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FEATURE LISTING: Captivating College Park

Built in 1877 by an eccentric Adelaide inventor, this bluestone College Park villa is steeped in history. With current owners Heidi and Sandy Craig looking to downsize, you could be the next custodian of this 146-year-old home.

Still standing proudly in the heart of the eastern suburbs after almost a century and a half, Rothesay Villa was built by Alexander Williamson Dobbie in 1877 and named after a seaside town in Scotland from where he hailed.

Alexander and his wife, Esther Catherine Elizabeth (Wallis) Dobbie, made a name for themselves in Adelaide’s scientific community; their house was crowded with inventions, telescopes and items brought back from their travels.

Alexander made an early workable telephone, phonograph and microphone and, subsequently, Rothesay Villa was the first home in Adelaide with a private telephone.

After a long marriage, 10 children and a successful career in both science and the arts, Alexander passed away in 1912 and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery.

In 2008, Heidi and Sandy Craig purchased the four-bedroom, two-bathroom property at 5 Baliol Street, College Park and, along with their three children and two golden retrievers, made Rothesay Villa their home.

“We were living in Stirling with our young family, but the boys were going to St Peter’s College and our daughter would be attending Wilderness School so we decided we had better come back down the hill,” Heidi says.

“We have always lived in turn-of-the-century character properties – this home was built in 1877, so I believe it is the oldest home we have lived in.

“It has all the gorgeous period features – high ceilings, decorated cornices, woodwork around the windows – and they have been here since the home was built, beautifully maintained over the years.”

The home is framed by a vine-covered brush fence that leads to the manicured front garden with flourishing lawns, manicured garden beds and a towering crepe myrtle.

Following a path of slate stepping stones, the home greets its guests with an original bluestone facade, ornate verandah tiling and large, picture windows.

Inside Rothesay Villa, the entrance hall boasts tall ceilings, decorative cornices and original floorboards extending beneath period arches.

At the front of the home, a formal sitting room ideal for hosting guests over a conversation and a cup of tea sits to the left and two children’s bedrooms are on the right.

The master bedroom is accessed through a bedroom-turned-dressing room and boasts built-in robes and an en suite, as well as French doors leading to a private courtyard.

Further down the hallway is a large, formal dining room that Heidi has transformed into a library, filling it with comfy loveseats and her vast book collection.

Before the modern extension is a bathroom, powder room and laundry to the left and the fourth bedroom to the right.

The grand family room is ideal for hosting family and friends with its open plan kitchen, living and dining space that overlooks the swimming pool and garden through large windows and French doors.

Heidi says the garden was nice, but not to the family’s style, so they replaced many garden beds with lawns and added plants that suited their aesthetic.

Now, the backyard has plenty of lawns where Heidi and Sandy’s children were able to run amok in their younger years and where their two golden retrievers now frolic.

A curved swimming pool with solar heating is perfect for a splash and visiting family love being able to take a dip on a summer’s afternoon.

The yard is enclosed by luscious hedging that blocks out surrounding neighbours and provides a private paradise.

College Park

Now that Heidi and Sandy’s eldest boys have graduated and moved interstate to study, and their daughter is in her final year of school and also planning to move interstate for university, the couple has decided it is time to downsize.

“I think what we will miss most is the grandness of this home,” Heidi says. “The high ceilings, the beautiful dark floorboards – it just has so much space.

“We will have lived here for exactly 15 years as of next week and it has been an absolutely perfect place to call home.”

The sale is being handled by Sally Cameron of TOOP+TOOP.