The Grange: Sturt’s home in South Australia
Built in 1840/41 for the Sturt family, the ‘Grange’ took central stage in a property of 390 acres in the Reed Beds of the Port River creek and the Torrens River. The property covered Sections 900, 901 and 1006.
The two distinct sections were constructed a year apart. The red bricked section (originally stuccoed) housed the main living areas whilst the white rendered section known as the Nursery Wing afforded the children accommodation with bathroom and toilet plus a kitchen, laundry and eating areas for the servants.
One of the earliest homes built in the district, it also had the distinction of being constructed of brick and was deemed by Sturt as the most English looking residence in the colony. The design was based on Brownlow Hill, Camden, New South Wales, the home of his good friend George McLeay, who had accompanied him on the River Murray expedition. McLeay generously sent couch grass to Sturt for his swathe of lawn.
The location was ideal for Sturt, the wide beach reminiscent of his home county of Dorset England. A keen gardener and President of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia, he exchanged a variety of native and imported plant species for planting. The property had an extensive orchard of grapes, pear, plum and apples trees while the house garden was the typical ‘survival garden’ of the 1840s.