Hawthorn is derived from a part of Durham County in England. Parts were previously known as Dellwood, Joyce Park and Audrey Park.
During summer, a cool walk, coloured with blue flowering jacaranda trees and agapanthus, can be enjoyed along the shaded streets of Hawthorn. The Brownhill Creek has always wandered diagonally across this area as has the railway, built at the time of early suburb subdivision in the 1880s.
Hawthorn suburb covers a whole 134 acre section and half of another from the original survey. It is a coincidence that Cross is the name of the northern boundary road as well as the surname of James and Mary who leased this Section 235 from JM Phillipson in the early days until 1856. Cross Road was known as Napier Road for many years. Although the northern half of Kingswood was also owned by JM Phillipson, Unley Road divided his property to form the eastern boundary of Hawthorn. The section of Unley Road through our district has changed its name first to Victoria Terrace and is now Belair Road. Sussex Terrace is the west boundary and Grange Road is on the south. George Street divides Sections 235 and 234.
In the Beginning
At the time of the first Council rate assessment there was a six room house worth L150 on Phillipson's property which was apparently still there on the NW corner of Devonshire and Kent Streets in 1881.
1857-61 it was leased to Edward Ridley after his wife's death until his own death in 1861, leaving six children between the ages of six to sixteen. From 1862-70 the property was in the name of Mr Boerten and was leased to WM Scholtz from 1867-1870, then to Lewes Kell who grew hay for his chaff-cutting business. Mr Kell began pioneering at Willunga, then, to gain further agriculture and outback experience, managed properties. The lease of Euro Bluff Station, at the bottom of Lake Torrens was granted to him in 1863 for a year and was later taken up by WR Mortlock, who also invested in the Colonel Light Gardens area. Returning to the Adelaide Plains, Lewes Kell rented ground covering present day suburbs of Kingswood, Colonel Light Gardens and Hawthorn from absentee landlords. It needs to be remembered that hay and chaff was the fuel for transport by horse and bullock and large paddocks needed to be set aside for this purpose. Hawthorn was subdivided in 188O .
Subdivision occurred from the 1880s to the 1960s, however although sales took place, it is not necessarily an indication of settlement. Although the section north of George Street was all offered in 1880 the number of 19th century houses are few, some may have been demolished due to urban-consolidation in recent years.
Churches were a major influence in the social lives of 19th century communities, due to Hawthorn's small scattered population it was 1898 before St Columba Church of England established. In 1903 a Presbyterian Church was established by Rev. Robert Mitchell formerly of Clare and Beltana. Both churches add to the heritage of the area along with a couple of corner stores and several groups of shops from this time, on Belair Road.
Meanwhile the southern part of the suburb between George Street and Grange Road has a different story. It was more closely settled from 1852 when the South Australian Company agent Frederick W Zabell began to sell it off as 7 to 15 acres blocks. Mr Zabell had built a house on his 15 acres by 1850 in the vicinity of the new shopping centre on the corner of Wemyss Street and Belair Road. In fact some of the "Abbotshall" garden has survived near the cream brick flats that front Abbotshall Road. Robert Wemyss owned this area between 1899 and 1913 when it was subdivided. Modern subdivision continued between the 1910s to the 1960s.
Henry Robinson established a property in 1853 where the Brownhill Creek still runs and the Mitcham Library stands today. Within ten years he owned land back to Hawthorn Crescent and called his property "Middlecott" and it remained in the family until the early 1880s. Annie Marie Scott, a relation of Robinson's wife's who had inherited the property, married John D Boorman and became the parents of Lawrence D Boorman, Mitcham Council's longest serving Town Clerk.
William Rashleigh, was a neighbour on the west of the Robinsons where the Price Memorial Oval is now. He settled there in 1853 and by 1866 he had taken over Mitcham's first bus from Mrs Kinsman to become an omnibus driver and moved to Mitcham Village to live. His 12 3/4 acres in Hawthorn had a quick succession of owners, Then in 1875 William Bloor became the owner and later added more land through to Belair Road. His house stood near the corner of Angas and Hawthorn Crescent.
No doubt influenced by the advent of the tram and railway lines attracting people to seek building blocks, William sold the attractive Belair frontage of his land in 1882 to Simone Russell Bosisto, an accountant of Strathalbyn. He transferred it to his eldest son Reginald G. who built "St Georges", a six room house with stables. It is named in his mother's family's honour as was George Street. The three and 3/4 acre property was owned from 1887 by Johann Wilhelm Theodor Ehmicke, Timber Merchant of Adelaide who died in 1908, the family then sold it in 1911 to Albert Edward Nott, Brewery Manager of Adelaide. After World War 2, in a run-down condition Mitcham Council bought the property with the idea of building a new Civic Centre there. However, today it is Mitcham Community Court used by the Mitcham Airforce Association, Mitcham Pre-School, Red Cross meeting room etc.
