This cottage you see was built for John Griffin and his family in 1857-1858. In 1890 his son Martin, a saddler and collar maker, took over ownership of the property with his sister Mary. The cottage remained with the Griffin family until 1914.
A labourer, John Griffin had arrived in South Australia from Ireland with his wife Honora and their son Martin in 1852. The city was short of labourers due to the Victorian gold rush, and in a few short years John had saved enough money to buy land on Maud Street from Randolph Isham Stow for £35.
Working class families such as the Griffins were typical residents of the southwest. By the late 19th Century, this corner of the city had many of these tiny working class houses, crammed together on small plots with little drainage or proper sewerage. There were no strict building regulations or deep drainage until the 1880s. Living conditions in the area declined as the population grew dramatically. Wealthier citizens moved to outer suburbs and the city became the home of some of the colony's poorest. Factories, warehouses and light industrial complexes also moved into the southwest corner. It was a dingy and noisy place to live.
This small cottage measures only 12.5 metres x 12 metres, and consists of three rooms. It has stayed relatively unchanged; only an iron lean-to has been added. The cottage has bluestone rubble walls, brick quoins and a slate roof enclosed by raised gable ends.
Many of these surviving small working-class cottages are now attractive residential properties to those keen to live in the city.