Brown’s Mart in Darwin is a unique building that dates to the 1880s and is highly regarded as a landmark in the city. Built of porcellanite stone, it has a corrugated iron roof and is considered to have architectural, historic and social significance.
Architect JG Knight designed new premises for VL Solomon & Co in 1885 and it became known as Solomon’s Emporium, the finest stone store in Palmerston (Darwin’s then name).
From 1887-1910, the building was known as the Mining Exchange where the Port Darwin mercantile agency, run by JAV Brown and HH Adcock, operated as importers, customs and shipping agents. Its use as a shipping agency and auctioneering venue continued until it was leased by the Bank of New South Wales in 1937 while its own building was constructed.
The building suffered substantial damage in a cyclone in 1897. During WWII, it was converted to a torpedo workshop. After the war it was used by the Navy until about 1952. It then housed the police force, the Crown Law Office and the Motor Vehicle Registry.
The building was repaired after Cyclone Tracy in 1974 and has been used as a community theatre since.