“Roseneath”, Walkerville SA
National Trust Georgian villa “Roseneath” in Walkerville, South Australia, is confirmed as a State Heritage Place in the SA Heritage. Built c 1847, it is significant as a fine example of an early two storey brick residence. The tunnel, with its wine cellar, is also significant as a rare example of an underground structure, designed in the English tradition of rural estates, linking the main house with the service building. The wine cellar is a reminder of Roseneath’s early vineyard and recalls its role as one of the early rural estates along the River Torrens, where olive trees, vines and almonds were grown in the first years of settlement.
The seven roomed two story house, built mostly of brick with a slate roof was completed in 1849 for James Wyld MacDonald, an official at the Burra Mines. It is constructed mainly of brick, although outbuildings are of limestone. The bricks were possibly baked locally on the site, since Section 477 is known to have contained a brick making enterprise at the time of Roseneath’s construction. In its early days, olive trees and rows of vines surrounded the house and an avenue of almond trees led from the gates to the front door. The rear limestone cottage, stables and coach house were built at the rear of the house and it is understood that the cottage would have been used as servants quarters. An underground brick lined tunnel leads from the cottage to the house.
The house reflects characteristic colonial design elements wedded with the English design techniques. The main residence has been cut into the bank, similar in style to a number of two storeyed early colonial dwellings in South Australia. The ground level entrance door is mounted with a semi-circular window. Ground level main windows are twin casement, while French lattice doors open nearly floor to ceiling on the upper level. The tunnel and cellars add to the uniqueness.
James MacDonald lived intermittently at the house after the death of his wife in 1853 until his own death and his second wife returned to Roseneath until 1905. The property was subdivided and sold, forming Cluny Avenue. Roseneath was later divided into flats. The drawing room upstairs was used as a studio for a number of years in the 1930s by Mary Harris, a noted local artist and teacher in the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts. Roseneath was restored to a family residence during the 1970s.
Interior Heritage Reconstruction Work
In March 2009, Lancaster Painters Australia successfully completed internal repaint and decorative finish work of the main house dining room and one bedroom. In the dining room, we straightened the line around all the walls between the lighter and darker colours. We cut the required stencil design by hand and applied it to the walls on the lighter colour, two inches below the darker colour, using a heritage colour scheme.
In the bedroom we applied the Anaglypta wallpaper border chosen by the client around the top of the walls and painted it in the colour chosen by the client. To highlight the pattern of the wallpaper, we picked out all the raised sections of the design using gold.
Exterior Heritage Repaint Work
In May 2010, Lancaster Painters Australia completed professional heritage repaint work to the external sides of the main building and servants quarters. All the fascias, posts, lattice, door frame, as well as the rails, posts and floors of the top floor front veranda and two small ground floor verandas were painted in a traditional heritage colour scheme. Gary Lancaster applied lime wash to the external walls of both the main house and the servants quarters.