Downer House

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.