The Magic Cave

If you’re in Adelaide in late November or December, stop in at The Magic Cave in the David Jones department store to see Father Christmas and a host of magical elves and fairy tale characters.

This Adelaide icon began its association with John Martin's, another department store, in 1896. The Magic Cave opened in their basement as a place where people could escape December’s stifling heat. The walls were created with crumpled zinc linings from packing cases.

Unfortunately, the store burnt down in 1901 and it wasn’t until 1905 that the people of Adelaide again had a summer retreat. The new Magic Cave was worth the wait, having a series of caves and grottoes, waterfalls and fish ponds.

Over the years The Magic Cave came to represent Christmas and the jolly man himself. In 1933, Sir Edward Hayward, one of the owners of John Martin's, decided that the people of Adelaide needed a morale boost after the Depression years. So he created Adelaide’s world famous Christmas Pageant, a colourful parade leading Father Christmas to his Adelaide home at The Magic Cave. It’s now an annual event televised around the world.