John Griffin, labourer, bought the land in 1856 for his Maud Street residence from Randolph Isham Stow for £35. In 1890 the Maud Street property passed to his son, who was recorded in the South Australian directories as a saddler and collar maker.
By the late 19th century the south-west of the city was made up of tiny working-class dwellings crammed together on the smallest plots without drainage or cesspit facilities. Even in the 1940s he living conditions in some of these areas were compared with those in England’s slums. The problems of a city without stringent building regulations or deep drainage until the 1880s were further exacerbated by a massive influx of residents over a 20- period when the city population rose from 18,300 in 1861 to more than 38,000 by 1881.
The 20th century brought cheap motorised transport that allowed the better-off citizens to commute from the suburbs, leaving parts of the city to Adelaide’s poorest. Dilapidation and decay compounded the problems of city living until the government became concerned during the 1930s. By the time of the Building Act Inquiry of 1940, factories, warehouses and light industrial complexes were invading the south-western corner, making the environment dingy and noisy.
A few of the worst dwellings were condemned and demolished soon after the inquiry. The Report on the metropolitan area of Adelaide in 1962 showed that in 1957 land use in the south-west corner was still mainly residential. By 1972 this dramatically changed when the residential component fell to about 30 per cent. This has not changed, but the main use moved to a combination of manufacturing/storage/warehousing with a trend towards offices and retailing.
Many of the dingy sub-standard cottages that survived into the 1960s to provide cheap housing are now ironically considered quaint and desirable.
An important link in the largely intact Maud-Alfred Street group of houses, Dunmoochin also has intrinsic value as an example of the Adelaide vernacular of bluestone rubble with brick quoins and surrounds to openings. Although somewhat ordinary, with a symmetrical double front and raised gable ends bounding a slate-clad roof, the building’s a picket fence enhances its original appearance. The building is still virtually identical to the plan shown in the 1880 Smith Survey.