Home and former warehouse at 203-207 North Terrace, Adelaide

Home and former warehouse at 203-207 North Terrace, Adelaide

As a rare “Gothic” secular building, this was built as professional consulting rooms for the eminent ophthalmic surgeon Dr Mark Johnston Symons, “the first trained eye specialist to practise in Adelaide”.

Scottish born Dr Symons qualified in Edinburgh and at the famous London eye hospital Moorfields. In 1883 he migrated to South Australia. He became ophthalmic surgeon at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, medical officer for the Adelaide Children’s Hospital and honorary medical officer to the Institute for the Blind. He lectured at the medical school in ophthalmic surgery and went on to be dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

Dr Symons first had rooms in Gawler Place but when these were threatened with demolition to make way for Gawler Chambers, he decided to build his own rooms. When his premises were built on North Terrace in 1901 it was becoming fashionable among the medical fraternity to have professional rooms between King William Street and the Botanic Hotel.

Edward John Woods, one of South Australia’s most prominent architects, is credited with the design of this building. Woods was born in London in 1837 and qualified there as an architect. He migrated to South Australia in 1860 and began his Adelaide career in architecture as a draughtsman in Edmund Wright’s office. Later, he practised in partnership with Wright until 1869, when he branched out on his own. In 1873 Woods became government architect to the Council of Education and in January 1878 was appointed architect-in-chief. During his time with the government he oversaw the construction of many public, including the first stage of Parliament House, the west wing of the State Library (now the Mortlock Library) and many schools.

This building is one of few surviving on North Terrace that are reminders of its early professional nature. With the destruction of Wardell’s ES&A Bank on King William Street, it is also one of the few remaining Gothic secular buildings. Its symmetrical composition centred around an oriel window with buttressed walling is a highly creative interpretation of the Gothic idiom. The facade in particular is notable for its Murray Bridge limestone ashlar walling and dressings. The windows with mullions and transoms are detailed with label moulds, and the oriel window appears delicately supported on the small column with foliated capital above the central buttress.


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This building is important as part of a significant group on North Terrace, including the former warehouse to the west. They are individually rich in texture and notable for their high quality masonry and decorative features.

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Featured in
E J Woods Walking Tour

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Images of Home and former warehouse at 203-207 North Terrace, Adelaide

  • Offices at 206-207 North Terrace
Edward Woods
Building materials
Stone, Limestone
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.6 Gothic
1901 -
Architecture and design features
ashlar, oriel window
Engineering features
Rundle Mall
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Dr Mark Johnston Symons
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Office
AS2482 classification
11500 - Business: Commercial/Retail
Public Access
Exterior only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5255/933 F139583 A1 CT 5263/314 F2373 A2
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
3.6 Professional Services
3.6.2 Early Hospitals and the Medical Profession
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Assessments 1901; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 538; MLSA, PRG 128/13/4, P. 64; Woods Bagot, Ledger of commissions.

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