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3 October 1913 Peter Waite

3 October 1913          Peter Waite

On 3 October 1913 Peter Waite wrote to the government announcing his wish to hand over his estate at Urrbrae to the University of Adelaide for the development of an agricultural research centre with some of the land to be used to establish a school. The land at Glen Osmond had been granted to John Brown, who became editor of the Adelaide Times, in 1839. About 1841 Scotsman, Robert Macgeorge purchased the property; he built a single storey house in 1844 and named it ‘Urrbrae’ after his birthplace near the River Urr, adding ‘brae’ because of the background of hills. After Macgeorge was drowned when the Royal Charter was wrecked in 1859 the house was leased to Edward Stirling, a pastoralist. About 1864 the Rev. W.H. Mudie moved his school from Tower House, Beaumont to Urrbrae. Peter Waite purchased the property in 1874 and in the 1880s rebuilt the old house, erecting a 35 room, two storey mansion. He also added the 165 acre Claremont and Netherby properties and a further 114 acres of adjoining land to the 135 acre Urrbrae estate. When he died on 4 February 1922 the University came into possession of this valuable estate and the Waite Agricultural Research Institute came into being in 1924. Waite also left 5880 shares in Elder Smith to provide funds to enable the University to utilise the land for the purpose intended. His other wish for a school to be established was realised in 1932 with the opening of the Urrbrae Agricultural High School.

Eric Gunton, Gracious Homes of Colonial Adelaide, Adelaide, 1983, pp.129-30.
W.A. Norman, History of the City of Mitcham, Adelaide, 1953, pp. 144-46.

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