Heritage Places of Adelaide

Dwelling ('Ruthven Mansions')

15-27 Pulteney Street ADELAIDE

State Heritage Place

Ruthven Mansions are historically and architecturally significant because they represented, when built, a benchmark in luxury accommodation in Australia, incorporating innovations such as central vacuum cleaning, automated doors, mechanical ventilation, electric light and an electric lift. Despite subsequent cycles of dilapidation and refurbishment, and the loss of original internal details, the Mansions are an important example of this style of residential accommodation, and are among the earliest of Australia's multi-storey apartments. Built in two stages (1912 and 1915), the Mansions were erected for Ruthven Frederic Ruthven-Smith, a London investor. Stage one, designed by local architects Black and Fuller and constructed by A R Maddern and Son, originally consisted of twelve large apartments, one of which was occupied by the prominent Kyffin Thomas family of Register Newspaper fame. It was also the address of W A Webb, SA Railways Commissioner, such residents attesting to the desirability of these apartments by well-to-do Adelaide families. Stage two, of five storeys, was built by W C Torode and consisted of about twenty-eight flats, the facades to Pulteney and Austin Streets continuing the design of the earlier four storey section to the south. The design, strongly residential in character, is a distinctive full bodied interpretation of the Gothic and Art Nouveau styles without parallel in South Australia. [Adapted from: Marsden, S, Stark, P, Sumerling, P, 'Heritage of the City of Adelaide', Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990]

Listing Information

  • Date of Listing: 11 September 1986

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