Waverly is yet another example of the predilection of South Australian pastoralists for a grand house in the city. Following this trend, up-and-coming businessman William Sanders moved from his Parkside house to the newly built house Waverly in 1865. Sanders’ fortunes dated from his arrival in South Australia in 1838. He entered into partnership as a linen merchant with John Whyte in Hindley Street. When John Whyte retired, Sanders entered into partnership with Robert Miller. This business eventually developed into the store of Miller Anderson which operated in Hindley Street until it closed in 1988.

Like many other colonists, Sanders had commercial success that encouraged him to buy land – for example, a section he named Myrtle Bank near Glen Osmond. He also ventured into pastoral pursuits, taking up leases east of the River Murray, and Canowie Station and Curnamona.

He soon moved from Waverly in 1873 to an equally fashionable seaside residence, Lixmount Cottage in Glenelg, where he lived until his death in 1880.

Thomas Richard Bowman, the second owner of Waverly, was one of 10 children born to John and Mary Bowman who first settled in Tasmania in 1829, having emigrated from England. Members of the family took up land in South Australia in the early 1840s. About 1856 brothers John, William and Thomas purchased the 560 square mile property of the Crystal Brook Run, which they worked for 20 years before purchasing the Lake Alexandrina estates of Campbell House and Poltalloch. The brothers’ association with this area led to them being referred to as the Bowmans of the Lakes, a title affectionately used in 1910 after it became known that Thomas Richard had donated £25,000 to more than 20 charities. Commended for his 'splendid beneficience', Thomas was described as a “pathfinding squatter – a fine type who honestly earned the wealth acquired. Not only did the Bowmans labour for years under conditions which few young men of today would be prepared to endure, but time and time again they experienced the bitterness of what appeared to by overwhelming misfortune.” T.R. Bowman lived in Waverly until his death in 1910.

Waverly was designed by James MacGeorge, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 and set up as an architect. He designed such buildings as the Savings Bank of South Australia in King William Street, the Congregational Church at Port Adelaide and his own house in North Adelaide, St Andrews.

The contractor was Charles Farr who, upon his death in 1888, was described as a worthy old colonist and a prominent builder responsible for erecting several of the best buildings in the city.


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Waverly still occupies a complete town acre (No. 664), and is complemented by its garden space, very large mature trees, a substantial wall and outbuildings. The building is one of the few examples in Adelaide of domestic construction that reflects the influence of pattern book designs and general revival detailing. The informally arranged elements, gable faces, mullioned windows, steeply pitched roof and clustered chimneys are reminiscent of Tudor forms and detailing.

The building is of high quality, with well-constructed bluestone rubble walling and well-executed brick dressings. The faced bluestone quoins and the cast-iron enrichment to balcony (an early and distinctive use of this material) are also of note. In 1890 a ballroom was added. Most subsequent additions have been restricted to the ground floor.

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Images of Waverley

  • Waverly and Former Coachhouse, 1989
James MacGeorge
Charles Farr
Building materials
Brick, Iron, Cast iron, Stone, Bluestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.13 Tudor (Jacobethan)
1865 -  

Additional Works

Ballroom Added

Construction commenced
Construction completed
Architecture and design features
gable, Bay window, mullion, quoins, slate roof
Engineering features
South East Corner
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
William Sanders
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 6091/917 F33889 A10 CT 6091/916 F33889 APT 10
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
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.5 Farming Boom
Miller Anderson, Thomas Bowman
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Digest of Proceedings, 23 December 1889, 24 November 1890, Smith Survey 1880; Cockburn, R., Pastoral pioneers of South Australia, Vol. 2, 1925, pp. 158-9; Hirst, J.B., Adelaide and the country, 1973, pp. 37-45; Morgan, E.J.R. & Gilbert, S.H., Early Adelaide architecture, 1969, p. 77; Observer, 22 January 1910; Sanders, W.B., William Sanders and some 'Canowie' history, 1944; South Australian Homes and Gardens, 1 October
  • 1948, pp. 36-7; South Australian Register, 23 December 1864, 19 November 1910; Warburton, E., The Bowmans of Martindale Hall, 1979, pp. 137-8.

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