BAG History Group / Adey Road
#6 Adey Road Blackwood
The 2015 series of articles focussed on historic landmarks around the Blackwood district by The Blackwood Action Group history team.
"Adey Road Blackwood: a prestigious address"
In 2015 the Adey Road precinct was declared an Historic Conservation Area in recognition of its importance in the historical and architectural development of the district.
The area extends from Coromandel Parade, where the character is established by houses and attached shops, through to the purely residential Adey Road.
The street now known as Adey Road was originally the southern end of Gladstone Road which was divided in 1883 by the Adelaide to Nairne railway line just west of the Blackwood Tunnel.
In 1928 the line was doubled and larger engines began to be used, making the size of the tunnel inadequate. The bridge on Coromandel Parade replaced the tunnel. Later the southern section of Gladstone Road was named Aden Road in honour of William Adey, Director of Education, 1929-1939, who lived at number 26.
In many ways the development of the Adey Road precinct mirrors the development of Blackwood itself, particularly in relation to the impact of the arrival of the railway in 1883.
‘The Adey Road area is part of an important 1879 subdivision associated with the survey and construction of the rail line from Adelaide. It reflects speculative land subdivision and subsequent residential development in the Hills at that time’. (Mitcham Development Plan)
One such speculator was Daniel Johnson (of Johnson Parade), a bullock driver with a keen eye for investment. Arriving in the district in 1852, at one time he owned all the land from Johnson Parade to the Sturt River. His investment paid dividends with the Adelaide to
Melbourne railway line proposed in the mid-1970s running through his property. Johnson Parade is thought to have been the driveway to his house.
Much of the initial residential development was undertaken by Daniel Hewett, an established builder who moved to Blackwood with his family in 1882 to take advantage of the need for houses by people attracted to the district by the arrival of the railway.
Hewett built houses for his family and other residents from 1882 until his retirement in 1917, including many of the houses on the west side of Adey Road on allotments bought by him shortly after subdivision.
The house designs range from stone and brick villas to smaller and later bungalows. Some architectural characteristics include steeply pitched roofs, decorative timber gables, prominent front verandahs some of which are incorporated under the main roof, and tall brick chimneys.
The Blackwood Magazine reported that by 1914 half the houses in Blackwood had been built by Daniel Hewett and other members of his family. Robert Henry (Daniel’s eldest son), Albert Ernest (his youngest son) and John Henry (his grandson) were involved in building houses in Blackwood until the 1960s.
The 2015 Plan comments even now ‘Few intrusive elements disrupt the consistent character of the [Adey Road] area’.