State Library closed Monday 5 October, Labour Day public holiday
The State Library's Walking Tours App allows you to explore six tours that connect our historical collections to the bustling city streets of Adelaide.
The State Library's Walking Tours app is free to download from:
Once you downloaded the app, you can choose which tour you'd like to take, below is a brief overview of each self-guided tour on offer:
Adelaide, City of Light and City of Churches, is known for its quiet country atmosphere and beautiful parks. But there is also a history of darkness in the City of Light. Nineteenth and early twentieth century Adelaide newspapers were filled with reports of crime, vice, violence and scandal.
This tour focuses on dark and notorious deeds in the city’s inner West End from the 1830s to the 1950s. The slums and factories long gone, the area now boasts clean pleasant streets of businesses, restaurants, apartments and restored cottages. For many decades however it was home to the poor, the discontent and the desperate. In a world without welfare support, many turned to crime to survive. Working class and unemployed lived in crowded slum conditions close to abattoirs, factories and breweries. The area was notorious for its many low-grade pubs, illegal gambling houses, opium dens and abortionists. Lurk merchants, bludgers and larrikins worked the streets and pubs, looking for the next mark, or their next meal. Pimps, prostitutes, thugs, thieves and con artists plied their trade, side by side with struggling workers' families.
Because many were barely literate, few records of their lives and thoughts exist. Apart from newspaper reports, council and police records, very few traces remain. But revisiting their old haunts reminds us of those who lived life hard in the spaces we now walk so lightly. We hope you enjoy your walk on the dark side.
For more photographs and information related to this walking tour, visit our Darkness in the City of Light library guide.
Discover plaques and sculptures that highlight some of the key people and events that shaped the development of democracy in South Australia on a self-guided walking tour.
John Dowie AM is possibly South Australia's most renowned sculptor. The State Library's Dowie's Adelaide walking tour will give you the opportunity to see a selection of his sculptures that can be found in the city of Adelaide. You can also view the photographs from the tour on our Flickr.
The State Library of South Australia's Lost Adelaide walking tour highlights historical aspects of the city, allowing you to travel through time at your own pace. The tour features snapshots of lost buildings in Adelaide. Compare historical photos from the Library's rich collections to the architecture of today.
For more photographs and videos related to this walking tour, visit our Lost Adelaide library guide.
The West End of Adelaide was settled soon after the arrival of the first colonists in 1836. It was a mainly working class residential area serviced by shops, small businesses and industry.
This walking tour covers the main shopping, business and entertainment precinct of Hindley Street and Currie Street up to Morphett Street. It also covers the industrial area of Hindley and Currie Streets from beyond Morphett Street to West Terrace. For more photographs and information related to this walking tour, visit our Lost Adelaide: West End library guide.
The State Library's Significant South Australians walking tour of Adelaide's North Terrace plaques and statues will introduce you to some exceptional people who have shaped South Australia's history.
To mark the Centenary of Anzac a special tour War Memorials of Adelaide: WWI has been created to bring together many city sites specific to that conflict.
This self-guided walking tour will take you on a journey of monuments, memory and emotion. The tour starts in the foyer of the State Library on North Terrace where a small plaque commemorates the service of Library, Museum and Art Gallery staff in World War I and after visiting memorials to the sacrifice of South Australian men and women in more than a century of conflict concludes with the War Horse Memorial on East Terrace.