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FEATURE LISTING: Slice of history in Unley

After almost half a century Pamela Vercoe is selling her Victorian-style mansion on Miller Street where she spent many happy years looking after the neighbourhood children. Now, this exquisite family home is ready for its next custodians.

Pamela Vercoe and her family moved to Miller Street in 1976 after living for a time in Scotland while her husband studied to become a surgeon.

After three years, the family moved 10 houses down when the prestigious four-bedroom, two-bathroom Victorian mansion at 41 Miller Street, Unley came on the market.

“We fell in love with the house even before we had purchased it,” Pamela says. “It was built around 1885 and had only three owners before us.”

The elevated sandstone facade boasts a superb street presence with its white latticework and large, arched windows.

Inside, soaring ceilings and bespoke features add charm. Modern touches have been added, yet the home’s size, style and elegance remain untouched.

“At the front of the home, the sitting room is attached to the study and the exciting thing about it is there is a door that slides into the floor,” Pamela says.

“When you want it to be one large room, you can push the door into the floor and when you pull it up again you have two separate rooms.”

Upstairs, the large kitchen and dining room overlook the expansive backyard and sparkling swimming pool.

“When we moved in, the balcony was only small so we built onto the back of the house and increased the size of the balcony into an upstairs deck where we could enjoy outdoor living.

“We added the cast iron, spiral staircase that reaches from the balcony to where the pool is.”

The backyard opens onto a creek that leads to the North Unley Neighbourhood Park where the children used to spend hours playing.

“The children had plenty of fun playing at that park and we would all gather there for Halloween and have a party,” Pamela says. “Everyone in the neighbourhood would bring something to eat and one person was assigned to bake a cake for everybody to share at the street party.”

Pamela was a preschool teacher, so the home was always bustling with the neighbourhood children that she would look after and teach.

“If the kitchen upstairs could speak it would be able to tell so many stories of the fun we had there,” Pamela says.

“These were the days where children could just go to play and I had a bell that I would ring to signal that it was time to come home for lunch. I would stand on the balcony and ring the bell and they would all come running back to the home.

“I found some people on Facebook who used to live on the street and they said they remember hearing the bell sounding at lunch and dinnertime.”

The neighbourhood children weren’t the only visitors in the house, with Pamela saying her son was convinced there was a resident ghost.

“The kids called her the ‘Blue Lady’ and used to scare all their friends, telling them to watch out for her when walking down the hallway,” Pamela says.

“She was definitely a very friendly ghost though; according to my son, she wasn’t scary at all.

“I unfortunately didn’t ever see her, so I think it must have been just very vivid imagination on the children’s behalf – she definitely still caused a lot of interest and excitement.”

As the children grew older, the home became the “drop-in house” as it was located close to the city and the nearby tram went straight to the beach.

“The kitchen table is where everybody would congregate and we would drink endless cups of tea. As the kids grew up, they would sit around there with their friends drinking tea and, later on, wine.”

Although perfect for entertaining and with plenty of rooms for guests to come and stay, Pamela appreciated the quiet cosiness of the home and the serene lifestyle it offered.

“I would spend most of my time in the downstairs sunroom because you can see all the trees and it is so quiet and peaceful,” Pamela says. “In the winter, the downstairs sitting room was always so warm and cosy and has been built into the ground to keep it cool during the summer so you never needed air conditioning.”

After almost half a century, Pamela is downsizing so another family can take custodianship and make the same fond memories she was able to enjoy.

“I loved living here and I am really quite sad to leave,” Pamela says.

“It is absolutely ideal for a big family or for when you want to entertain.”

The sale is being handled by Stephanie Williams and John Williams of Williams Real Estate.