Craigweil - House

Craigweil - House

Craigweil was built for the Honourable Alexander Hay in 1886 in the teeth of depression. It is evidence of the minor impact of the financial crash on some of Adelaide’s wealthy men, and their determination to live in fashionable homes in the city.

Hay enjoyed a full life in pastoral pursuits, general business, philanthropic work and public affairs. He was both a councillor and a parliamentarian, an early president of the YMCA and first chief of the Caledonian Society.

He was a member of the Legislative Council for 18 years, from 1873, and built this residence during that time. When he died in 1898, he was greatly respected as “one of the most esteemed citizens of Adelaide”.

The house was designed by Thomas Hyland Smeaton. Born in 1857, Smeaton came to South Australia in 1879 to take up an appointment as clerk of works to the government. To become more proficient as an architect, he had served an apprenticeship as a stonecutter and builder. He later worked in the office of “Greek” Thomson, the well-known classical architect of the day. After a health breakdown, he came to Adelaide, later practising in his own right.

The house is a variation on the traditional asymmetrical villa, presenting less verandah to the street and more substance in the form of stuccoed walling. The elaborate high-quality detailing combined with squared random coursed sandstone masonry is in marked contrast to many of the bluestone buildings of the period. The gabled section of the façade and the string courses are unusually elaborate and still in good condition.


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The house is particularly significant for it's elaborate detailing and for it's association with Alexander Hay.

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Featured in
East End Promenade

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Images of Craigweil - House

  • Craigweil House, 2014
Thomas Hyland Smeaton
Building materials
Stone, Sandstone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.1 Georgian
1886 -
Architecture and design features
asymmetrical, stucco, string course
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Alexander Hay
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, House
AS2482 classification
16010 - House
Public Access
Private residence
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5643/276 D1257 A6
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
NTSA classified
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
2.4 City Dwellers: City, state and business leaders
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.6 Mid-1880s Recession
Alexander Hay
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Digest of Proceedings, 21 December 1885; Jensen, E. & R., Colonial architecture in South Australia, 1980, pp. 581-2; Pascoe, J.J., (ed), History of Adelaide and vicinity, 1901, p. 455; South Australian Register, 8 December 1885.

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