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West End Brewery: More than 160 Years of Brewing History


State Library of South Australia: A horse drawn wagon advertising West End brewery products, during an Eight Hours Day celebration.



During the 19th century, Adelaide was making considerable progress, and the population of the colony had grown to more than 300,000. There was tangible growth in the culture and social sophistication of the city, including the establishment of a university, museum, art gallery and library. As the colony grew, so did the breweries. There was no lack of bright-eyed brewers and they were all fighting to create the state’s beer of choice.

State Library of South Australia: Panorama of the West End Brewery, Hindley Street, c.1888

The West End Brewery opened in Hindley Street in 1859 as Adelaide’s 14th brewery. It was established by William Simms, before a takeover in 1888. Robert Stock, the first Chairman of The South Australian Brewing Company Limited, conceived the idea of an organisation to combine the activities of the Kent Town Brewery of Sir Edwin Smith; the West End Brewery, of William Simms; and the wine and spirit business of William Rounsevell and Alfred Simms. Founded as the South Australian Brewing, Malting, Wine and Spirit Company in 1888, six years later the wine and spirits experiment ended and the South Australian Brewing Company was born.

State Library of South Australia: West End Brewery with the Bottling Department at right and horse drawn delivery drays standing by on 8 December 1925.
Wikimedia Commons: West End Brewery, Adelaide, in 1925


State Library of South Australia: Standing in front of the West End Brewery are some of the workers with three ‘management’ men in dark jackets, the centre of whom with the shiny top hat is possibly Mr Poulden.

In 1938 The South Australian Brewing Company purchased its only remaining formidable competitor, the Walkerville Co-operative Brewing Company Limited. This acquisition gave the SA Brewing Company 90 per cent of the state’s beer trade and almost complete domination of the state’s brewing industry. Brewing continued at the Walkerville Brewing Company’s brewery at Southwark, which was renamed the Nathan Brewery branch of the SA Brewing Company. By 1892, all production was moved to the Southwark site, which became known as the West End Brewery, Thebarton, and the West End Brewery premises in Hindley Street were demolished in 1983.

ExperiTour: West End Brewery, Thebarton, 2018.

With more than 160 years of brewing history, the SA Brewing Company/West End was iconically South Australian, supporting many local sporting clubs and providing the public with the popular annual Brewery Christmas Lights. The upcoming auction at Scammells continues this support, with all proceeds to be distributed to charity through the West End Community Fund.

Statement provided by Lion:

“Launched in January 2009, the West End Community Fund (WECF) was established to assist the communities in which many South Australian people live, work, develop and grow. It is WECF’s vision that the Fund will assist communities that have an urgent need or by providing grants for projects that will improve the lifestyle of a community. From time to time funds may be used for projects created or supported by Lion SA/WECF.”

The Advertiser: The banks of the River Torrens next to what was then Southwark Brewery, now West End. Before (1958) and after (1960) the Christmas display began.


Did you know?


The black and red colours of South Australian Brewing Company came about after West Adelaide Football Club (black and red) defeated Port Adelaide in the 1911 South Australian National Football League grand final. Perhaps these colours would be different if an alternate team had won!

Wikimedia Commons:1911 West Adelaide Championship of Australia team



Cudmore, Michael. & South Australian Brewing Company. 1988, History of the South Australian Brewing Company Limited / compiled by Michael Cudmore for the South Australian Brewing Company Limited South Australian Brewing Company Therbarton [S. Aust.]

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