House at 33-37 Archer Street, North Adelaide

House at 33-37 Archer Street, North Adelaide

This terrace appears older than its actual construction date of 1879. The terrace of three houses seems to have been designed and built by William Stroud May, a carpenter by trade who lived in North Adelaide and engaged in local building projects and speculative building. One of his more important works appears to have been the tower of the grand Congregational church in Brougham Place. A Congregationalist himself, it appears likely that May was the partner in May and Walters, contractor for the tower in 1871-72.

The Honourable Boyle Travers Finniss lived in one of these terrace houses from 1880 to 1882. Finniss arrived in South Australia in l836. He was assistant surveyor to Colonel William Light with whom he established a land agency and surveying business in 1838. Among other things, this business was responsible for the design of the town Gawler. Unlike Light, who died soon afterwards, Finniss' career continued to be influential in the public affairs of the colony. He was in turn, chief draftsman, commissioner of police, registrar- general and treasurer, first premier of South Australia, first government resident in the Northern Territory, member of the House of Assembly from 1857 to 1862 and again in 1868 and 1876, and member of the Legislative Council from 1847 to 1857 and in 1873. During his residence in Archer Street in 1881 he resigned from the civil service with a view to writing The constitutional history of South Australia which was published in 1886.

The terrace is of less architectural significance than Böhm and Dolphin terraces, also in Archer Street. However, such terraces are comparatively rare in Adelaide. This example, although austere and relatively standard in form, has added interest in the use of balconettes supported on decorative cast-iron brackets and with 'swag bellied' balustrading. The use of half-paned French doors is relatively unusual in buildings at this time.


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The terrace makes an important contribution to the character of Archer Street, reinforcing its dominant two storey development and providing the western portal to Murray Street.

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Images of House at 33-37 Archer Street, North Adelaide

William Stroud May
William Stroud May
Building materials
Iron, Cast iron, Render, Plaster
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.6 Filigree
1879 -
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
Upper North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, House
AS2482 classification
16010 - House
Public Access
Private residence
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5368/443 F200153 Q94 CT 5498/606 F208301 Q91 CT 5682/129 F213401 Q91
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
2.3 City Dwellers: Householders, Boarders and Tenants
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • Coxon, H., et al, Biographical register of the South Australian parliament 1857-1957, 1985,
  • P. 1-3; Jensen, E., & R., Colonial architecture in South Australia, 1980, p. 474,

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