This will take place on Sunday 7th April 2019 from 2.00 pm to 3.15 pm. The address is Urrbrae House Historic Precinct, Walter Young Ave, Urrbrae.
The main features of this house are the internationally renowned Waite Arboretum, Waite Conservation Reserve and the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct.
Come along to Urrbrae House for a free guided tour of this unique building. You will hear all about the life of pastoralist and benefactor Peter Waite. Then stroll out and look over the gardens and adjacent Waite Arboretum at your leisure.
There is free parking available in the Urrbrae House carpark on Walter Young Avenue. The tour starts promptly at 2.00 pm, so make sure you are on time as late-comers will miss out. Bookings are not necessary for individuals or small groups, however, large groups must make bookings by phoning 83137497.
History of Urrbrae House The Urrbrae House Historic Precinct is situated on the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide. This land was bequeathed by Peter Waite to the University in 1922 to establish the Waite Agricultural Research Institute (WARI). It was also to establish a public park which is now the Waite Arboretum.
Today, the precinct is an accredited museum with History SA and is part of the University's Office for Community Engagement.
The precinct incorporates Urrbrae House which is a beautiful two-storey bluestone mansion. The building of this was completed in 1891 and at the time was the home of Peter and Matilda Waite.
The Urrbrae House Gardens were redone in the 1990s to be sympathetic to the house's original gardens. The Battery House is supposedly the first purpose-built domestic powerhouse in South Australia.
The garage and the Coach House were the first laboratories of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. Peter Waite was a successful pastoralist who had migrated from Scotland in 1859. Waite and his family originally lived in the original single-storey Urrbrae House in 1877 but by the late 1880s, they realised that they need a larger residence.
It was at this time the new Urrbrae House was designed by C. H. Marryat and E.J. Woods. It was built by builder Nicholas W. Trudgen and the interior was decorated by Aldam Heaton. Urrbrae House was Heaton's only work in Australia and his original ceiling papers can still be seen today!
The house was the first private lodging in South Australia to have electricity and the first in Australia to have a domestic refrigeration plant.
In 1922 Peter and Matilda died and Urrbrae House was given to the University of Adelaide. From 1924 until 1973, the house was the residence of Directors of the WARI. It was home to a staff club and cafeteria in the 1970s and 1980s when it had major restoration in the 1990s.
Today the house is used by the University community but it is also open for the public to see. A permanent display about Peter Waite's life is in the former Morning Room. The main bedroom boasts an exhibition on the Waite Arboretum. The dining room, library, billiard room and the butler's pantry all still contain the furniture from the Waite era. Even a part of the original servant's electric bell system has recently been restored!
In the Coach House, visitors can see a recreation of the first laboratory of the Waite Institute from the 1920s. The gardens surround Urrbrae House including the sensory garden. There is also a twentieth-century rose garden which explains about the history of roses. A garden of discovery celebrates the scientific research of the Waite Institute while a labyrinth has been built on the site of the original tennis court. There are numerous outdoor sculpture features throughout the gardens and adjacent Arboretum.
During school term, a weekly interactive Schools' history program is run in Urrbrae House. This is aimed at children in years 4 to 6. This gives these children the opportunity to step back in time and experience life as it might have been in 1892.
You can read more about Urrbrae House at their website.