46-14 - Roche House - 21 Palmer Place

This house has a connection with the famous Ayers family. You've heard of Ayers Rock? We now call it Uluru but it was named in English after Sir Henry Ayers who was five times Premier of South Australia. This house was built in 1905 by Sir Henry’s son, Arthur Ernest Ayers.

After Arthur Ayers' death the house passed in the 1920s to Sir Collier Cudmore, solicitor; president of the Liberal and Country League in the 1930’s. He was also an Olympic gold medallist in 1908, as a rower – rowing for Britain where he was studying at the time.

The house was purchased by Aquinas College in 1953; effectively extending the college from the historic Montefiore building to its left.

Such a purchase by an institution reflected social changes after the Second World War, such as the steep decline in the numbers of women working as domestic servants, and the difficulties of continuing to maintain grand city residences.

The building is an excellent example of a large federation house in which emphasis was placed on assymetry, variety of roof form (tiles, gables and projections were common) and notable detailing to the brickwork – especially the porch and adjacent window, and the quality of the joinery inside.

Heritage experts have noted that there are unsympathetic additions at the rear of the building but these are not obtrusive. Its use as a residential college is compatible with the original function but has required some internal alterations.

The house is a highly significant part of the streetscape because of its scale and its landscaped surroundings.

Now, walk a little further north to look at the house next door.



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