Executor Trustee Office

Executor Trustee Office

The Executor Trustee and Agency Company of South Australia Limited was the second trust company in Australia and was formed in 1879, a year after the first one was founded in Melbourne. The idea came from South Africa, where similar trusts had operated for many years.

In June 1879 a “Who’s who” of Adelaide – James Fisher, Walter Reynell, E.A. Grant, William Kay, James Smith, E.S. Wigg, F. Baredon MP, Abraham Abraham, H. Giles, A.S. Neil, William Mortlock, W Parkin, J.L. Lloyd and Catherine Helen Spence – met at White’s Arbitration Room, King William Street, to discuss setting up a trustee company. The Trust and Agency Company was formed soon afterwards upon principles very different from those of most business associations, as it would permit no speculation or “stockjobbing”. No person could hold more than one share, and it was made very difficult for anyone whose name did not command public confidence to obtain an interest in the company.

The company was incorporated under the Companies Act on 1 March 1880. Executor Trust Fund deposits rose from £2000in 1880 to £1.3 million in 1882. In 1920 they had swelled to £9.1 million and in 1979 stood at $107.4 million.

The company occupied a series of offices before it decided to build its own premises in 1922. W.H. Bagot and Laybourne Smith were joint architects with C.E.W. Parsons, and F. Fricker was the builder. The new six-storey offices were ready for occupation by Christmas 1923 and named the Trustee building.

The design of this prominently sited building echoes the classic style of architecture. It combines academically correct elements such as paired Roman columns with freely interpreted details typical of the period. It is also of great interest because of its relatively original internal features.


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Similar in form and scale to the Bank of New Zealand and Tattersall’s building to the west, the Trustee building forms part of a significant group.

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Images of Executor Trustee Office

  • Executor Trustee and Agency Building, 2014
Woods Bagot, Herbert Jory, Louis Laybourne Smith, C E W Parsons
F Fricker
Building materials
Brick, Concrete
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.13.1 Academic Classical, 3.23 Old English (20th Century Tudorbethan)
1923 - 1924
Architecture and design features
Woods Bagot, Herbert Jory, Louis Laybourne Smith, C E W Parsons, Tuscan
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Executer Trustee and Agency Co
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Office
AS2482 classification
11510 - Business House - Offices
Public Access
Business/trading hours
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5155/76 D25900 A50
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 registered
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
3.3 Financing Adelaide
3.3.5 Company Headquarters
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Annual report 1922, pp. 47-8, BSO, drawings file, October 1921; Advertiser, 1 September 1936; Executor Trustee and Agency Co. of S.A. Ltd., Minute books, annual reports, memo and articles of association (MLSA), Jubilee report, 1923, p. 7; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 108); South Australian Advertiser, 17 March 1880; Sunday Mail, 29 June 1980; Woods Bagot, Ledger of commissions, p. 15.

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