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The Eric Freak Memorial Chapel

Archives Blog
5 February 2021

The Eric Freak Memorial Chapel or the ‘Chapel’ was built in 1972 but its history is much longer.

In 1968 the School became entitled to the proceeds of the Freak Estate. Robert Eric Freak (PAC 1929-1933), aged eighteen, had died from a ruptured appendix 20 July 1934, the year after leaving the school. Freak won schoolboy tennis championships and even won a set from the champion Harry Hopman in the Australian titles at Memorial Drive in 1932.

Mr Freak died in 1954 but the bequest did not become available until the death of Annie Freak, Eric’s mother in 1968. Fittingly the site chosen for the Chapel was the Headmaster’s tennis courts, adjacent the spectacular 1869 Main building, designed by Daniel Garlick. In 1969, the College had been fortunate enough to have purchased that portion of Pirie Street, alongside, effectively joining the two areas.

Designed by Hassell & Partners and constructed by Messrs Marshall & Brougham, the Chapel was dedicated 16 July 1972. The building provided the School community with a focus for its spiritual life on its main campus. Previously, all spiritual ceremonies for the School were held at the nearby Wesleyan Church on Fullarton Road, Kent Town built 1865.

Frank Colin Hassell AO (PAC 1919-1928) was one of the generation of architects who led the architectural profession during the ‘design revolution’ following World War Two.

‘As an architect he is remembered for his contribution to the development of the profession in South Australia, and for the foresight of his vision for a collaborative and inclusive workplace’. Horton 2007, p 47.

The Assembly Hall at Prince Alfred College was also commissioned from Hassell (with Claridge and McConnell) in 1963.

“So, finally, I report to you on what is perhaps the most significant event of the year at Princes, and that is the commencement of the building of The Eric Freak Memorial Chapel.” PAC Chronicle, Headmaster’s notes, November 1972 p10

Photographs taken by then Headmaster Geoffrey Bean, show the progress of the Chapel and the changing face of the School during the Early 1970s. In 2022, Prince Alfred College will celebrate 50 years since the dedication of the Chapel.

Kate Pulford
College Archivist

Gallery Image Template 0000 Chapel site preparation H Ms Tennis Court by G Bean 1972 Gallery Image Template 0004 Chapel foundations Foreman by G Bean 1972 Gallery Image Template 0009 1982 drawing of Eric Freak Memorial Chapel by Old Scholar Scott Hartshorne PAC 1964 1971 Gallery Image Template 0001 Chapel Pipe Organ by K Pulford 2020 Gallery Image Template 0002 Chapel interior by K Pulford 2020 Gallery Image Template 0007 Chapel Chancel pulpit side by G Bean 1972 Gallery Image Template 0008 Chapel Chancel by K Pulford 2020 Gallery Image Template 0003 Chapel from front oval by G Bean 1972 Gallery Image Template 0005 Chapel exterior main entrance by K Pulford 2020 Gallery Image Template 0006 Chapel complete from back oval by G Bean 1972