Adelaide has a large collection of terrace houses of a distinctive regional variation and while it is not held as highly for its terraced housing as Sydney or Melbourne, it is notable as having significantly more of this kind of housing than the larger cities of Brisbane or Perth.
Adelaide’s unusual layout means that the bulk of its terraced rows can be found within or nearby the central city in the adjoining older areas close to its planned parks and squares. Double storey terraces are most common although single storey rows can also be found. It is extremely rare to find taller terrace houses in South Australia, Marine Apartments in beachside Grange being a notable exception. Freestanding terraces and single storey terraces can be found elsewhere within 5 kilometres of the city centre.
Significant collections can be found in the southern end of the CBD around Hurtle Square, Carrington Street, North Adelaide, Kent Town and in beachside Glenelg along Sussex Street.
Adelaide’s terraces are among the most distinctive in Australia, exhibiting a distinctly regional variation. While the flat terrain gives apparent similarities to terraces in Melbourne, the materials used and the design set Adelaide terraces apart as some of the most elegant and refined of the colonies. Sandstone and local basalt (bluestone) were typically used. Although sandstone was used extensively in Sydney’s terraces and bluestone in Melbourne’s, the local rocks had significantly different textures. The limitations of these materials gave Adelaide terraces an enduring elegance of the colonial Regency style and solidity that was rarely matched in the larger capitals. The use of cast iron never reached the exuberance of other cities and while it was still used it was frequently restrained in favour of refined wood patterning. Additionally in Adelaide there was neither the emphasis on parapets of Melbourne or the regulation party walls which defined Sydney’s terraces and verandahs. Adelaide terraces of the 1870s and 1880s typically featured similar window mouldings, often flat arched windows sometimes with keystones and frequently quoins were simulated at end terraces. An even rarer Adelaide variation is for setback first (and sometimes second) storeys cascading toward the street.
The first terraces appeared in Adelaide in the 1860s and by the 1870s a boom in terraced housing had gone into full swing in the city. By the 1880s, the style had reached a peak and it subsided fell out of fashion quicker than Sydney and Melbourne. Interestingly, however, many subsequent housing styles in inner Adelaide, particularly the popular units, emulated the sprawling attached form of terrace housing complementing the city’s distinctive streetscapes.
Significant Adelaide Terrace Houses
- Albert Terrace
- Grange Apartments