History of 30 Dequetteville Terrace
The beautiful old building known as “The Club” was built in 1861 from Tapleys Hill bluestone for Mr C Fisher. The property on which the house stands originally extended over several allotments with frontage to Dequetteville Terrace and Angas Street. Large stables stood at the back of the property, complete with coachman’s quarters.
The kurrajong trees and upright cypress by the entrance gates are in the original plans of the garden, as are the two urns flanking the entrance steps, as well as the front gates, railings, twin pillars and stone capping below the railings.
The cedar wood for the doors and windows was imported, as was the flooring of Singapore cedar in the reception rooms. Some of the plate glass windows are also the original panes.
Over the intervening years many changes have been made. In 1896 extra rooms were added to the Angas Street side of the house. These rooms were demolished in 1985 to make way for a new wing including bedrooms, lounge, kitchen and a flat for the State President. The basement rooms were originally the kitchen, servant’s rooms, larder and wine cellar.
In 1896 the land at the back was also disposed of, and the present boundary fence has been the extent of the property since then. In 1923 major additions to the west side were made, the front door moved and a barrel-vaulted hall to connect a new wing of six bedrooms and bathrooms was constructed.
1925 saw the removal of the old slate roof with box guttering and stone parapets, and the present tiled roof was installed. The stone parapets now enclose the verandah, but the original Corinthian pillars have crumbled, and were replaced by round iron pillars.
1979 saw the opening of eight units on the north-east boundary of the property. Then in 1988 a flat was built on the end of the south east wing. 1999 saw two rooms on the south-eastern side turned into a modern catering kitchen.
Archives at the Council list the owners and occupiers of the house as follows:-
- Charles Fisher – original owner.
- George Peter Harris – as a tenant in 1862. Harris, an ironmonger, took George Scarfe and Richard Smith into partnership in 1866 to found the firm of Geo P Harris, Scarfe & Co. That year was his last as the tenant of Charles Fisher’s house.
- Mrs Bayer – as a tenant in 1867/1868. She was believed to be the daughter of Dr Benjamin Archer Kent and widow of Dr JFC Bayer, who had died in 1867.
- Charles Fisher continued to occupy the house himself for some years, as well as other tenants through to 1875/1876.
- John Crimp – Owner/occupier from 1876/1877 to 1881/1882. A coach builder.
- Seth Ferry – Owner/occupier from 1882/1883 to 1886/1887. An auctioneer.
- The owner in the period 1887/1888 to 1893/1894 was given as “Mortgage Co”. It is quite possible that Seth Ferry had got into financial difficulties and had his mortgage foreclosed.
- John F Dick – Owner from 1894/1895 to 1897/1898.
- Jabez Edward Thomas – Owner/occupier from 1898/1899 to 1920/1921.
- Leslie M Harvey – Owner/occupier from 1921 to 1951. Leslie Harvey was connected with the firm of MG Anderson and Co, who were shipping agents, principally for the Orient Line of mail vessels on the England/Australia run.
- The premises were acquired by The South Australian Country Women’s Association Inc for the sum of 26,900 pounds. The purpose of the purchase was to use the premises as a residential club, craft centre and headquarters.
1959 saw what had been the master bedroom become the Member’s Club Room and named the Mary Warnes Room to honour the founder of the Association.
The name of the house was originally Frogmore House but in the 1890’s the then owner changed it to Glannant, the name of his former home in Wales.
In 1963 it was decided to build a State Administration Office as space was not sufficient for the many activities of the Association. The new office built was named Mary Walker House in honour of Mrs WD Walker who was Honorary State Secretary for sixteen years.
The Club, this fine old building, continues to be the Adelaide home for members and friends of The South Australian Country Women’s Association Inc. It is much loved by their members and remains a property that the Association is very proud of.