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History of the State Library of South Australia: Artworks & memorials

Details the Library's interesting history from 1834, its buildings, legislation, Board membership, staff and exhibitions.

Robbie Burns statue

A statue of the Scottish people’s poet Robbie Burns was commissioned by the Caledonian Socity of South Australia and was unveiled on 5 May 1894 among the vast crowd on the north-west corner of the North Terrace/Kintore Avenue intersection, where the War Memorial now stands.

 

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Scottish farmer and poet Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire Scotland on 25 January 1759 and was voted the Greatest Scot by the Scottish people in 2009. On New Year's Eve throughout the world many people join hands at the stroke of midnight to welcome in the New Year with Robbie Burns' song Auld Lang Syne

The statue was moved in 1930 and placed beside the entrance to the Art Gallery. However, the Gallery Board of Governors thought the statue disrupted the symmetry of the Gallery's facade and after the Premier Sir Thomas Playford interceded, the statue was moved again in 1940 in front of the Library on North Terrace. As part of the Library redevelopment the statue was moved to its presnet location in the State Library forecourt.

The State Library environs

The State Library occupies a prime position on the North Terrace cultural boulevard at the intersection of Kintore Avenue. Several statues are landmarks in the city.

North Terrace lighting then and now

 

PRG 280-1-26-43
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In 1920 the buildings of Adelaide were floodlit for the visit of the 26 year old Edward, Prince of Wales, who later abdicated in 1936. From left along North Terrace can be seen the Robbie Burns statue (on the corner now occupied by the War Memorial), the Institute building, the Public Library building, and at the far right the dome belonging to the Exhibition Building, since demolished for the plaza at the University of Adelaide.

In 2010 the Institute Building was lit up as part of the Northern Lights project as part of the Adelaide Festival, along with other North Terrace cultural buildings.

King Edward VII statue

PRG 280/1/20/132
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Vast crowds gathered for the unveiling of the statue of King Edward VII in front of the Institute Building on 15 July 1920, attracted by the presence of the 26 year old Edward, Prince of Wales.