The Fascinating History of Beehive Corner

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 05/14/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

“Meet you at the beehive corner”

This is a popular phrase spoken amongst locals in Adelaide City looking for a central meeting spot.

It refers to a corner and landmark in the centre of Adelaide on the north-eastern corner of King William and Rundle Streets. It sits in the middle of the train station and the city’s bustling shopping precinct.


The history of the landmark is a fascinating one, dating back to October 1849. Tailors Brewer and Robertson opened a draper’s shop called the The Beehive. J.V.B. Ryley ran the shop from 18-50 to 1858. Following this, Israel Simmons, kept it running right up until 1886. This was when the economic downturn took place and many owners lost their businesses.

Supposedly, the shop was decorated with a beehive motif on the glass door. The bee is rendered in gold leaf, a particularly flashy and exuberant touch at the time. As people rush around the trading centre, they hum in the same way bees do. This is why you will find many references to bees here.


Today, Beehive Corner remains one of the most popular and recognised landmarks and buildings in the city. Sitting proudly on the corner of busy streets, it boasts a unique corner turret that appears to take on the shape of a beehive. At the top of the turret, there is a lone, gold bee.

The building that sits on the corner now was built between 1895 and 1896. The design by George Klewitz Soward and Thomas English was created especially for the building’s owner. Henry Martin, the owner, also had Soward and English design the buildings alongside the Tavistock Hotel on Rundle Street.

The Beehive Corner building draws on the Gothic Revival style, but also offers something a bit different. It showcases an incredible amount of intricate detail for a building erected around this time.

As well as displaying a fascinating design and harbouring a lengthy history, Beehive Corner is also a popular shopping hub, featuring a number of shops that decorate its edges. Visitors and local hotfoot it to this area to browse the selection of goods on offer, meet up with friends, and admire the incredible architecture on show.

If you find yourself in Adelaide City, Beehive Corner is well worth a look-in if you want to get a taste for the city’s urban history and to catch a glimpse of a solid gold bee.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.