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7 Elegant Examples of Grandeur along Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide

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by Graeme Fanning (subscribe)
I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/Down-to-Earth-Tours-1491827191071798/
Published May 14th 2022
Tantalising Pennington Terrace
North Adelaide is one of the few areas you will find in Australia which has an invested concentrated focus on heritage, with its many fine old stone dwellings which ooze stateliness and grandeur.

Pennington Terrace runs along the southern fringe of North Adelaide between Sir Edwin Smith Avenue and Palmer Place, and like many similar Terraces around Adelaide, usually always contained grand homes, many of them built on the earnings of wealthy pastoralists who had retired and built on the fringes of the city.

St Peters Cathedral Spire
St Peters Cathedral Spire


Here are 7 shining examples of eye-catching architecture which are still on show today for us all to enjoy and dream of what colonial life for the wealthy must have been like.

1. Montefiore

At the top end of Pennington Terrace, on the corner of Palmer Place lies a former grand home that today is part of Aquinas College, a tertiary residential college, one of several in North Adelaide.

When George Green bought Montefiore in 1853, he decided to undergo some renovation work and completely re-built the house to create a Regency-style mansion. In the late 1850s, the property was sold to Luke Cullen, who eventually sold it to Sir Samuel Way, South Australia's Chief Justice for 40 years (from 1876 until his death in 1916).

Sir Samuel Way was also a Baronet, a grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons and a Chancellor of the University of Adelaide. During the late 1870s, Way organised for a house re-face as well as an extension. In what was described as an Italianate home, part of the changes included an impressive set of marble steps leading up to the house.

After his death in 1916, Montefiore again underwent major renovations, with the 2nd storey removed to reduce its size. Since 1948 it has been a part of Aquinas College.

Montefiore
Montefiore


2. Soward Architecture

Upon approach to this once grand home, you are drawn into the unusual architecture, classified as Venetian Gothic style, which was never normally used in residential design work. The architect was George Klewitz Soward, a well-reputed architect in South Australia during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

The house was originally built in 1883 for Frederick Foote Turner, who had migrated to South Australia in 1854. Turner was a successful partner in the law firm, Turner & Rudall, who then became solicitor to the Land Titles Office in 1880. By 1890 he was Attorney-General of South Australia. The property then passed to the daughter of a prominent politician and businessman, Henry Ayers - Lucy Josephine Bagot, who had married into another prominent Adelaide family - the Bagots.

Lucy married John Bagot in 1879 and bought this house in 1909, Lucy lived there until 1920. John Bagot's grandfather, Charles Hervey Bagot, was a successful pastoralist, mining company director (Kapunda Copper Mines) and a politician.

During the 1920s, the house was then bought by leading surgeon, Dr Arthur Murray Cudmore, who was a consulting surgeon at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, as well as a lecturer at the University of Adelaide. It is believed Cudmore helped establish the Ru Rua Private Hospital in North Adelaide.

You will find this striking property at 61 - 65 Pennington Terrace.

Soward Architecture
Soward Architecture


3. Former Girl's Friendly Society Lodge


This two-storey dwelling started out as one storey back in 1859 when Stephen Joyce, a Painter and Grocer bought the property. During the 1870s a second storey was added, together with a verandah and balcony.

The Church of England originally opened a Girl's Friendly Society hostel at Kermode Street in North Adelaide in 1913 which provided a home for country girls working or studying in the city.

The founders of the society were two women, one being Lady Jervois (wife of South Australia's governor at the time) and Jessie Carter, who was believed to be the first woman churchwarden in the Australian Anglican church.

In 1916 the lodge moved to Pennington Terrace. During World War 2, the building provided accommodation for female munitions workers. The lodge finally closed in 1975.

You will be able to view this house at 59 - 60 Pennington Terrace.

Former Girl's Friendly Society Lodge
Former Girl's Friendly Society Lodge


4. Hawker House


Hawker House is one of the properties which was eventually bought up by St Mark's College, another tertiary residential college in North Adelaide, in 1970.

Originally it had been built in 1883 for Arthur Waterhouse, son of a successful financier, Thomas G Waterhouse. Arthur was a successful promoter of commercial enterprises around Adelaide.

Waterhouse eventually sold the property to the Simms family in 1888, Alfred Simms being a prominent brewer, involved in the founding of the SA Brewing Company.

Also, the house had an association with one of South Australia's early colonial immigrants, Mary Harriet Archer Thomas, whose family had helped establish the first newspaper here, the SA Register, which also owned it for a time. In 1955 the State Government bought the home, and finally St Mark's College.

The name Hawker House commemorates the generosity of the Hawker family to the college.

Hawker House
Hawker House


5. Archibald Grenfell Price Lodge

Archibald Grenfell Price Lodge was designed by architect, Rowland Rees and built in 1879, initially owned by William Austin Horn, a mining magnate, pastoralist and a politician.

Horn was best remembered for his contributions to the State's mining industry and had been working on the Wallaroo property of another pastoralist, Sir Walter Watson Hughes (whose statue can be found outside of the Mitchell Building, University of Adelaide).

During the 1860s, huge deposits of copper were discovered on Hughes's property, which then became a race to get to Adelaide and lodge a claim. Horn was asked by Hughes to claim the find in an expedient manner, and after travelling 264 miles by horse in 22 hours, Horn arrived in Adelaide.

