Stella Bowen: The Fishers of Buxton Street

Stella wrote much about her childhood and teenage friends in Adelaide. One was Hilda Fisher, whose family lived in this large home on Buxton Street. Hilda’s father, F.J. Fisher, was a prominent solicitor. He had this house built in 1908-1909. It was a departure from the two-storey bluestone houses that were a common feature in the area, reflecting changes in architectural fashion. 

Stella admired Hilda and her family, noting that, "Hilda had been to Europe three times, played excellent tennis and really important golf, and was blessed with the quickest tongue and the most effervescent vitality I had ever met. But the chief thing about Hilda was her remarkable mother. Mrs Fisher was every bit as slender, elegant, and spirited as her daughters."

She was particularly impressed by the Fisher’s ability to organise social events: "It was from this family that I first learnt to respect the hard-headedness that goes into the making of anything first-rate – even if its only a party! The Fishers entertained enormously and their parties were the best in town."

The newspapers of the time often described the Fisher’s parties. The Chronicle recounted Hilda's coming out in great detail. It noted that the Fishers "spared no trouble in arranging everything for the enjoyment of their guests. Dancing took place in the large square hall, the floor being specially laid for it. The ballroom looked very bright and pretty decorated with single white chrysanthemums and sprays of beautiful autumn foliage."

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67-75 Buxton Street, North Adelaide