HTSA on the move

The SA History Trust will move into 77 Grenfell St over the coming weeks. Photo: Stephanie Richards/InDaily.

Stephanie Richards, History Trust on move during new home search, InDaily, 6 October 2022

The SA History Trust will temporarily move into a government office building on Grenfell Street while it searches for a new home, after the Malinauskas Government tore up a controversial deal for it to set up in heritage-listed Ayers House.

A government spokesperson told InDaily that the SA History Trust would move into a “temporary office space” at the Department for Infrastructure and Transport’s Grenfell Street building in coming weeks.

They said the History Trust would stay there until mid-next year while the department works with the organisation to find a longer-term home.

SA History Trust CEO Greg Mackie said the office space was “clearly not a suitable long-term solution”, but the move was necessary while he “actively pursues” an alternative permanent location.

“In a perfect world, temporary relocations are not efficient,” he said.

“We’ve been working very constructively with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport regarding a longer-term alternative, but I’m not in a position at this stage to identify its location.

“The practical reality of the supply chain and fit-out of a new location means that we couldn’t achieve that for the timing that we need to work with.”

It comes after Environment Minister Susan Close in April scrapped a controversial deal negotiated by the former Marshall Government to boot the National Trust from Ayers House.

The Marshall Government had planned to renovate the state heritage-listed building into a new office space for the government-run History Trust, whose current lease at the Torrens Parade Ground Drill Hall expires at the end of this month.

The decision prompted a bitter public dispute and legal proceedings, as the National Trust – a non-government-owned organisation – was originally given only 31 days to move out of the building which it had occupied since 1972.

At the time, Close said the government would review how the $6.6 million that was committed by the Liberals for the renovations would be spent, with the National Trust given the go-ahead to move back into the building which it was forced to vacate.

Mackie previously told InDaily that the History Trust would ideally like to move into a “prestigious state heritage-listed building” located on or near North Terrace.

At the time, he was considering the state heritage-listed Freemasons Hall on North Terrace as one of two potential new homes, citing the building’s proximity to Adelaide’s cultural institutions, universities and the central business district as drawcards.

But he told InDaily this week that it was longer possible for the Trust to move into the building while plans are underway to potentially convert it into a new Adelaide Museum of South Australia’s History.

“If that (the museum) were to come to pass – and I emphasise if – it would be subject to a whole range of processes, including the completion of a full business case for future consideration by government,” he said.

“The option for our headquarters couldn’t be that location simply because it would become – with or without a future Museum of South Australia’s History – a development site for a number of years.”

The History Trust will spend its last day at the Torrens Parade Ground Drill Hall this Friday.