Notwithstanding a current and very welcome revival, Semaphore’s golden years as a seaside resort was undoubtedly the 1920s and so it was that in 1922 the Fricker Brothers constructed this building as a beach kiosk, bathing pavilion and dance hall – the Semaphore Palais & Cafe. While reports have it that two thirds of Adelaide’s population attended the opening of the Palais, this seems rather exaggerated though the crowd would have been big given the popularity of Semaphore at the time.
The bathing pavilion on the ground floor offered lockers and showers, as well as the hire of bathing costumes, beach shelters, etc. The first floor housed the café, tearooms and dance hall.
In 1940 the then lessee Leonard Northey, renamed it the Maris Palais and painted it white with green trim but was forced to change the colour to khaki during World War II because of fears of a Japanese invasion.
By the late 1960s the Palais had lost its former glory and for many years, the reinforced concrete, art deco structure stood vacant and its condition deteriorated. It was renovated in the early 1990s (following a fire), maintaining its distinctive 1920s architectural style, and reopened as the Semaphore Palais Hotel & Function Centre since which it has once again become “the” place to go in Semaphore.
I do especially like the view of the Palais from the seaside. My first picture is taken from the Jetty with the Palais looking very majestic and appearing to rise out of the sand dunes – very Arabian Nightish, don’t you think?
In addition to its nightclub and pokies offerings this is a great place to enjoy a meal, sip a wine (or whatever else takes your fancy) and watch the sunset over the Gulf Saint Vincent.
Address: Beach end of Semaphore Road