A.J. Tolley, the “grandfather” of the present well-known company of A.E. and F. Tolley, first set up in business after he and his wife, son and two daughters arrived in South Australia in July 1853. The company quickly expanded when A.J. Tolley’s eldest son joined the family business. The names of the sons, Albion Everard and Frederick, are perpetuated in the present-day company name. Two other sons went on to form the brandy distilling firm of Tolley Scott and Tolley, while two more sons set up in partnership as solicitors under the name of Tolley and Tolley. A.J. Tolley lived in the South Terrace residence, which he called Sunbury House, until 1866 when he and his family returned to England for six years.
In the late 1870s J.P. Stow, son of Reverend T.Q. Stow and brother of Justice Stow, lived on the premises for a short time. He is remembered for his long service with the Advertiser, followed by his appointment as stipendiary magistrate in 1886 to the entire south-eastern district of South Australia. J.P. Stow was also known as a “staunch free-trader, and advocate of a property tax, and an uncompromising opponent of the Sunday closing clauses of the Licensed Victualler Acts”.
In 1879 when E.H. Bayer and A.S. Clark bought the residence, the noted general practitioner Dr John F. Joyce became its tenant. He remained until the early 1880s when he purchased land on Greenhill Road. There he constructed a building to contain the Adelaide Eye Infirmary, Queens Hospital for General Diseases and Private Residence for Married Ladies, now known as Annesley College.
A new facade added in 1881 was possibly designed by E.H. Bayer (A.J. Tolley’s son-in-law) during his ownership. This building is important for its two main periods of construction, the stages being marked by differences in ceiling heights.