode. It was opened in 1901 to commemorate Australian Federation.
The building was damaged by two fires – one in the 1930s and another in the 1980s – and was subsequently refitted. As a result, the original grand spaces were reduced to a series of small box-like offices and the architectural volumes distorted by the installation of suspended ceilings. Despite serious damage in one area, overall the original timber ceilings were in reasonably good condition.
Many of the original light fittings, ornate door and window hardware (window sash pulls, handles, escutcheon plates and push plates) have been retained and reused.
A Symbol of the Past and Future
Located between Grenfell and Pirie Streets in the city just east of King William Street, the old Stock Exchange is a significant heritage building. Used as a stock exchange from 1901-1991, the opening of the RiAus returns it as a public building where once stocks and shares were traded into a centre for the trading of ideas.
In reshaping the building as a creative hub for science awareness activities in the state, including the RiAus Programs, the Australian Science Media Centre and Science Outside the Square, the transformation has re-opened spaces that had been closed up in previous renovations.
There is a powerful symbolism in the building’s restoration: we can only shape our future by understanding our past. The contrasting balance is reflected in the building’s design, with the western end being restored to its original 1901 status and the eastern end reflecting a contemporary space which addresses the world of information and communication technology.
The old Stock Exchange building, now reborn as The Science Exchange, is still an ‘exchange’ but now in the broadest possible sense. RiAus fosters debate, discussion and connections between cultures and disciplines, science and media, the public and academia and business and policy. The Science Exchange building offers a wide range of outstanding and versatile facilities for corporate functions, conferences or meetings in an ideal CBD location.
The Federation Window
Possibly the most notable feature of the Stock Exchange building is the large Morris and Company stained glass window that overlooks the main staircase.
Commissioned by George Brookman, the Federation window was donated by Brookman to the Adelaide Stock Exchange, where it was installed in 1902. It was subsequently a gift of Javier and Arantza Moll to the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2007.
The six-panel Federation window was designed by John Henry Dearle and includes three panels on the upper register after designs of the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The three large stained-glass panels designed by Dearle depict the British Empire united by Britannia. The life-size figures from left to right are personifications of Australia, India, Britannia, Africa and Canada. The figures on the top register, from left to right, are personifications of Morning, Sun and Evening.
The Federation window is the earliest and finest of Adelaide’s many Morris & Company windows.