SA's Crown & Anchor Hotel In Danger Of New Development Plans

30 March 2024 | 9:20 am | Mary Varvaris

"We want to see Adelaide develop and grow, but not at the expense of live music."

Camp Cope at the Crown & Anchor Hotel

Camp Cope at the Crown & Anchor Hotel (Credit: Kate Sansome)

Adelaide’s Crown & Anchor Hotel is in danger of being partially demolished and turned into student accommodation as a Singaporean developer eyes the iconic music venue for redevelopment.

The Crown & Anchor Hotel, affectionately dubbed The Cranker by locals, was established in 1853 and has long retained cultural heritage in Adelaide.

Last week, The Advertiser reported that the Singaporean developer, Wee Hur Holdings Ltd, plans to develop the land on 188 and 196 Grenfell Street into multi-storey student accommodation. Wee Hur Holdings Ltd is seeking planning permissions from the State Planning Commission.

According to the report, the developer has proposed “partial demolition and adaptive reuse” of the buildings listed and plots an “ancillary shop on the ground floor and associated amenities, services and landscaping.”

As The Note adds, the Crown & Anchor Hotel is heritage-listed but can be partially demolished as long as the façade is retained by a developer. At the time of publication, it’s unclear how the Crown & Anchor Hotel and other sites on Grenfell Street will be affected.

The South Australian developer, Karidis Corporation, purchased the hotel in 2016.

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Since the news of the Crown & Anchor Hotel’s future is in danger of development, over 11,400 people have signed a petition on to save the venue.

“If the application is successful, it is likely the Cranker will cease to exist as we know it,” the petition description reads. “The pub currently provides live music most nights of the week.”

The petition description, started by Protect Live Music, continues, “The Crown & Anchor Hotel, the Cranker, is more than just a building. It's a symbol of our community, our history, and our love for live music. This hotel has significant heritage value, and also an enormous value as a cultural site.

“It is a church to many. A safe haven, a discussion, a party, a listening ear, a teacher, a delightful ale. The hotel serves as a meeting place, a melting pot of society where people from all walks of life come together. Live music is our language.”

The venue’s proprietor, Tom SkipSkipper, provided a statement on Instagram after the news dropped, letting punters know where the Crown & Anchor stands.

“I don’t own the Crown & Anchor – I am its latest custodian, a role I don’t take lightly,” the statement reads. “Since it was first licensed in 1853, generations of South Australians have been part of its history, and we are determined to continue a tradition of cold beer, great friends and loud music.

“Our history is not just in our walls and floors. We are privileged to have had some of Australia’s best bands, including Tex Perkins and The Superjesus, grace our stage and to have assisted in launching the careers of Bad // Dreems, The Grenadiers, and so many more.”

Skip added, “We want to see Adelaide develop and grow, but not at the expense of live music and it is critical we preserve venues so the next generation of Australian musos can get their star.

“Nothing is set in stone at this stage and we will continue work to ensure the Crown and Anchor remains the uniquely Adelaide institution that we all love.”

Adelaide is Australia’s first and only UNESCO City of Music. The organisation aims to preserve the city’s cultural heritage, advocate for the value of music, promote South Australian artists on a global level, and connect the South Australian music scene to the UNESCO Creative Cities network.