This spectacular, but now demolished building on North Terrace was built to accommodate the Adelaide Jubilee Exhibition in celebration of the colony's fiftieth birthday in 1887. The grandeur of the building was a symbol of the colony's progress and booming economy before the recession of the late 19th century set in.
A competition for the design was organized. EA Scott who was articled to the firm of Bayer and Withall submitted the winning design. However this was considered too expensive and the committee chose instead Withall and Wells's design and appointed them as architects for the project.
The two storeyed building was in a formal classical style with stucco decorations. The semi-circular headed windows on each floor were separated by pilasters, and an imposing dome crowned the centre section. The only major difference between the completed building and Withall and Wells's drawing was that the three centre doors were protected by a portico with four pillars, or tetrastyle.
The building was finished in time for the June 1887 opening and the exhibition closed in June 1888. The building had various uses including the displaying of the first Model “A” Ford cars during the month of May 1928 before its demolition in 1962.
In Adelaide the Register news paper reported that 500 persons gathered outside the “Exhibition Building” before the display was due to open at 9.00 am on 15th May 1928. By 10.00 am the numbers had swelled to 1,000 and the total viewers by noon had reached 2,000. Between noon and 2.00 pm another 3,000 had passed through the doors, and again another large crowd entered in the evening.
Exhibition Building, North Terrace in which the Model A Ford was first placed on display in South Australia