Finlayson and his wife Alice were married in 1878. Strelda was built both as a family home and as a symbol of Finlayson's success at work. Both Finlaysons were involved in philanthropic work. Alice was a member of the State Children's Council. They also had a large circle of friends, '. . . at Strelda there was always open house for their friends'.
When J.H. Finlayson died at home in 1915, the Chronicle paid tribute to ' . . . a record of honorable and most useful labor in the interests of the community'. His death, it was said, '. . . removes from the ranks of Australian journalism one of its oldest and most respected veterans'.
The house appears to have been designed by Rowland Rees. It is characteristic of Rees' use of exuberant detailing with quoins topped by Corinthian capitals and vigorously detailed window surrounds to the substantial bay window. This bay window at the rear with encircling balconies is original, as are many of the internal features, particularly the hall with its ornate ceilings and Corinthian column- supported entablature. Good use has been made of the site which favoured a structure built into the side of the hill. The ornate cast-iron of the veranda is complemented by the cast-iron fencing to Stanley Street.