Duffield Street 6 - Entrance Stairs

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Town or Locality: Gawler East
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DESCRIPTION:

The grand set of Victorian-era entrance steps once formed part of the expansive landscaped grounds of the historic dwelling at 3 Turner Street, Gawler East. The steps and side walls are constructed of stone and brick with a roughcast rendered finish. The splayed walls to either side are finished with a profiled top and arched brick coping and terminate at each end with squared piers. The walls are constructed of rendered stone rubble, with the curved portions of wall constructed of rendered brick. A later galvanised steel pipe handrail and gate have been fitted.

STATEMENT OF HERITAGE VALUE:

Associated with the residence constructed in 1868 by notable builder to Gawler, William Stephen Taylor, at 3 Turner Street, Gawler East, it is likely that the entrance steps date from Gawler’s mid-to-late nineteenth century boom period. They demonstrate the uptake and development of the ‘Nob Hill’ area with premium residences for the town’s successful businessmen and families. Their location at the ‘bottom’ of the allotment help demonstrate the scale and extent of the estate-like properties which lined the Gawler East ridgeline, extending between two street frontages, whereby daily vehicular access was from the street level, rear roadway. Aesthetically, the entrance steps are a high-Victorian folly, providing a creative response to the practical requirement to provide pedestrian access the steep picturesque landscape. The property is associated with a number of prominent local people including WS Taylor and Mrs Ina ‘Pat’ Harbison.

BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

William Paxton, of Burra Mines fortune, held large portions of land in Gawler in the mid- 1840s. In 1849 the area between Lyndoch Road and the South Para River and between East Terrace and High Street was surveyed and subdivided for sale by Paxton, the plan lodged with the General Record Office in 1851.

An undated historic plan indicates that the subject property remained unsold after the original auction.

Allotment 397, fronting Duffield Street and Allotment 402, fronting Turner Street formed a large single property purchased by William Stephen Taylor, Builder, in 1 867. That same year the rateable property was described as ‘unfinished house and garden’. By 1875 the property was rated as one of the most expensive in the Duffield Street block at 60 pounds, and described as ‘residence and garden’.

William Taylor had been around 30 years of age when he started the Gawler building business Taylor and Ponder with John Ponder in 1855. At the time the Duffield Street property was purchased and developed, the firm of Taylor and Ponder was dissolved and William Taylor established Gawler’s pre-eminent building company of the nineteenth century, Taylor and Forgie with Alexander Forgie. As well as many of Gawler’s notable residences, the firm made substantial additions to the Gawler Institute, Gawler Police Station, the Old Spot Hotel, Taylor Bros Butter Factory and Sheard’s Drapers (Essex House).

From the early 1870s Taylor and Forgie extended their business to undertaking, another hugely successful local business, still operational today. William Taylor was Gawler Councillor for East Ward in 1870-71. On Taylor’s death in 1884 the property remained in trust for his spinster wife, Eliza Taylor. Eliza remarried in 1908 to a Ardrossan Farmer, Peter Inkster and from 1911 the property was leased to Arthur Jaffrey, Boot and Shoe Merchant. The Taylor connection ceased when the property was transferred to Thomas Berrett, retired farmer of Barossa Goldfields in 1915.

Like many of the notable dwellings which occupied the Gawler East hillside with dual frontages, pedestrian access was provided to the lower street frontage. The impressive set of masonry steps allowed for this to occur. The property was later subdivided, resulting in the steps being located on the allotment fronting Duffield Street and the residence accessed from the rear, via Turner Street.

Please <click here> to view photos of the stairs at 6 Duffield Street.

see also https://www.flickr.com/photos/gawler_history/14771555391/in/album-72157711630281617/ re 3 Turner Street residence relating to these stairs.

see also https://gawlerhistory.com/Harbison_(Cr)_Dr_John_Henry

see also https://gawlerhistory.com/Harbison_(Cr)_Ina_(Pat)_Patricia

Sources

duffield street stairs
duffield street stairs


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