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South Australian School of Art (SASA) History Project

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Class, Exhibition Building, 1963The School of Art, Architecture and Design is undertaking a History Project that will lead to a longer-term initiative - a general history of the South Australian School of Art.

See also Friends of the South Australian School of Art

Background to the project

In 2006 the South Australian School of Art (SASA) celebrated its 150th anniversary. In 1856 the School was inaugurated as part of the South Australian Society of Arts, an organisation that included, in embryonic form, most of the major cultural institutions now situated along Adelaide's North Terrace: the State Library of South Australia, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the Adelaide School of Arts.

During its long history the South Australian School of Art has had a number of names and locations. These names include the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts; the School of Design; the School of Arts and Design; the South Australian School of Art; and currently the School of Art, Architecture and Design (amalgamated with the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design).

The School has been variously located in the Exhibition Building on North Terrace, at Stanley Street North Adelaide in the 1960s and 1970s, at Underdale campus as part of the South Australian College of Advanced Education (1970s and 1980s), and during the 1990s as part of the University of South Australia. In 2005 the School relocated to the City West campus of the University of South Australia.


About the project

The SASA History Project consists of two parts:

  1. development of a bibliography of archival material relating to the history of the School
  2. publication of a volume specifically examining a key decade in the School's history when it was located in Stanley Street, North Adelaide, during the 1960s and 1970s. This was a particularly vibrant and influential period for the School.


The bibliography will source historical material relating to SASA from 1856 to the present day. Much of this material is held in private collections. In order to preserve these historical records for current and future research, the types and location of this material needs to be documented.

These records of the location of specific materials will be collated and held at the School. The records will be made available to the University and State Library of South Australia archives. This material will be an invaluable resource for developing a general history of the School of Art and for the more immediate part of the project, the publication.


The publication will comprise a number of essays discussing aspects of the South Australian School of Art when it was located at Stanley Street, North Adelaide. It will draw on historical material and interviews with staff, students and friends who shaped this period of the School's history during the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr Pamela Zeplin leads the steering group managing this part of the project, and is supported by a committee which includes Jack Cross, Jack Condous, Ann Mather, Alb Smith, Max Lyle, Barrie Goddard, Tony Bishop, Geoff Wilson, Ron Corso, Virginia Jay, Ann Newmarch, John Copeland and Denice Daou.

The publication will bring together many voices and points of view to reflect upon the diverse achievements and general influence of the School, its staff, students and graduates at a time of great political and social change.


How you can help

To complete this project, the School of Art requires your assistance to identify and document where valuable material relating to the School's history is currently held. Please use either the print or online form to notify the School.

Please note: At this stage, because of limited space and resources, only records of material (not the material itself) in your possession, or of which you are aware, are required.

Print form

Download Word doc (78kb) or RTF file (754kb)

Please complete the form and return to the School by post, marked 'SASA History Project':

School of Art, Architecture and Design
University of South Australia
GPO Box 2471
Adelaide SA 5001

Online form

Complete and submit the online form