"Springfield", "Strathpey", "Delamere", "Coreega" and "Carrick Hill" are properties all established in what has evolved into today's suburb.
The springs which seeped out of the Mitcham foothills are thought to have inspired the name of the mansion, construction of which was commenced by Charles Burton Newenham between 1842 and 1853. Subsequently the name Springfield was adopted for the whole area.
Sub-Division Plan - 1928
"First of all a contour plan was drawn, showing the exact level of every foot of the Estate, and on it was plotted the position of every tree. Three alternative designs were then prepared by Mr W Scott Griffiths, the Government Town Planner, and from there the final plan gradually evolved, after innumerable adjustments to road alignments and allotment boundaries to enable the preservation of beautiful trees and to ensure the best possible advantages being taken of contours, natural features and spectacular views"
"SPRINGFIELD is delightfully situated…"
"An exclusive new residential community….within the four mile radius of the city's centre", was how the subdivision of Springfield was promoted in the 1928 publicity booklet.
The street names of "Woodland" "Meadowvale", "Elmglade", "Oakdene", "Glenwood", "Hillside", and "Brookside" reflect the undulations of the district's foothills and expectations of the still strong English sentiments, " a beautiful setting for beautiful homes".
Situated on the north east side of the Mitcham district, the land was first purchased from the crown in 1841 by Richard F. Newland, manager of the Bank of Australasia. By 1870 Charles B. Hardy, was making extensive additions to a residence named "Springfield", laying out extensive gardens and adding to the acreage of the estate.
Fifty years ago the area was purchased from Mr. Frank Rymill by Springfield Limited which boasted a subdivisional design "entirely different from any previous scheme or organised suburban development in South Australia…..
Many months of painstaking work were absorbed in the perfection of the subdivisional design" by the Government Town Planner, Mr Walter Scott- Griffiths, "who quickly grasped the unique potentialities of Springfield."
Development of the area was well advanced by early August 1928 and Mr. Scott-Griffiths congratulated those responsible, for implementing his design, Messrs. Wilkinson, Sando and Wyles. He believed it was "the first private subdivision in Australia to secure its streets from the blemish and eyesore of telephone and electric supply poles" The quaint wrought-iron standard lanterns, street-name signs".. and the "delightful rustic stone bridges, all of which harmonise admirably with Springfield's individual atmosphere" were designed for the purpose by Mr. E. Phillips Danker of Messrs. F.W. Danker & Son, architects and still remain as part of our heritage.
To ensure the development of Springfield as a first residential community every allotment was to be sold subject to rigid conditions enforced by encumbrances. These "Protective Building Restrictions" were out lined in the promotion booklet. That there should be "only one house per allotment" and "no house to be built nearer to the front of an allotment than the building alignment which will be indicated. This is purely a co-operative precaution so that every house may enjoy the utmost benefit of view, outlook and its neighbours gardens",
High ideals indeed ! Even half a century later, surrounding suburbs still argue with the authorities about the relative importance of power and sewage lines against trees. What has happened to the high minded concept of a view not intruded by a neighbour's dwelling?
It was perhaps unfortunate that this subdivision was promoted at the beginning of the Great Depression and not at the beginning of the land boom after World War 1. Allotments were slow being sold. Restrictions on building materials during World War 11 and the subsequent demand for residential land in the post war years of the 1950's caused the apparently outdated :Protective Building Restrictions" of the 1920's to be relaxed or forgotten.
Today, to drive up Springfield Avenue, the main artery of the subdivision, or travel radially from it along the 1920's "pleasantly winding roadways" one becomes conscious that anyone who was anyone had to stake a claim in "a beautiful setting for beautiful homes". The spiral of demand for the real estate and subsequent rising land values appears to have caused further subdivision of the large allotments to seemingly postage stamp size. The stately home, "Springfield" once considered as a substitute government house between 1924 and 1926 is almost completely hidden by private residences, architecturally designed no doubt.