Celebrating South Australia


24 April 1837 Government House

 24 April 1837   Government House

The first Government House in Adelaide, built by the seamen of the Buffalo, and often referred to as the 'Thatched Hut', was ready for occupation by Governor Hindmarsh, his wife, three daughters, a son and a maid servant, on 24 April 1837.

This crudely constructed building did not suit Hindmarsh's successor, Gawler, who quickly decided that a better and more fitting house was needed. In November 1838 he appointed a Board to discuss plans for the viceregal residence. The first tender of £7000 was considered too high for the new colony to bear at the time, but by February 1839, differences of opinion notwithstanding, the building was under way. It was completed by May 1840 and was described as a 'splendid building' erected on the 'most commanding and delightful spot on the Park Lands on the north side of Adelaide'.

On 12 January 1841 the old Government House was destroyed by fire. In 1849 a wall, to replace the wooden fence around the property, was built and in 1855 a new guardhouse, gates and flagstaff were erected. Additions made in 1855 virtually doubled the size of the house with a two storey addition to the south west of the main building. A further two storey addition was made in 1862 comprising new kitchen, pantry, and storeroom. More alterations were made over the years until by 1952 it had reached its present proportions.

Susan Marsden, Paul Stark, Patricia Sumerling (eds), Heritage of the City of Adelaide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990, pp. 252-254.