It had two early owners in the 1850's and 1860's: a civil engineer, surveyor and architect named George Green and then a solicitor named Luke Michael Cullen. However this building became famous from the 1870's onwards because it was the home of Sir Samuel Way, one of South Australia's most famous men.
Samuel Way was a baronet, and chief justice from 1876 until his death in 1916. He was also chancellor of the University, first grand master of the United Grand Lodge of Freemasons in South Australia, and a notable philanthropist.
During the late 1870s Sir Samuel Way refaced and extended the building in Italianate form.
Way's vast alterations included an impressive sweep of marble steps which has survived all subsequent alterations. The house was pre-eminently a reflection of Way's status, interest and tastes.
In the book “A Social History of North Adelaide 1837-1901” Paula Nagel queries Way’s aesthetic tastes but notes that he “certainly had a home and garden not to be equalled by any other in North Adelaide. He entertained a great deal, in administrative, academic, dramatical and musical circles. ‘Montefiore' of the 1870's and 1880's developed a reputation as the 'Centre of the Arts'."
After Way's death the size of Montefiore was considerably reduced, and the house reached its present form. Since 1948 the house has been a major component of Aquinas College, one of the residential colleges of the University of Adelaide.
Now, walk a little further north to look at the house next door.