After large-scale immigration was reintroduced in 1875, many English and Irish working-class migrants came to live in North Adelaide, and between 1871 and 1881 its population grew by 55 per cent. Rows of brick cottages for rental, in particular, were built to house the influx of new labour.
Builder George Murray constructed and then rented out to labourers and other working-class tenants several cottages in North Adelaide, including these in Bower Street, which were built in 1878-79.
Large rows of cottages are now rare in the city. This group is utilitarian and well built. A continuous verandah spanning the façade unifies the individual single-fronted houses. The roof is divided at intervals by raised parapets.
The two rows take up most of Bower Street and thus provide a distinctive minor streetscape with obvious associations with late 19th-century working-class life.
The Bower Street cottages have continued to provide low-cost housing. From 1894 to 1923 they were owned and rented out by Abraham T. Boas, rabbi of the Hebrew congregation in Adelaide. From 1932 they were held by the Public Trustee and in 1981 they passed to the South Australian Housing Trust.