The Residency, Alice Springs

4.3
The Residency holds significance for the people of Alice Springs as a tangible symbol of their brief legislative independence from the rest of the Northern Territory. It also provided a hub of social and cultural activities for the local residents.
John Charles Cawood was appointed Government Resident of Central Australia in 1926 and was to be based at the capital, Stuart (as Alice Springs was formerly known).
The Residency was one of a type of house designed for an arid climate. The building had foundations, but the concrete floors were laid directly onto the earth. The hollow concrete bricks, which resembled stone, were made on site in wooden sculpted moulds. Only one type of brick was actually used, but was concealed by a varied laying pattern. Cawood telegraphed the Department of Home and Territories pointing out that sand suitable for cement could be found in the Todd River. The building was completed in 1927.
The main feature of the building was a breezeway running through the centre of the house. This area was mainly used as the lounge in the earlier days. It was fitted out with cane furniture and a tea table. The main hall was cooled by a punkah (which is still in use today) and was operated by an Aboriginal servant. Rooms opened off each side of the breezeway and a wide fly-wired veranda enclosed the building. Today the veranda is enclosed by wooden framed sliding opaque windows. There are green striped canvas blinds to keep the building cool.
The Residency has undergone some major renovations during its occupation as a home. The front room to the left of the entrance was originally the laundry and storeroom. Mrs Carrington (occupied the Residency from 1929–1942) often had to vacate her bedroom when accommodating married couples and this became undesirable. It had been suggested to build two extra rooms onto the back of the house out from the kitchen – one being a storeroom and the other being a laundry. This allowed a new bedroom to be completed for the occupants of The Residency. The new bedroom thrilled Mrs Carrington because the morning sun streamed through the windows.
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The Residency Reviews
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4.7
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  • Good to see an open house at Alice Springs. (looking through windows is a poor.image) Fascinating how antiquated it looked for the 1930's..  more »
  • We quickly went around, this house is nothing exceptional, it is free, we can not ask too much.
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  • A historical building right in town. Has a lot of photos of the past and history. Royalty has stayed here. This was the Spring Flower Show and they had the CWA serving Devonshire tea, which they do once a month.
  • DIA diem tot
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