Next door, in 1883 Ernst Wilhelm Theodor Pustkuchen Merchant of Adelaide bought almost 5 acres. He proceeded to build a substantial two story house of 10 rooms which he named "Willow Brook" now known as "Frimley". In 1897 it was sold to Lucy Grierson Howard wife of Frederick Charles Howard merchant of Medindie, "for her separate use". After her death in 1950 this property passed to her daughter Barbara a singing teacher, who built a small house next door, and Council purchased the Belair Road frontage to be developed as Soldiers Memorial Gardens. This Memorial was extended in the name of Mitcham Memorial Library when it was opened on this land in 1965 along with the little water fountain dedicated to Dr Arthur Gault the local doctor who died during World War I. In 1963 the Meals on Wheels kitchen and later Mitcham Senior Citizens rooms were built, the latter now used also as the "Women's Meeting Place".
Soon after qualifying as a medical practitioner in England, Arthur Gault migrated to Australia and in 1890 bought a block of land between Belair Road and Brownhill Creek and built "Ardmeen", a residence with adjoining surgery. He, and later his son Kyle became well known doctors around Mitcham. "Nunyara" a home for consumptives was established by him at Belair. Due his asthmatic problems Dr Arthur Gault brought the first car into Mitcham around 1900 after visiting England. He also was Health Inspector to Council and this may have contributed to the Council Ward bearing his name. Crafter Medical Centre carries on his medical service as Ken Crafter was in partnership with Dr Kyle Gault. A century after being built, his home has been remodelled as the "Lenzerheide Restaurant".
The three unmarried Bloor daughters, Catherine, Selina and Margaret were approached by members of the Hawthorn Vigilance Committee to buy the property for an oval in 1910. Mr Edwin J Hosking, a land agent, was the moving force behind the project subdividing land between Hawthorn Crescent and Egmont Tec to pay for the oval land. The Audrey Park subdivision of 19 allotments were sold within three months which enabled the Hawthorn Oval Trust to complete the purchase. It subsequently became known as the Price Memorial Oval, named after the first SA Labour Premier who lived nearby. It was opened in 1911 and transferred to Mitcham Council 1928 although the Trust continued to manage it until 1947.
Mr Bloor had already donated some land in 1896 for a Church of Christ to serve the new residents of the "Working Men's Blocks", called Cottonville, west of Hawthorn. The Cottonville Mission Chapel was of wood and iron and in 1916 replaced by a stone building built by Mr P Culley of neighbouring Hawthorn.
In 1912 the Methodist Church held its first public service in the Hawthorn Bowling Club House and later met in Hawthorn home of Westbourne Park school master, Mr JL Rossiter until 1913. The current church was designed by Mr PH Claridge and was opened in 1925 on the corner of Monmouth Ave and Sussex Tce. Hawthorn.
The area between Angas and Grange Roads was mostly subdivided in the 1920s. For at least 50 years the Thomas family had run cows there before the land began to change hands. "Bowilla" or "Atholwood" was built in the 1900s with large bay window to create a music room.
Hollard's Garden Centre began in 1915 as a firewood supplier. On the next corner was Bosley Ware a glazed pottery business started with Government Assistance during the Great Depression. Bread crocks, garden gnomes, pots and plates all grazed distinctively green or mustard colours. The take-away shops on the corner of Grange and Belair Roads have replaced home cooking using the products of Mases Meat shop. This small family butcher expanded their business after the War to a chain of shops throughout the metropolitan area and in Adelaide City. They produced small goods and pre-packed cuts of meat on these premises.
The construction of the Railway across Hawthorn had a profound influence on its development as a suburb because people no longer had to live near their work. The train provided a fast and reliable service to Adelaide. Development was slow during the Depression of the 1890s, house building confined to a few scattered villas and cottages north of George Street. Later there was a flurry of subdivision in the 1910s and 1920s with infill taking place after World War II. The 1960s saw Housing Trust of SA build 60 dwellings in the area, forty of which were flats known as Bonython Court.
The creek which was so important to the early settlers still gives the suburb its' ambience by the attractive parks and mature old trees which trace its course.
See Hawthorn Chronology (3784 kb) for more information.