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Historic Urrbrae House

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published July 3rd 2012
The suburb of Unley is often associated with magnificent and opulent houses, but just up Cross Road at Urrbrae is a beautiful bluestone mansion that outshines the jewels in Unley's crown.

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Urrbrae House on Waite Campus, University of Adelaide


This delightful two storey house completed in 1891 by Peter and Matilda Waite overlooks an attractive set of gardens and the Waite Arboretum - a massive 30 hectare plantation of 2,200 trees.

From the balcony of Urrbrae House you can enjoy a spectacle of some of the carefully tended gardens, with the Arboretum sloping away into the distance.

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The Planned Gardens Overlooked by Urrbrae House


Upon entering the House visitors encounter a striking entrance hall having great character, with prominent cedar and blackwood timber work reminding you of the enormous Arboretum in the grounds.

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Main Hall of Urrbrae House


The adjacent Drawing Room has been restored as much as possible to its original condition, with restored wallpaper, original curtains, and a tapestry firescreen. It also features a grand piano which is used on special occasions.

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The Restored Drawing Room at Urrbrae House


The original Morning Room at the front of the House is now used to house the Peter Waite Exhibition, a permanent display commemorating the history and restoration of the House.

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The Peter Waite Room


The spacious Dining Room with its original furniture is now used on occasion by the University of Adelaide for meetings, although like all Urrbrae House is open to the public at specified times.

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Original Furniture in the Urrbrae House Dining Room


It's interesting to note that Urrbrae House had the first domestic refrigeration plant in Australia, designed and installed by a company in Sydney. The plant is housed in four rooms in the basement.

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Historic Refrigeration Plaque


A short distance south east of Urrbrae House you can also find The Coach House, built in the 1880's to house stables and a hayloft. The Coach House is not normally open to the public, although some school tours are arranged.

urrbrae house, peter waite, waite arboretum coach house
The Coach House


While Urrbrae House is available for viewing at specific times by the public, consider going on a free guided tour (held on the first Sunday of each month) if you would like to hear more detail about the history of this beautiful residence.
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Why? Urrbrae House is a magnificent example of an early South Australian mansion
When: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10.00 am - 4.00 pm
Phone: 8303 7497
Where: Urrbrae House, Fullarton Rd, Urrbrae
Cost: Free
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