House at 261-262 North Terrace, Adelaide

House at 261-262 North Terrace, Adelaide

This imposing building is one of the few survivors of the fashionable homes that once graced North Terrace.

In about 1881, two small dwellings on this plot were demolished to make way for a more imposing residence. The rateable annual value increased from £22 in November 1880 to £100 a year later, and to £175 in 1882, indicating the house was completed.

Thomas Greaves Waterhouse, who commissioned the building, was a successful businessman who owned the Black Bull Hotel (the Princes Berkely) in Hindley Street.

The design of the house is attributed to the architect William McMinn. During the likely construction period, no other large residences with an annual assessed value of more than £90 were built on North Terrace. McMinn placed tender notices for “building a residence on North Terrace” in the South Australian Register during that time, so it seems probable he did design the house.

Several notable South Australians have occupied the house. Sir William Milne (1822-95) took out a three-year lease on the property. Milne was a wine and spirit merchant, politician, director and chairman of the Wallaroo and Moonta Mining and Smelting Co., and a trustee of the Savings Bank. He was appointed a knight of the realm in 1876.

In 1906, Adelaide architect Walter Hervey Bagot bought the residence and it remained within the Bagot family until 1926. Bagot was a prominent early 20th century Adelaide architect. Two of his buildings, Bonython Hall and the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide on the other side of North Terrace, reflect his preference for classical and traditional design.

The building also served as professional rooms for several medical practitioners, including Dr J.A.G. Hamilton, Dr C.V. Wells and the well-known Chinese specialist Dr Lum Yow. It was also a guesthouse between 1927 and the 1940s.

In 1953, the Chamber of Manufactures Insurance Limited bought and extensively remodelled the building to house the Chamil Surgical and Physiotherapy Clinic for treatment of injured workmen employed by policy-holders of the company. It was later used once more as a doctor’s professional rooms until the present owners purchased the property and restored it as a private home.

The building is notable for its high-quality detailing on both the North Terrace and western elevations. It features well-finished surrounds to openings and a variety of stucco ornamentation, including foliated capitals and spandrel decoration. The design has been marred by the removal of a balcony, but the imposing mansard roof with its slate cladding, and the widows walk and parapet, are intact. Morgan and Gilbert commented in Early Adelaide architecture, that the design “although elaborate is well scaled to so small a house”.


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This building is extremely historically significant as a rare example of an elaborate house on North Terrace.

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Images of House at 261-262 North Terrace, Adelaide

  • House at 261-262 North Terrace, 2014
William McMinn
Building materials
Stone, Sandstone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.10 Romanesque
1882 -
Architecture and design features
French, Stucco, Papapet, Quoins, slate roof, spandrel
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Thomas Greaves Waterhouse
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, House
AS2482 classification
Public Access
Private residence
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
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 classified
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
3.1.4 Discovery of Gold in Victoria
4.7 Memorable Development Eras
Sir William Milne, Walter Hervey Bagot
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Smith Survey 1880; Australian dictionary of biography, Vol. 5, (1974) p. 255, Vol. 7, 1979, p. 133; MLSA, Historical photographs, (Gall Collection); Michell, R., Research notes; Morgan, E.J.R., & Gilbert, S.H., Early Adelaide architecture 1836 to 1886,
  • 1969, p. 21; South Australian Register, 15 January 1881, 10 April 1881.

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