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History of the State Library of South Australia: Institute Building

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

Anne and Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre

The Hetzel Lecture Theatre is located on the ground floor of the Institute Building. It was named in 2006 for husband and wife team Anne and Basil Hetzel who were patrons of the State Library of South Australia Foundation during the years 2001-03, which was the most vital fundraising period during the State Library Building Redevelopment program.

Basil Hetzel AC has made a significant worldwide contirubtion to medicine and to various South Australian academic and cultural institutions. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide in the 1940s and decided that medical research was his passion. He is best known for uncovering the effects of iodine deficiency on the functioning of the thyroid gland and promoting a worldwide campaign to incorporate iodized salt into the diet of two billion people in 130 countries who live in areas that put them at risk.

Among his many awards and achievements he was Lieutenant Governor of South Australia 1992-2000, was named by the National Trust as a National Living Treasure in 2004 and had the 2005 Adelaide Festival of Ideas dedicated to him. As Chair of the University of South Australia Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre 1998-2007, Dr Hetzel embraced the Centre agenda to promote public understanding of the issues which shape Australian identity and civil society. The website of the Bob Hawke Centre gives an insightful overview of his life. Dr Hetzel gave the ABC Boyer Lecture in 1971 under the title 'Life and health in Australia'. Among his books in the State Library's collection is Health and Australian society, published in 1974 and Chance and commitment: memoirs of a medical scientist, published in 2005.

Anne Hetzel OAM spent her childhood in Rhodesia, studying music at the Guildhall in London. She married Charles Fisher and moved with their six children from England to Rhodesia to Australia, where she went to university. After her husband's death in a car accident she worked as a teacher and with the Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen and his wife in Canberra, where she met Basil Hetzel and became his second wife. Anne supported Basil's work with iodine deficiency, travelling to mainly third world countries, and developing a love of art and textiles. She published A traveller's needle in 2001 and is a member of the Embroiderers' Guild.

Institute Building

B 10391
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The Institute Building is the western building in the State Library complex of three buildings, and was built for the South Australian Institute. The building now houses the Directorate, the Morgan Thomas Suite, the Friends of the State Library of South Australia, the Royal South Australian Society of Arts, Adelaide Circulating Library, and the Anne and Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre.

The Institute Building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue is one of Adelaide's most charming heritage buildings. It was built for the South Australian Institute which was established in 1856. It was designed by the Colonial Architect Edward Hamilton.  

Des Ross Room

The Des Ross Room is located on Level 1 of the Institute Building. It was named the Des Ross Room in December 2008 for a former Chairman of the Libraries Board of South Australia who was a strong supporter of community engagement for libraries.

Desmond Glyn Ross AM was Chairman of the Libraries Board of South Australia from 1987 to 1995 and led an extremely active life as a successful farmer in the lower mid-north of South Australia, serving the community throughout his life at the local, city, state and national level. He was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia on 26 January 1986 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to local government. At the national level Des became a founding board member of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation. He was President of the Local Government Association of South Australia from 1984 to 1986 whilst simultaneously serving as President of the Australian Local Government Associations for which he fostered the establishment of a permanent centre for Local Government in Canberra. The Board Room in Canberra is named The Des Ross Room in recognition of his efforts. He represented Australia at various international and local government conferences. Des served at all levels of local government from 1966 to 1987, as a member and sometime chairman of the Owen and Wakefield Plains District Councils. He was Commissioner on the Animal and Plant Control Commission from 1979 to 1996, and Chairman of the Flinders Ranges Management Review Committee from 1987 to 1990. He played a crucial role in the hills community when he was appointed Administrator of the District Council of Stirling in 1990 after the tragedy of the 1983 bushfires and the immense challenges for the council to rebuild. The state government turned to Des as the best person to help the healing process and help the council and community move forward. He was inaugural chairman of Peter Lehmann Wines Ltd from 1993 to 1999 and guided its progress for its first six and a half years as a public company.

Des Ross Road was named after him in the Wakefield Council area in 2002. Des's interests were varied and his name is associated with a number of community organisations. He has an annual race named after him at Balaklava Racing Club as a long serving committee member and a life member of the Racing Club. At Scotch College he excelled in football and athletics, anchored the senior debating team, held the rank of sergeant in the cadet unit, and was a school and house prefect. Scotch Colleg now awards The Des Ross Memorial Prize for Leadership and Service to the Boarding Community. Des loved football and was a Mail Medallist for the Owen Football Club in the Adelaide Plains League for five seasons in the 1950s and runner-up several times. He was a member of Lions Clubs International for 33 years.

Morgan Thomas Suite

The Morgan Thomas Suite of rooms is located on Level 1 of the Institute Building and is used by the library as office spaces. It was named for Dr Morgan Thomas as part of the library redevelopment, and more information on him and his bequest is available in the Benefactors and donated collections Library Guide.