pie carts have been around since 1860s, but there is some conflicting
information out there. The pie cart is still tempting not-so-fussy
eaters into the wee small hours of the morning. The cart is most
famous for it's Pie Floater - a meat pie turned upside down in a bowl of
green pea soup and topped with a lavish dollop of tomato sauce.
The pie carts were a much part of the Adelaide scene as "Light's
Vision" or the Glenelg Tram. An English ex-sailor called Gibbs
opened the very first one (according to sources, however, this is
incorrect, it was the second one to open in Adelaide, the first one opened
two weeks earlier at the GPO on Franklin Street.). Anyhow, he opened his pie stall in 1864 on the
corner of King William Road and Rundle Street. Looking to cater to
workers in search of wholesome, but inexpensive meal. This area got
nicknamed "The Bee Hive" now known as "Beehive Corner". This nickname is still used
today and is written on the Haigh's building. I believe it was
nicknamed because it was the most visited corner and more people would
meet at this one spot in Adelaide. Due to many reasons, the local
shopping area, eating places and possibility that it was the part of the
main street that had things around it for workers etc. Now Beehive
Corner is part of the main shopping area in Adelaide: Rundle Mall.
The Bee Hive ca.
Beehive Corner -
Obviously, the site is not as busy as it is now a day. Today it's
probably the most trafficked street corner in Adelaide, but the last place
you want to stand around eating a pie.
By 1915 there were only nine pie carts in Adelaide, but by 1958 only two
remained. They were Cowley's Pie Cart outside the GPO on Franklin
Street, once claimed as the oldest still existing in Australia, and the
Balfour's Pie Cart, outside the historic Railway Station.
Today, there is only one remaining, the GPO on Franklin Street. In 2007
the Franklin Street pie cart was bought by Gumleaf Bakery and in April 2008, it was taken
off the road to get a fresh new look
inside and to keep up with the standards and modern requirements.
Previously, just serving instant coffee, very limited selection of pies,
pasties and cakes, oh and course our famous icon - Pie Floaters. Now fitted throughout with stainless steel with modern equipment such as a
coffee machine, deep fryer, bain marie, multiple refrigerators, microwave,
new pie warmer, and so on. However, the return would have been in
December 2008, but some issues had to be sorted out with the Adelaide City
Council and the owner that caused the delay. A special thanks a certain councillor who in
the end got the ball rolling as they say.
business component is managed and owned by Rina, who has been
trying to get the pie cart back to Adelaide's streets for the last 7
premises (cart and truck) is still owned by Gumleaf Bakery, who will
continue to supply their pies, pasties, cakes etc to the
This pie cart in Franklin Street has been recorded by the National Trust
as the longest-serving eating venue in the state. A study of food
carts has also been undertaken in central Melbourne. None of the
other food carts within the City of Sydney have such a recognisable
identity, nor the continuity of occupancy. There is now also a
Harry's Cafe de Wheels in Woolloomooloo,
with a similarly recognisable neon sign.
Unlike the other pie carts around Australia, this is probably the
only business from it's beginning in 1860's that has sold it's own made pies and
The pie cart, for me, sums up all that is democratic and egalitarian about
Australia. It has become a meeting place where cabbies, policemen,
and other workers rubbed shoulders with theatre patrons in formal evening
wear, musicians, politicians, businessmen and of course the tourists to
our beautiful city.
anyone has any information on the pie floater or even on the Adelaide Pie
Carts, please contact me. Click
Also, if any of the information is incorrect, please email me with the
correct details and where they were sourced.