The terrace residents numbered among them women who earned a living by teaching at home. The South Australian directories show that in 1874 one of the terraces was a ladies school conducted by Mrs G. Francis, and that in 1889, Mrs Amelia Coombes held a day school there. Conditions must have been poor for the women and children as the amenities were spartan and W.H. Gray invariably allowed his rental buildings to become run-down.
Gray was not popular with the City Council, which on many occasions referred to properties owned by him that were unfit for human habitation. As a very early Adelaide speculator, much of his property was simply worn-out and dilapidated by the end of the century. After Gray’s death his executors demolished all the property considered run-down and built new but fewer properties, as they found that more revenue could be made that way.
In 1888, Victoria Terrace, one of Gray’s properties, was condemned and considered unfit for human habitation. However it survived, perhaps because the residences were larger and better constructed than the many row cottages that formed the bulk of Gray’s estate in the city.
The present austere appearance of these former residences is reminiscent of the terrace at 71-79 Archer Street, North Adelaide. They are simple though substantially built and demonstrate the work of a master builder. Rear apartments are typically mid-Victorian, with indented walling to light internal rooms. There have been subsequent extensive alterations, parts demolished and the ground floors converted to commercial use.