In 1896, two medical students decided to organise an end of exams party for all Adelaide Uni students. The idea was simple; an event with beer for the boys and cider for the ladies, at the cheapest price possible. Unable to decide on a name for the party, the two stumbled across the name ‘Skullduggery’ in a dictionary, meaning trickery and shenanigans.
Low on money and short of a venue, the two somehow convinced the University hierarchy to give them access to the then concrete-floored Bonython Hall. They were amazed when a crowd of over three thousand turned up on the night, prompting a rapid response by the medical students to search the city in a horse and cart for more beer and cider. Official Adelaide University records state that Bonython Hall was found ankle-deep in been the next day and the med students were rapped over the knuckles and called in to hose it out. Regardless, the inaugural Skullduggery had been a massive success and in the years that followed it would become a University Legend…
For close to a century, Skullduggery remained the biggest event of the year for Adelaide University students. Traditionally held on the Thursday of Orientation week, it continued to sell out any venue that attempted to hold it. The University cloisters eventually became the home of Skullduggery, until the event grew out of control in 1995 and the infamous skull was laid to rest.
However, the force of Skullduggery lived on and each year it attracted big crowds at various pubs and clubs around the city. In 2004, the legend once again found a pulse when Skullduggery was put on probation and given the green light to be held in the cloisters after midyear exams. With the success of the event, the powers that be could not resist restoring Skullduggery to it’s former glory; in O’Week, in the cloisters, with tons of people.
This did little to prevent the Legend from spreading far and wide, with people attending from as far as the United States. It wasn’t long before even the University cloisters could no longer hold the masses that Skullduggery attracted. In 2016, Skullduggery moved to Bonython Park, the only venue that could accommodate its masses.
This year will be off tap.