However, another rival group were also making a similar claim and had arrived prior to Horn, waiting outside of the Land Office.

When the clerk opened up the office that morning, he recognised Horn and processed his claim first. After an investigation, Walter Hughes eventually settled with the rival group to become the owner.

This copper deposit became one of the richest mines in Australia and Horn became a shareholder.

William Horn also was an MP for Flinders from 1887 until 1893. As an admirer of the Arts, Horn also donated 3 statues to the city of Adelaide, including the city's very first public statue - Venere Di Canova in 1892, which still stands in Prince Henry Gardens along North Terrace in Adelaide today.

The Horn family eventually sold the property and it had several different owners until 1953 when St Mark's College bought it, largely using a donation from Lady Kitty Price, wife of Sir Archibald Grenfell Price - St Mark's first Master.

Today the home is the residential college Master's home.

Archibald Grenfell Price Lodge
Archibald Grenfell Price Lodge


6. Downer House


Set back from Pennington Terrace lies Downer House, once connected to one of South Australia's prominent families - the Downer's - involved in politics and the legal profession.

Alexander Downer Snr had a highly successful career in politics, becoming Attorney-General, Chief Secretary, Treasurer and also Premier of South Australia. Alexander Snr also served as a South Australian Senator in the 1st Commonwealth Parliament from 1901 - 1903.

The house was built during 1876/1877 and is believed to have also been designed by architect Rowland Rees. Rees, like many architects had a distinctive style of building and you will notice the unusual combination of brick strings, sandstone ashlar walling and other sandstone detailing.

The Downers added a Billiard Room and Ballroom to the rear of the house in 1882/1883. The family owned the home until 1924 when it was bought for St Mark's College.

Downer House
Downer House


7. St Peter's Cathedral

The grand St Peter's Cathedral has become quite an iconic landmark in Adelaide's city landscape, but did you know that originally it was planned to be built somewhere else?

Arriving in the colony in December 1847, Bishop Augustus Short brought with him 1,000 pounds and plans to build a gothic style Anglican cathedral.

In 1848 Short was granted an acre parcel of land right in the centre of Victoria Square (Tarndanyangga) in the city of Adelaide, with the intention of building the cathedral as a central focus for the city.

Colonel William Light had also in his 1837 plan of the city, had provision for a cathedral in that very location.

However the Corporation of the City of Adelaide had a different vision for Victoria Square and did not believe a cathedral would be part of that vision.

The corporation took the Anglicans to court over the matter and the Supreme Court decision in 1855, saw the parcel of land deal to the Anglicans fall through, and therefore they were unable to build their grand centre of worship in the square.

In 1862 the Anglican church bought the land on its current location on the corner of Pennington Terrace and what was then John Street (now King William Road) and construction of the cathedral began.

The original design of the cathedral was similar to Scottish architect William Butterfield's cathedral in Perth in Scotland.

Butterfield had recommended building Adelaide's cathedral in brick to keep the costs down, and local architect E J Woods worked from Butterfield's plans.

Woods made some modifications to the original plans, mainly in the types of building materials to be used. It was interesting that Butterfield's design called for coloured banding and detail thought very stylish in England at the time, however Bishop Short did not think this fitted the conservative nature of the cathedral and colonial society at the time.

Instead a more uniform look in Ashlar Sandstone and Limestone masonry was chosen.

The Cathedral was built in various stages from 1869 right through to the early twentieth century.

The very first service was held in the finished sections of the sanctuary choir, transepts and one bay of the nave in June 1876.

The familiar twin spires of St Peter's which we all know and admire weren't commenced until the early 1890s, however, soon after work had stopped when funds ran out.

A bequest from Sir Thomas Elder in 1897 and Robert Barr-Smith in 1901 allowed work to resume and finally the tower and twin spires were completed.

Although it was built over a 40 year period, St Peter's Cathedral is remarkably unified.

A venture inside the cathedral is a must with its magnificent stain glass windows and historic carvings and features.

St Peters Cathedral
St Peters Cathedral


You can choose to self-guide along the magnificent Pennington Terrace or book on a National Trust guided walk of the area with their Pennington Terrace - Colonial Gems tour which will enhance your experience.

The tour will give you the opportunity to not simply admire the stunning grand homes and St Peter's Cathedral but to also hear some of the stories relating to some of their former occupants.

The tour also visits two of Adelaide's earliest dwellings, known as Manning's houses erected in the late 1830s, the only examples of early wooden homes in Adelaide.

Check out National Trust SA's website re their range of tours. The Pennington Terrace tour only runs at certain times during the year, usually in Autumn and Spring as part of their series of walking tours around Adelaide.
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Why? An opportunity to view magnificent grander homes from another era
When: Any time of the year
Phone: 08 8203 7203
Where: Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide SA 5006
Cost: Free
Your Comment
It's wonderful that Adelaide has retained and embraced its wonderful architecture and history to be able to share with others.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|4838) 43 days ago
Thank you so much for such an informative article abot the archiitecture of Penningtom Terrace Graeme I did so enjoy reading it and delving a little further into the history of places I have passed many times and not known the history . Thank you again .
by prue. (score: 1|20) 43 days ago
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