From the Register 1926

The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929)  Mon 13 Dec 1926

KENT TOWN

By A. T. Saunders.

In Monday’s Register I asked where Logue’s Brewery actually was, and on Tuesday morning, by first postal delivery, I received a plan of part of Kent Town from an anonymous sender, showing the position of Logue’s brewery and of the ruins of Dr Kent’s mill. My unknown informant writes that Kent Town was cut up diagonally to retard the sale of Norwood, but I doubt if that was the reason. I think it was because the shape of the Section 255 compelled Mr. William Wadham, the surveyor, who laid out Kent Town, in April, 1854, to put Rundle street where it is, or to lose frontage or area and have diagonal instead of rectangular blocks.

It is now a pity that Rundle street, Kent Town, does not join on to the Parade, Norwood, but in 1854 there was no road across the park lands to Section 255, Kent Town, other than the road from the comer of North and East terraces to the Maid and Magpie, which, unfortunately, did not run due east from North terrace.

The first road to join the two Rundle streets was made by public subscription, and was costly to make, over the deep East Park Lands gully, though it was narrower and lower than the present road. My correspondent says that Bailey’s old house is still there, unaltered, and that Logue’s brewery is still intact. This was confirmed to-day by a son of Mr. Logue and by Mr. Fred Charlick and on Wednesday afternoon I went to see the Co-operative Mineral Water Company’s factory, King William street, Kent Town, which occupies the old brewery, and adjoining it on the west side is the cottage in which Mr. Logue lived, and in which his son was born.

The Register (7/2/1861) has a good account of the (then) Adelaide breweries, and refers to Logue’s of Kent Town. The Observer (7/2/1863) mentions that in 1862 Logue’s Brewery had been burnt, and afterwards flooded. Mr. Logue died 30/6/1865, and Mr. E. T. Smith, Logue’s employee or partner, who had been an Adelaide saddler, survived and prospered. The register (1/6/1868) gives an account of the Adelaide breweries, and mentions Smith’s.

The position of Dr Kent’s brickworks and mill is not yet clear. The Register (21/11/1840) says:- — ‘Dr. Kent’s Steam Works — Bricks of an exceptionable quality from clay milled by steam can be supplied to any extent at the steam mills on Section 255 immediately opposite the end of Rundle street.’

And The Register (26/12/1840) writes that — ‘Dr. Kent begs to announce that he is ready to receive corn to grind and dress at his steam mills on Section 255, immediately opposite the east end of Rundle street.’

This is not the place my correspondent indicates. Dr Kent’s corn mill was not long at Kent Town, as it was, in the early 40’s, moved to Grenfell street, where Milne’s bond now is, and his old premises were used for some time by Mr. Grayling for smelting various ores, &c.

Dr Kent’s connection with Section 255 was accidental.

How that connection occurred is recorded in The Register of 3/5/1851, in a law case, Kent against R. R. Torrens. It appears that Dr Kent, in London, decided to come to Adelaide and bring machinery for brickmaking and milling and begin as a brickmaker and miller in Adelaide.

The doctor got into touch with Col. Torrens and a Mr. Blunden, and was induced by Blunden’s description of Section 46, which is west of Section No. 1, Col. Light’s, and adjoins it, and also fronts the Torrens on its north boundary, to lease Section 46 at a high rental; but when he arrived in Adelaide the doctor found he had been misled, and Section 46 was no use to him for brickmaking. Osmond Gilles seems to have acted for Col. Torrens till Mr. R. R. Torrens arrived, and it was arranged that the doctor should take Section 255 in place of Section 46, as Mr. Gilles had already made 172,000 bricks on Section 255.

(Editor’s Note – for the location of the sections, please check the map at the top of this post. The map, held by the State Library of South Australia, is the1841 version of Colonel Light’s original survey.)

So Dr Kent took possession with a right of purchase at £2,500. For some reason Col. Torrens did not agree to what had been done in Adelaide, and, 1/5/1851, the case came before Judge Crawford. Then came the Victorian gold boom, and mixed matters more and more, and the law case was apparently not finally decided in any way.

In 1853 another complication arose. Col. Torrens seems to have sold Section 255 to a Mr. Charles Robin for £6,000, and the doctor and Mr. Robin each apparently paid £8,000 (instead of £3,500 tor the section, as the doctor claimed in 1849). Kent Town was surveyed in 1854 by Mr. Surveyor Wadham, and Green & Wadham were to offer it at auction on the Queen’s birthday, 1854, and did so at 1 p.m., after the levee and a launch at noon. Of the 134 acres Dr Kent reserved 13 acres and Mr. Robin 17 acres.

The balance was cut up into 326 quarter-acre blocks, of which 127 were sold (24/5/1854) at the sale for £13,612 13/, an average of £430 per acre. Park land frontages brought from £800 to £1,050 per acre. Everything seemed lovely, but there came a bombshell. A. Mr. James Thoume, of Guernsey, said Mr. Robin was only his agent, and an action began in Adelaide (25/7/1858), in the Equity Court, and a mass of curious and interesting evidence, oral and written, was given.

However, judgment was given in favour of Charles Robin (29/11/1858).

There was a little colony of Guerneymen here about 1850, and James Robin and several others were connected with the case. Robin Brothers, late of Manchester, had arrived here early in 1849 and in The Register (18/4/1849) announced that they had begun business as drapers, &c, in King William street, next door to Drs Bayer and Eades. The latter came here in 1849, as doctor of the Roman Emperor, and in 1852 went to Melbourne, and about 1858 became Mayor of Melbourne.

Kent Town, Section 255, is awkwardly shaped, with not a right angle in its boundary, and is bounded on all its four sides by Government roads, and has two frontages to the park lands, and is therefore unique. Section 460, Medindie, is the only other section with a park lands frontage and Government roads on all its four sides.

Surveyor Wadham started from the road to the Maid and Magpie, and laid out King William street, Kent Town, and Rundle Street, Kent Town, parallel with the Maid and Magpie road, and rightly so, in the owners’ interests. The other streets were made from Rundle Street comer to the Britannia comer line, and again in the owner’s interests. The reserved block of 26 acres was bounded by Rundle street, Young street, Pine street, and Dequetteville terrace, half for Mr. Robin (where Prince Alfred College is), and half for Dr Kent, north of Mr. Robin’s 13 acres. Four acres fronting Pirie and Flinders streets were also reserved for Mr. Robin, on which Mr. James Robin built his house. I think that Mr. Wadham made an excellent plan, a copy of which is in the Land Office, No. 32, on the margin of which is drawn part of Bayley’s garden, Peacock’s Salem House, and Green’s Exchange, King William street.