Strelda (the original name), later Admaston was built in 1878 as the residence of a widely esteemed and very successful nineteenth century journalist. John Harvey Finlayson was then editor of the Register at the peak of an exemplary career. He entered the Register office as a junior in 1861 on invitation because of his achievements at school; was invited to join the proprietary in 1877, and became editor from 1878 until his retirement in 1897. The Register was the major newspaper in South Australia at that time.

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.


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The house significantly complements and reinforces the imposing residential nature of Stanley Street.

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Images of Strelda

  • Admaston
Rowland Rees
Building materials
Render, Stucco, Stone, Sandstone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.6 Filigree
1879 -
Architecture and design features
Rowland Rees, quoins, Corinthian, Bay window, capital
Engineering features
Lower North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
John Harvey Finlayson
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 6038/550 F51846 A100
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
2.4 City Dwellers: City, state and business leaders
4.1 Development of City Services
4.1.8 Establishing communications
The Register
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Smith Survey field book 19, p. 78; Chronicle, 3 April 1915; Jensen, E.
  • & R., Colonial architecture in South Australia, 1980, p. 117; Morgan, E.J.R., & Gilbert, S.H., Early Adelaide architecture 1836 to 1886, 1969, p. 117.

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