14 June 2016

An Adelaide hotel, Lionel Logue and the future King George VI

At a conference in South Australia in 2014, I went on a tour of Burn­side, a small village in eastern Adelaide. The guide book noted that Burnside became a primarily upper-middle class residential suburb and was one of the first suburbs of Adelaide. Thus there are many grand historic homes still standing, most having impressive views of the city.

The Burnside Council was first established in 1856, having its meetings in the Green Gate Inn. Yet even as late as 1883, the village only contained 45 houses, and a number of shops including a bakery, a hotel and two churches. In that same year, the Adelaide and Suburban Tram Company extended its Kensington horse tram service from Marryatville through to Knightsbridge along Glynburn Road to Burnside. A tramway shed stood on the North Western corner of Greenhill and Glynburn Roads.

Burnside's Old Council Chambers, built in 1869 
photographed after WW1.

The original Burnside Inn stood on land now known as 27 and 29 High Street, and was built for Mrs Francis Clark and sons in 1863. 

From 1865 the small, brick Inn was managed and later owned by Henry Warland. The Warland family must have been financially astute - Henry also ran a blacksmith shop and had a passenger and mail coach that travelled from Burnside to the City. Burnside Inn was an important venue for election meetings and community gatherings. It also served travellers making the steep journey up Greenhill Road to the hills. Lastly we must mention a subdivision in the village which took place in 1877; Henry Warland, who had purchased three lots in 1850, subdivided them into 38 lots.

Replacing the old Burnside Inn, a two-storey stone and red-brick building was constructed in 1883 as the Burnside Hotel at 33 High St. Bought by brewers Edmeades and Co., the new hotel traded from 1884-1909 when it became shops, flats and a private residence. In the late 1980s the stables at the rear were demolished. This building is recorded on the State Heritage Register.

A record exists of all heritage plaques that were installed by cooperation of the Burnside Historical Society and the City of Burnside, starting in 1989. The Burnside Village plaque was placed on the Old Burnside Hotel in 2001. 


Last week I unexpectedly saw the old Burnside Hotel again, in a real estate article in the Weekend Australian Magazine. This house, which was renovated in 1980 and for sale in 2016, has 7 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, grand formal rooms with high ceilings, intricate cornices, open fireplaces, gorgeous lead lighting, a wine cellar and a coach-house. Since the 1980 renovation, the relatively simple architecture of the ground floor has provided quite separate housing from the more complex architecture of the first floor.

The Old Burnside Hotel 
renovated in 1980.

What caught my attention was the Old Burnside Hotel’s connection to Lionel Logue (1880-1953) and the Duke of York, the future King George VI (1895-1952). Lionel Logue was born in Adelaide. His Irish grandfather, Edward Logue, set up Logue's Brewery in 1850 which, after Edward's death in 1868, merged with the South Australian Brewing Company. Lionel’s father, George Logue, worked at this family brewery and later became licensee of both the Burnside Hotel and "Elephant and Castle Hotel" in the City. George also founded the Adelaide Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society in 1876, and performed on stage regularly.

So Lionel Logue lived in the gorgeous Burnside Hotel because his father George was the publican. The family had made its fortune in the brewery business and young Lionel was living the Good Adelaide Life. He was a pupil at classy Prince Alf­red College (1889-1896), played club football on weekends and studied music at the Elder Conserv­ator­ium. Just as George had been very active in drama and music, Lionel too loved the theatre and appeared in many local productions.

A performing career of some sort seemed inevitable for the lad who had watched his father participating in recitals and plays. And so it was. After his father George died in Nov 1902, Lionel set up his own practice as a teacher of elocution. By 1904, he seemed to be doing well.

Lionel Logue later developed treatments for Australian war ex-servicemen whose speech had been damaged by WW1 shell-shock. In 1924 he took the family to the UK where he taught elocution at schools around London. In 1926, Logue opened a speech-defect practice in fancy Harley Street. This was where he met the Prince Albert Duke of York, a royal who dreaded public speaking because of a horrid stammer. The Duke’s speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1925 had been a nightmare.

Dr Lionel Logue, oral instructor to King
Australian Women's Weekly, September 1937

Logue's treatment helped the Duke avoid tension-induced muscle spasms. By 1927, the stuttering royal successfully managed a speech given at the opening of Parliament House in Canberra. Needless to say Logue continued to help Prince Albert rehearse for all his major speeches, his coronation as King George VI, and his radio broadcasts to the war-torn British Empire.

If there is anyone on earth who has not seen the film The King’s Speech (2010), I would recommend they focus on the role played by Geoffrey Rush as Adelaide’s own lad, Lionel Logue. And his princely patient, played by Colin Firth.


Ex-pat said...

Demanding that the Duke of York make complex public speeches was hideous for Albert and his wife, and worse still for his audience. In the film at least. Royal was rigid and harmful.

Andrew said...

How intriguing. Hard to believe the film was released six years ago. I have not heard of Burnside in Adelaide. It sounds like it is an historic place and worth investigating.

Train Man said...

Burnside has a series of seven interesting self-guided historical walks. If you are energetic, each one is up to seven ks in length and takes up to three hours to complete.

bazza said...

