10 Things You Must See On North Terrace

By Tim Ashdown

Check the list, tick off the ones you’ve seen and make a date to see the ones you haven’t.

Mortlock Chamber, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide

1. Mortlock Chamber

The Mortlock Chamber opened in 1884 and you can kind of tell – in a good way. The vibe in here is so grand you almost wonder if you haven’t strayed into some secret part of the State Library of South Australia that is actually off limits to us regular Joes. But no, the chamber is definitely open to the public and it’s quite a sight. (Image: Ben Mammone)

A break away! by Tom Roberts, 1891 (Australia)

2. A break away! by Tom Roberts

This is one of the 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (only 1,000 to go!). Did the drover manage to save the sheep before it was too late? Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia and decide for yourself. (Image: Art Gallery of South Australia)

Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, South Australian Museum, Adelaide

3. Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery

We’re all for the internet, obviously, but there comes a time when you need to get out into the real world and see some amazing stuff. This gallery at the South Australian Museum features more than 3,000 artefacts Australia’s Aboriginal people used to adapt to some of the harshest conditions in the world.

Capriccio with ruins of the Roman Forum by Claude Lorrain, c.1634 (Rome)

4. Capriccio with ruins of the Roman Forum by Claude Lorrain

Check out this idyllic painting at the Art Gallery of South Australia and enjoy the serenity, even just for a second – before your phone rings again and the kids start screaming. (Image: Art Gallery of South Australia)

State Library of South Australia, Adelaide

5. Treasures Wall

An ancient clay tablet and a Grand Prix poster from 1985. These two past pieces from the State Library’s Treasures Wall pretty much sum up how wide ranging this collection is. It’s basically a revolving display of interesting-ness.

Colonel William Light's original plan of Adelaide, The Migration Museum, South Australia

6. Light’s Plan of Adelaide

If you’ve ever felt like Adelaide is a well planned city, that’s because it is. And here’s the proof: Colonel William Light’s original plan of Adelaide at the Migration Museum. It was used to encourage investors to buy property in Adelaide, so it could also be one of our first examples of a real estate brochure! (Image: Migration Museum)

Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia

7. Identity documents

Imagine it’s 1949 and you live in Latvia. You want to come to Australia but you’re worried you won’t be allowed if authorities discover your real job in Latvia was ‘musician’. What do you do? You do exactly what Karlis Cinitis did – pretend you’re an engineer and you get a job at the Holden plant in Woodville. This is just one of the stories told in these fascinating documents at the Migration Museum.

Adelaide Festival Centre, South Australia

8. Vibrant Festivals

Ok, so the Adelaide Festival Centre technically isn’t on North Terrace, but it’s so close we’re including it anyway. As well as touring performers and the Adelaide Festival of Arts, there’s a solid lineup of festivals that use the centre – Adelaide Cabaret Festival, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide International Guitar Festival and Come Out Children’s Festival.

Sidney Nolan’s Rainbow Serpent, Adelaide Festival Theatre, South Australia

9. Sidney Nolan’s Rainbow Serpent

In the rush to get to your seat at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, it’s surprisingly easy to miss the giant rainbow serpent slithering up each side of the theatre's staircase. The best way to view it is from a distance so you can see the snaking wave of colour and light. (Image: Sir Sidney Nolan, ‘Rainbow Serpent’. Photo by Mick Bradley)

South Australian Museum, Adelaide

10. First Life fossils

The Ediacaran Period happened more than 550 million years ago and its resting place is South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. The First Life gallery at the South Australian Museum includes specimens, animations and models of fossils from this important site.

For more information and a map, check out Adelaide’s Cultural Precinct brochure.

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