This house is best known for its connection to the prominent South Australian family the Downers.
Sir John William Downer was born in Adelaide in 1843. The Downers were a well-known and highly regarded family of lawyers and legislators. John practised law with his brother, Alexander George Downer. Alexander also had a highly successful career in politics, becoming attorney general, chief secretary, treasurer and also premier. Alexander was also a South Australian senator in the first Commonwealth Parliament from 1901-1903.
This house was built in 1876-1877. It was probably designed by well-known colonial architect Rowland Rees. The chimney top details and the unusual combination of brick strings, sandstone ashlar walling, and sandstone detailing are typical of Rees.
The Downers added a billiard room and ballroom to the rear in 1882-83. The family owned the home until 1924, when it was bought for St Mark’s College, a residential college for the University of Adelaide.