House at 86 Stanley Street, North Adelaide

House at 86 Stanley Street, North Adelaide

The cottages, erected to house 'widows, the aged and infirm poor', reflect the capacity of South Australia in the 1870s to take stock of its humanitarian needs. The early development of South Australia allowed few moments for reflection, and social problems were left to the government and church groups. With advancing age and the rising wealth of many city residents, philanthropy became rather more common, noted benefactors including the Elder, Barr Smith, Bonython, Simpson, Simms and Murray families. The cottages were a direct expression of such philanthropy and of a significant development in the social history of South Australia. The subsequent subdivision and sale of the individual cottages and conversion to private town houses in 1972 exemplifies changes in residential and social trends in the city.

In 1872-73 a number of 'benevolent ladies and gentlemen' met to examine ways of satisfying the need for accommodation of widows, the aged and infirm poor:

. . . it must always be a painful thing for those who lived in positions of respectability and comfort to be compelled by reverse of circumstances, failure of health, or in the case of women, by the loss of those on whom they had depended for their livelihood, to resort to the Destitute Asylum in order to obtain shelter and food.

In 1873 they decided to establish an 'unsectarian' institution whose inmates would be selected by the donors of funds on a scale according to the size of their donations:

. . . subscribers of one hundred pounds, which has been estimated as the cost of two rooms, shall during their lifetime have the right of nominating an occupant to one home, and this right may be vested permanently in a corporate body or congregation on payment of a donation of one hundred and twenty pounds. Archdeacon Marryat, the Honourable A. Blyth, M.P., and Mr. H.H. Waters have been appointed to act as Trustees until the Society is incorporated.

An acre of land at North Adelaide, with frontages to Stanley Street and Kingston Terrace, was purchased with ten cottages planned for Stanley Street and a row of nine houses on Kingston Terrace:

Glen Osmond stone will be used up to the plinth, and limestone above, with brick dressings . . . At the ends of the smaller rows there are to be gables to break the long line of roof, with louvres for the purposes of ventilation. There will be gables at intervals in the block facing Kingston Terrace. The plans have been drawn by Mr. D. Garlick, who has kindly returned the amount of his commission to the Committee . . .

Under the foundation stone copies of the Register and Advertiser were laid, together with a scroll containing the following information:

The foundation stone of these cottage homes for the aged and infirm poor and widows was laid by Mrs. Musgrave on 27th October, A.D. 1873, being the thirty-seventh year of the reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, the first year of the Governorship of His Excellency Anthony Musgrave, Esq., C.M.G., and the thirty-seventh year of the History of the Colony of South Australia. The Members of the Committee were Mesdames A. Blyth, Farr, Haining, Hay, Hart, Marryat, Parsons, Stuckey, J. Scott, Miss McMinn; Honorary Secretary, Mrs. Gawler; Honourable A. Blyth, Mr. R. Stuckey, Archdeacon Marryat; Architect, Mr. D. Garlick; Builder, Mr. G. Newman.

The original cottages were complemented by additions carried out in 1874, 1875, 1877, 1879 and 1882. The Stanley Street frontage was completed by 1880, the Kingston Terrace frontage dating from 1879-82. The Cottage Homes Society was incorporated in 1878 and remained in possession of the property until late 1970. The Stanley Street cottages originally displayed the following plaque:

The Dean Marryat Homes. Named in Memory of the Founder 1872-1906. This house was erected by Margaret Elizabeth Andrews to the memory of her mother, A.D. 1877. This home was built with funds collected by Miss Woodcock.

The Kingston Terrace cottages were known as:

The Lady Ayers Homes. Erected by her husband, A.D. 1882.


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Externally the cottages remain remarkably original, complemented to the east and west by cottages of similar scale and detailing. The extent and nature of these rows is reminiscent of 'Almshouses', such rows being rarely found in South Australia. The construction, scale and detailing of the cottages is complementary to the earlier cottages opposite in Stanley Street. They are of immense importance to this area of special character and to the residential atmosphere of North Adelaide in general.

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Images of House at 86 Stanley Street, North Adelaide

  • Houses at 82-100 Stanley Street, 1973
Daniel Garlick
Borwn and Thompson
Building materials
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890)
1873 - 1877
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
Lower North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, Row Homes
AS2482 classification
16010 - House
Public Access
Private residence
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5052/63 S1036 U25
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 Peopling a city
4.4 Residential Development, Building Types and Living Conditions
4.4.4 Philanthropic Housing
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Smith Survey 1880; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol. 2, 1909, pp.
  • 74-5; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 1035); South Australian Register,
  • 20 October 1873, 28 October 1873, 6 November 1873.

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