The Residency, Alice Springs

4.2
#9 of 11 in Museums in Alice Springs
Specialty Museum Museum
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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37 reviews
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  • I go to this place when I'm in the Alice whenever it is open. It is an amazing building and snapshot into the past. The design of this home is really quite remarkable and if I were to build again I'd ...  more »
  • A great place to visit in Alice Springs CBD. Built last century this is magnificent building full of history and stories. Furnished in period furnishings there is also a guide to answer up questions. ...  more »
  • The is a fantastic building and is a great opportunity to see a unique historical building and a view into Alive's pioneering European history  more »

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Where to stay in Alice Springs

Due to its remote location in arid Central Australia, Alice Springs often surprises visitors with its diverse selection of comfortable and affordable lodgings. The city's hostels serve as the most economical option, with many providing free pickup from the airport. For just a bit more, you can stay at one of the area's motels, providing rooms with views of the McDonnell Ranges, free Wi-Fi, secure off-road parking, and access to private barbecue facilities. Otherwise, check into one of Alice Springs' hotels for a country-club vibe and even more amenities.
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