Duncraig - House and stables

Duncraig - House and stables

Duncraig was built for Walter Hughes Duncan, a highly successful and esteemed South Australian pastoralist. The house aptly demonstrates the social desirability of ownership of a grand town house in North Adelaide. The stables were built soon after the house, and together with the front garden wall they form an integral complex.

Duncan owned a property near Saddleworth and leased Oulnina Station, a property of some 800 square miles, until his death. He was chairman of the Waterloo District Council, member of the House of Assembly, and a major shareholder and director of Wallaroo and Moonta Mines. His father, brother and uncle, who were also pastoralists, had close connections with the Wallaroo and Moonta mines. Copper was discovered in 1860 at Walla Waroo, the sheep station of his father, Captain John Duncan, and his uncle, Sir Walter Watson Hughes. The property was later named Wallaroo.

W.H. Duncan and his brother, Honourable Sir John Duncan, MLC, presented the statue of Sir Walter Watson Hughes to the University of Adelaide in memory of his financial contribution as the university’s first donor in 1872.

W.H. Duncan built his home while member for the House of Assembly for Onkaparinga between April 1896 and March 1902. Five years later he died on his way back to Australia from England in May 1906. When his widow Alice died the property was bought in 1928 by W.G.T. Goodman.

Sir William George Toop Goodman, KCB, MICE, MIEE, MIE Aust. came from Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1907 where he had acquired a distinguished reputation as the designer of the tramway system. He was appointed electrical engineer for the newly created Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT) in 1907. By 1908 he was chief engineer and general manager, and under his supervision Adelaide quickly obtained an electrified tram system to replace the antiquated horse tramways. The first electrified tram was welcomed by crowds as it travelled along North Terrace in November 1908. Sir William Goodman managed the MTT until 1950 when he was in his late seventies and when the electric tram system was, in turn, about to be replaced by buses. Goodman was renowned as an energetic, efficient and intelligent administrator and so was also appointed as the first chairman of another major statutory authority, the South Australian Housing Trust (1937-45). In those early years of the trust, the board members, Goodman especially, carried out most of the administrative work themselves. In Goodman’s case this was usually done after his MTT work at night at his home in Palmer Place.

Duncraig was designed by English and Soward, and completed in 1900. The design employed a North Adelaide vernacular and displays influences from the Jacobean period typical of architectural revivalism of this time.

The building is strongly reminiscent of St Paul’s Anglican Rectory in Flinders Street, with stepped and figured gables, angled elements such as the porch, and high-quality revivalist detailing. The use of limestone rubble at this relatively late date is distinctive, particularly when associated with brickwork that gives the house an earlier appearance than its construction date. The prominence of the building reinforces the residential character of Palmer Place.


show more


[edit | edit source]

The house is a significant example of the development of grand town houses in North Adelaide as a result of successful pastoralism.

Connects with

Related places
Related people
Related organisations
Related events
Related things

See also

Images of Duncraig - House and stables

English and Soward
Building materials
Brick, Stone, Limestone
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.5 Anglo-Dutch
1896 - 1900
Architecture and design features
gable, jacobean, leadlight, angles
Engineering features
Upper North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Walter Hughes Duncan
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 5101/654 D35454 A6 CT 5101/655 D35454 A7
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
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
3.1.3 Discovery of Copper
Sir William Goodman
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Digest of Proceedings, 6 November 1899; Cockburn, R., Pastoral pioneers of South Australia, Vol. 2, 1925, p. 35; Coxon, H., et al., Biographical register of the South Australian Parliament 1857-1957, 1985, p. 66; Critic, 'The tramways of Adelaide',
  • 1909; Cumming, D.A., Moxham, G.A., They built South Australia, 1986, pp. 72-3; Marsden, S., Business, charity and sentiment, the South Australian Housing Trust 1936-1986, 1986, pp.
  • 21, 37-38, 41; State Heritage Branch, 6628-13510.

Further reading

External links

Something to add or share?

blog comments powered by Disqus