a picture of local heritage-listed house "Kandahar", the home of the West Torrens Historical Society

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This fine old home is built on Part Section 2033 – this land was a farm owned by John Woodhead (he was a councillor on the West Torrens Council in 1855). It was a property of 51½ acres purchased from Michael Featherstone on 18/7/1849 for £200. 

In 1888 part of this section was bought by Captain William Henry Morish and he gave the land and the house which was named “Kandahar” as a belated wedding present to his daughter Mary Elizabeth when she married Arthur Hill. The house was built about 1900. The transfer of the land took place on 20/8/1900 (Certificate of Title 664/176) – the land had a frontage to Marion Road of 100'6" and a depth of 203' (2 roods 2 perches) part of Capt. Morish’s property “Bucklands”. 

Arthur Hill was one of 16 children, son of Henry Hill who had migrated as a child from Somerset, England. There were 8 boys and 8 girls in the family – six of the boys played cricket for South Australia, Clem Hill perhaps being the most famous. One of the girls was a tennis champion. Arthur played five first class matches for South Australia and he was known for his horsemanship. 

The house was built by Edward Davies, a notable South Australia architect, who lived at “Nesfield” a little further south along Marion Road. A Mr. Harrison was clerk of works – "the house was stroddled on clay and sand which was said to be the old seashore. The builders had many problems". 

The house name is derived from the Earl of Kandahar, Field Marshall Frederick Sleigh Roberts (30 September 1832 - 14 November 1914), a successful British militaty commander.

In 1920 the house was sold to Harry Watson. He was a member of the District council of West Torrens and its Chairman for many years. One of his sons was Stanley H. Watson who achieved fame at Gallipoli. Watson Avenue, Netley is named after Harry Watson who died in 1950. 

Harold John Watson owned the house until 1951 when it was purchased by Dr. Douglas B. Hendrickson who lived there until he moved to Stirling in 1972. In 1973 the house passed to A. & F. Mittiga and A. Callipari. (Cert. Title 4142/132) 

By 1979 the lovely old house had fallen into a very bad state of disrepair and the house and surrounding land was purchased by the City of West Torrens with plans to build home units on the land and the house itself to be restored. The units were planned for residents of the municipality to be rented at a very moderate cost. 

This plan was carried out by the S.A. Housing Trust at no cost to the Ratepayers. The work began on the units in May 1982, also the work on the restoration of the house and on 20th March, 1983 the “Steve Hamra Retirement Village” was officially opened. 

Prior to World War II the land surrounding “Kandahar” was rented by a lady Mrs. Underdown who conducted a dairy at 328 Marion Road, almost opposite, and she used to keep her cows there overnight. 

During the War it was used as an army camp for the Transport Division.

Since the early 1980s a number of community groups including the West Torrens Historical Society, the West Torrens Camera Club and the West Torrens Chess Club have based themselves at Kandahar. A range of other groups have used the house for shorter periods. 

Kandahar has had a rich and varied history, one that continues to be built upon each year. 

Download a copy of Kandahar: a brief history

We also welcome visitors to view Kandahar, contact us for available times.