Colonial / Early Victorian 1860 - 1900

colonial / early victorian home

The first settler's dwellings of any substance were small Georgian style cottages and those with symmetrical fronts [central door with window either side] were commonplace.

The early Pattern Books refer to houses of up to four main rooms under the main roof - a faithful replica of the traditional English country cottage built in an alien environment with simple hip roofs and thick, stone parapet walls often white washed. Early footings, in fact footings right up until around 1910, were just bedded stone.

The earliest examples are characterized by low timber lined matchboard ceilings and doors, little or no eaves, casement windows and a complete absence of verandahs - often added later as the abundant eucalypt forest was cleared from the Adelaide plains.

The floors are large flagstone slates or very broad timber flooring. The narrower Baltic pine floors began at this time and were used almost exclusively from this time onward until the 1960's.

As the colony developed the famous wool clippers on their return journeys from mother England, provided ballast to their hulls, with roofing iron, decorative brick & lacework.

This practice continued way beyond the Late Victorian era and the celebrated and distinctive lacework of Adelaide is now one of its defining historic characteristics. Earlier verandahs were concave, convex supported by square chamfered posts occasionally dressed with timber mouldings. Many of the cities and inner suburbs row cottages [1840 - 1905] were built during this time.

Walling material was predominantly bluestone, with some limestone & sandstone. Bricks were confined to decorative quoin work and the return brick cavity wall did not appear until the 1890's.

Areas where these cottages still stand in decent number include Adelaide City, North Adelaide, Stepney, Thebarton, Norwood, Kensington, Ovingham and Port Adelaide.

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