Oh, the Delphiniums at Adelaide Hospital!

Adelaide Hospital Ward Block, 1920

At the beginning of the twentieth Century, the gardens of the Adelaide Hospital (North Terrace) were one of its most outstanding features. The attractive gardens occupied the frontage of North Terrace, however they slowly disappeared as the various new buildings were erected.


Adelaide Hospital and Gardens.The background shows the ‘new’ hexagonal styled theatre building as well as the main hospital buildings., Ca 1900

There was a wide expanse of well-kept lawns with flower beds and trees on either side of the main drive. The interior road ran from the front gate on North Terrace to the centre courtyard.

James Hansen, Head Gardener

Adelaide Observer, 9 February 1895

James Hansen was Head Gardener from 1890 to 1907. He lived on the hospital grounds with his family in the ‘Gardener’s Lodge’. The lodge was located just inside the main gate and demolished in 1932.

Gardener’s Lodge Ca 1900. James Hansen, his wife Bridget and some of his eleven children

The main entrance, which revealed a driveway, was facing North Terrace at the intersection with Frome Road. The driveway, taking a sweeping curve, ran in and behind a garden stretching along the Terrace as far as the Botanic Gardens fence. That garden in spring and summer months was always a delight to behold. In my earlier student days, I often rode in a tram which came along North Terrace from the eastern suburbs and nearly every year in those months the Adelaide Hospital garden was ablaze with colour. Magnificent dahlias, cosmos, delphiniums, hollyhocks, stretched back towards the main building, which was much as it was at the turn of the century.

Dr A Dudley Byrne (b1905-d2001), Honorary Gynaecologist, Oral History 1993
Adelaide Hospital and Gardens, Ca 1900
The Mail, 29 March 1919
Adelaide Hospital and Gardens, 1910

Written by Margot Way, CALHN Health Museum