The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd (CML) first began operating in Melbourne in 1873. By the 1930s, CML had embarked upon a construction program across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, which included the CML Adelaide building, establishing a building style so unique, it would be recognised as a society building wherever it was situated in the world.
The original architects who led this building project were ‘Hennessy, Hennessy & Co’, a pioneering father and son 19th century architectural firm of John Francis (Jack) Hennessy Snr. and John Francis (Jack) Hennessy Jnr. The family originated from Cork, Ireland. The HENNESSY Rooftop Bar is named after these original architects, and opened within the Mayfair Hotel in December 2015.
The Adelaide building was constructed in two stages: the first building facing King William Street was completed in 1934 and the adjoining building facing Hindley Street in 1936.
Created in what was described as ‘a colourful interpretation of the Romanesque Style,’ the building’s unusual design, lead by Hennessy, Hennessy & Co. The design features include: the early use of artificial stone (know as Benedict Stone), deeply pitched roman tiled mansard roofs, an ornately detailed lift tower, parapeted façades and projecting gargoyles and flagpoles.
The building’s external form was added to the State Heritage Register on April 5, 1984.
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