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Published January 19th 2017
A sight worth beholding
How many times have you driven down Robe Terrace and or Fitzroy Terrace on the ring route and out of the corner of your eye, you notice some of the grand homes lining the fringe of the city of Adelaide?
Recently motivated by a suggestion made by a couple of readers of my articles on Weekend Notes, I endeavoured to take a wander down both Robe Terrace and Fitzroy Terrace to check out some of the heritage and historic homes on view.
Arguably this large mansion would be the "jewel in the crown" along this part of the ring route, with its distinctive turret and architecture dating from 1898. The architect was John Quinton Bruce, some of his other notable works including the Freemason's Lodge on North Terrace, Carclew (formerly known as Stalheim), and Electra House on King William Street.
The original house was built for Frederick George Scarfe, former director of the renowned Harris Scarfe department store. When Scarfe and his family lived in the house, it was named "Stonehenge". Scarfe made the decision in 1919 to sell the house, and was quoted as saying that he found "housekeeping too laborious" and judging by the size of the house - 15 main rooms, you probably couldn't blame him!
During the 1920's a young lady reportedly tragically died in the house from tuberculosis. There are still reports of the house being haunted by the said lady, as she allegedly appears in an upstairs bedroom known as the Blue Room dressed in a white night gown.
The house was also known as Jolley's House during the 1930's when Ernest and Evelyn Jolley purchased the property.
Ernest was a member of the family who started up pleasure boats on the River Torrens in the late 1800's, including the famous "Popeye",which remained as a family run business right up to 1971, when it was finally sold.
The name Jolley's continues to this day in association with the boathouse, which is a cafe/restaurant, and also Popeye still operates as an all time favourite activity on the river.
The house reportedly features a sweeping grand staircase, ballroom, formal lounge, library, formal dining room, 5 bedrooms and a wine cellar.
This Federation style home dates from 1913 and was built by architect Kenneth Milne for his brother at that time. Milne was also responsible for the legendary Adelaide Oval scoreboard, the Hampshire Hotel in Grote Street, Adelaide and several other stately homes including Georgian style Arbury Park built for the Downer family and his own home "Sunnyside" in Stanley Street, North Adelaide.
Other owners of the property reportedly including a member of the famed Holden family (saddlers, carriage trimmers and motor body manufacturers) and also one time home of the Greek Consulate.
The home is believed to contain a cellar with capacity for 6,000 wine bottles, with added features also being a home theatre room, pool and spa.
This home dates from its original construction date of 1912 and was built in the Tudor style by renowned architect Eric Phillipps Dancker, who followed in his father's (Frederick Wilhelm Dancker) footsteps in his chosen career.
Dancker Junior's list of achievements for design included The Cedars renovation work up at Hahndorf, Buxton House once owned by Josiah Symon, a 19th century politician and lawyer, and some of the housing estates in the then newer suburbs of Toorak Gardens, Springfield and Glengowrie.
Amongst the property's owners included Peter Willis Verco, a renowned Radiologist who had introduced ground breaking image production techniques during the 1950's as well as obstetric ultrasounds in 1973.
This Victorian Mansard 2 storey mansion with a north/south facing tennis court was first built in 1890, being originally erected for Walter H Stevenson, a prosperous 19th century manufacturing and retail jeweller. By the late 1800s/early 1900s Stevenson's business had flourished to the extent that it was at that time one of the largest jewellery establishments in Adelaide.
At one time Stevenson had a famous clock standing on Rundle Street which gave accurate time to thousands of shoppers.
The house features 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and is on a generous 2,264 square meters of land.
This distinctive house dates from 1883 and was once the home of Leonard William Bakewell, who was a respected solicitor, horseman and yachtsman. Both he and his wife Isabella lived here, and had also resided in another property called "Shirley" in the Payneham area.
Other notable members of the Bakewell family had been involved in politics and the Bakewell Bridge on Glover Avenue/Henley Beach Road was named after one of the family. The bridge itself was demolished in 2007, with a new underpass opening the following year. One of Leonard's sisters married also into the Reynell family, renowned vignerons and pastoralists.
This 2 storey Victorian mansion comprises 15 main rooms, with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. In 1939 Matthew Beovich was appointed Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide and moved into the house, naming it Ennis after his grandparent's home town in Ireland. The archbishop retired in 1971, and sadly passed away in 1981.
This imposing and attractive residence was built in 1900 originally for a Mayor of Adelaide,Arthur Wellington Ware, who was also a brewer and publican. Ware and his brother had been involved with the Torrenside Brewery, which absorbed the East Adelaide Brewery and amalgamated eventually with the Walkerville Brewery.
The property currently has a massive 8 bedrooms and a study as well as a 3,000 wine bottle capacity cellar below the kitchen. If that's not enough there is a pool and tennis court also on site.
This magnificent dwelling was built in the late 1800's for prominent lawyer and politician Josiah Symon, which he and his family utilised as one of their town houses, their main property being up at Upper Sturt (Manoah). Symon served as leader of the South Australian Bar for over 30 years, being involved with many controversial legal cases in the early 1900's. Symon also served as Chief Justice of South Australia and was a significant figure in the movement leading to the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901.
If you visit the State Library of South Australia, his very own library has been re-established on the upper floor of the Mortlock chamber, a great example of an 1890's gentleman's library of the period in which his collection of 7,500 books complete with original bookshelves is on display and the very desk he wrote drafts for the constitution for Federation .
These are but a small sample of some of the magnificent homes along this strip which will have you imagining yourself living in some of these, although I think Mr Scarfe may have been a realist, in his admission about the difficulties in keeping up with the housekeeping!
Fascinating article Graeme - great to read such detailed research about these stunning heritage houses in my neighbourhood that I knew nothing about. Makes me want to know more. Do hope you will write more about such wonderful parts of our heritage. Thank you.
Wonderfully helpful guide. Great photos too.
As to #3, the Dancker house mentioned in North Adelaide is at 67-75 Buxton Street.
Nearby, on the corner of Jeffcott Street, we can recommend the Flying Fig cafe. Like so many, it closes not long after lunch.
#13 Fitzroy Tce was called "Ashley" and was owned by a former Mayor of Adelaide Charles Willcox. In the late 1800's the home was used to hold many society parties in the large botanical like gardens. They were subdivided after the house was sold at Auction in 1930's to the current owners the St George's Nursing home. One of his sons owned, and lived at 11 Fitzroy Tce. Happy to try answer any other questions you might have.