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1 June 1880 Marble Hill

 1 June 1880   Marble Hill

On 1 June 1880 the Advertiser reported that the new summer residence for the Governor at Norton Summit was completed. Marble Hill, so named because some marble had been found on a hill near the site, was the inspiration of Sir William Jervois who became Governor in October 1877.

The building, to replace the small house at Belair, was begun in 1878 and was built of local sandstone with some stone from Crafers. Its main entrance was a spacious portico in the base of a solid tower facing south, above which were two small balconies with French windows and above these was a castellated stone look-out from which a marvellous view of the city and the gulf could be obtained.

The mansion had 26 rooms and the grand staircase had steps and risers of Huon pine. The total cost was £31,300. Jervois left to become Governor of New Zealand in 1882 and his successor, Sir William Robinson, apparently 'felt lonely' on the hill and preferred the seaside at Glenelg. However, the next Governor, the Earl of Kintore, enjoyed the house and added to the gardens. 

In 1912 the house was threatened by a bushfire, but it was in the Black Sunday bushfires of 2 January 1955 that the elegant house was destroyed with only the walls left standing. The Governor, Sir Robert George, his family and staff escaped the blaze by sheltering under wet blankets by a bank in the driveway. The house has only been partially restored.

Judith Brown,  Country Life in Pioneer South Australia , Rigby, Adelaide, 1977. pp. 91-108.

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