Hi Hels. As I was reading through this I thought "This seems like an interesting story; I wonder if Logue is someone who became famous?" Then it began to dawn on me who he was. I enjoyed the way that you didn't charge in with the film and then tell the story - very suspenseful! On my only visit to Australia in 2012 I didn't get to Adelaide but my wife, Leah, and I said we would do Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne (again) next time!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hels said...


I also don't know what the royal family was thinking :( There were plenty of roles that the Duke of York could have fulfilled very satisfactorily. Forcing him to do public speeches, especially on radio, was an absurd decision.

Hels said...


Because NSW and Tasmania had the oldest settlements in Australia, we tend to consider that all interesting early buildings would be in those two states alone. But the more I have examined gold rush architecture from 1951 on, for example, the more I think we should be looking at towns outside NSW and Tasmania. You loved Fremantle in WA and that was first settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829.

I must say that Burnside was a real surprise to me too.

Hels said...

Train Man

As long as the printed booklets to help people on self guided walks are good, a person can go at their own pace. I will only walk two hours without a break, so if it is a three hour tour, I am perfectly happy taking a break in the middle and having a chilled white wine in the sunshine. As long as the pub is part of the architecture I am examining, of course :)

I found booklets for the tours you mentioned at:

Hels said...


email me before you are on your way to Australia next time :)

Every state capital in fascinating but Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne are special.
a] these three capitals were cities built for free citizens, not convicts.
b] they were built according to clear town planning principles, and did not grow up higgledy piggledy like Sydney and Hobart did. And
c] the three southern cities are hot and very very dry in our summer, whereas Sydney and Brisbane are wayyyyyyyy too humid in our summer.

Parnassus said...

Hello Hels, The Burnside Hotel is a handsome building. In Cleveland, there are a number of attractive older suburbs, but I don't think that any of them had a hotel as part of their original equipment. The houses were large, and I guess that the idea was that people could house their own guests. I do like the idea of turning an old hotel into a single-family residence--finally, a place with enough rooms for me and all my collections!

Cindy said...

Hello Hels,
You make history so interesting and I love all the old photos. Very fun to visit your site from BC.

Hels said...


The grand old houses from the mid-late 19th century could be very large and plush indeed! And this could have been because families were huge, visitors could stay in splendid comfort for long weekend parties, staff needed their own bedrooms and bathrooms, horses needed spacious stabling etc etc. The irony is that only some 5% of the population lived in splendour while the rest lived in either decent enough middle class houses and flats, or in squalid working class cramped conditions.

Examine and enjoy the photos and floor plans in The Daily Mail - tons of room for your collections! http://preview.tinyurl.com/gvrq8ad

Hels said...


welcome! The only problem with modern photos is that we lose track of all the renovations and changes that occurred in the decades since 1863. Not that I blame the series of owners for not preserving the original architecture and/or interior decor. Especially if the original hotel was ever used later on as a school, hospital, army base during the 1914-18 war, orphanage or psychiatric residence.

Parnassus said...

Hello again, Thanks for the link to the hotel photos. I agree with your comments to Cindy, but I still think that the hotel was a little over-restored on the inside. Even if all the original plaster and architectural features had to go, the current state does not look like a part of Adelaide's Victorian history, or even very much like an old building. Especially when considering the quality of the exterior restoration. --Jim

Roz Laws said...

Sometimes stammers are a matter of confidence and trust.

Michael Morpurgo wrote War Horse in 1976 when a boy from inner city Birmingham visited his Farms For City Children charity in Devon. Billy had been in several foster homes. He was so withdrawn and tormented by a stammer that at the age of seven he had given up speaking. His teachers told Morpurgo not to ask Billy any questions, as he never spoke.

One night Morpurgo found Billy in the stable in his slippers, talking 19 to the dozen to a horse called Hebe. Billy had found his self-confidence and courage in his love for this horse. The words were simply flowing from the mouth of an otherwise mute child.

Hels said...


Agreed. Mostly alterations don't matter in the overall scheme of things. Owners renovate and re-decorate as they need to, depending on the changing size and changing income of the family. Plus changing communal fashions, of course.

But when the entire village is heritage-protected, I imagine the expectations for individual homes and businesses must be much higher.

Hels said...


Thank you. People must have assumed serious speech problems were due to physical defects and disease, not to psychological issues. But as your example has shown, and as Lionel Logue proved, even people with severe stammers could enjoy normal speech in some situations.

Mandy Southgate said...

Isn't The King's Speech a great film? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I love stories about Australia and South Africa from the last 100-150 years. Take Europe and you're dealing with empires and royal houses at that time but our little Southern Hemisphere towns were often little more than outposts at that time.

Hels said...


me too. I wrote my theses largely about the 17th and early 18th centuries in Europe, and assumed I would lecture forever in that era. But increasingly it has become obvious that the colonial and post-colonial history of the New World is worth examining closely *sigh*... I must be a bit slow.

Burn­side, a small village/suburb in eastern Adelaide, might not be the most famous place on earth but it showed all the key issues we would be interested in: late Victorian town-planning, architecture, educational facilities, religious facilities, women's suffrage, public transport, alcohol and temperance etc etc