The hotels and drinking establishments covered in my heritage pub trail (crawl) review all had one thing in common. They were in operation and awaited your business.

I am delighted to report that the Port Admiral Hotel which closed in 2006 and has lain derelict ever since has been renovated and it opened for business again in November 2017. It should certainly be added to your trail (or, as the case may be, crawl). Lest you wonder, my attached pictures of the hotel are in its pre-renovated state!

I draw special attention to the Port Admiral Hotel as it is the oldest surviving building in Port Adelaide. It was built in 1849 – and originally called the Railway Hotel (even though there was no railway in Port Adelaide until 1856). Its name changed to the Port Admiral Hotel in 1851, five years prior to the current Railway Hotel opening in 1856 on St Vincent Street, across the road from the original Port Adelaide Railway Station. The former railway station is now the police station and to complete the picture what was formerly the police station is now the tourist office. Hope you got that!

If you have read my review – Have the buildings really sunk? – you will be aware that the ground level in Port Adelaide was raised over the years so the Hotel’s original ground floor now forms part of its basement. Basically the streets and vacant ground was filled in in the 1870s to raise Port Adelaide out of a mosquito infected swamp.

The Hotel’s most recent claim to fame, apart from shutting down and reopening, was as a setting in the 2001 Australian movie Black and White, starring Robert Carlyle.


Around the corner from the Hotel in Carlton Street is the hotel’s former coach house (picture three) where one would have parked ones horse! As noted in my heritage pub trail (crawl) tip, the capacity to accommodate horses was a requirement of the 1839 South Australian liquor licensing laws one of which stated that a publican was required to provide for:

“..a traveller and his horse, or a traveller without a horse, the horse of a traveller not becoming a guest of the house …or any corpse which may be brought to his public house for the purpose of a Coroner’s inquest.”

Any publican not providing such a service was committing an offence and liable to be fined up to 20 pounds.

In terms of accommodating corpses, I cannot say if the Coroner’s inquest on a Mr Taylor was or was not undertaken at the hotel. I can certainly confirm he died there-in in December 1868 of suspected self inflicted poisoning though the Coroner was unable to confirm the cause of death. In addition to leaving some poetry he had written especially for the occasion the thoughtful Mr Taylor sought to ensure that the hotel (and its owner Mr Yeo) was not financially inconvenienced by his demise. He left a note:

“Mr. Yeo—Telegraph to N. Sowton, auctioneer, Auburn. He is my agent, and will defray expenses. Richard H. Taylor.”

The former coach house has been very tastefully renovated and now houses an art gallery/shop which was closed when I visited. You might notice a circular metal wheel like thing on the sidewall of the old coach house. This is the cap of a tie rod installed some time after the building was constructed to keep the structure intact. Many of these old buildings were built on poor foundations – the whole area was a swamp after all.

Address: Corner Commerial Road and St Vincents Street
Directions: Directly across the road from the tourist office. Coach House around the corner and off St Vincents Street in Carlton Street

For my next PORT ADELAIDE review click HERE.
To start reading at the beginning of my PORT ADELAIDE reviews click HERE.



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