This is a must visit for aficionados of Gothic Revival architecture and quality chocolates – as least one of which I suspect many of my discerning readers is!
When locals think of Beehive Corner, Adelaide’s busiest pedestrian intersection, they invariably think of Haigh’s chocolates, for good reason. They are delicious.
The corner building, constructed in 1895, is rather interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it is one of the few non-religious Gothic Revival buildings in Australia and, secondly, it has a beehive and bee on the top of it, or rather on top of a very ornate ornamental turret attached to the building. The bee weighs 45 kilograms and is made of aluminium gilded with gold.
Do lift your eyes from the ‘chocolate level’ to see the bee on its beehive and generally have a look at the beautiful and wonderfully detailed building which was most recently renovated in 1998.
One might conclude that the corner was named after the beehive atop the turret. Not so. The corner site has been known as the Beehive Corner since 1849 and was named after Messrs Brewer and Robertson’s drapery store – The Beehive – which opened that year in the forerunner to this building. The drapery store had a gold leaf beehive motif on its glass doors.
The building has another important claim to fame, being the building in which the first motion pictures seen in South Australia were screened in 1896, only 10 months after the Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière screened the world’s first motion pictures in Paris. It was another 12 years before Adelaide’s first permanent cinema, West’s Olympia, opened.
Haigh’s Chocolates, now Australia’s largest family run chocolate company employing over 500 people, has been on this site since 1915 and the shop here remains it flagship store.
Opening hours – Haigh’s Chocolates
Monday – Thursday 8:30am 6.00pm
Friday 8.30am 9.00pm
Saturday 9.00am 5.30pm
Sunday 10.30am 5.30pm
Address: 32 King William Street
Directions: On the corner of Rundle Mall – Haigh’s Chocolates’ entry is at No 2 Rundle Mall