Warehouse and Office at 5-7 French Street

Also known as:
Jumbuck House

This is a five-storey interwar commercial building (warehouse and office) built to French Street frontage, with original entrances, windows and detailing. Red brick construction, timber windows, central timber framework and windows. Symmetrical treatment of façade, with strong vertical divisions of brick façade surmounted by projecting brick cornice, and divided into three sections with central section replaced by later timber framed openings. Painted sign ‘BH MacLachlan Pty Ltd’ as well as ‘Jumbuck Pastoral’ on the main façade.

Significant components include: original building form, red brick walling, original windows, and entranceways, and company signs.

Current status and listings

ACH Status:
Heritage Protection:
ACC Heritage ID:

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A substantial mid- twentieth century commercial building, forming the largest of a continuous wall of warehouses and former warehouses in this narrow inner city street and part of the rare surviving concentration of such buildings in the vicinity of Chesser Street. A continuous association with the builders and owners, the MacLachlan family, a significant South Australian pastoral firm. It illustrates several key themes in the city’s history: 3.1 Economic Cycles; 3.5.2 Retail and Wholesale Industry; 3.5.5 Warehousing; 3.6.1 Company Offices; 4.3 Development of the Building Industry, Architecture and Construction; 4.5.4 Inter War Commercial Styles (1920s to 1942); 4.7.1 Adaptive re-use.

This multi-storey commercial building was probably designed and built by the site owner, Eric H McMichael, a leading Adelaide architect, as a substantial city investment. Called, appropriately, Commercial Buildings, it was completed in 1920. The building comprised a basement, five warehouses, workrooms and offices. The SA Gas Company sold the site in 1919 to McMichael, who leased the new building to a number of tenants during the 1920s including Paddle Brothers (boot merchants) and Burfitt Selth & Co (manufacturers’ agents), whose bulk store was on the ground floor, and who gradually took over most of the other floors. McMichael sold the property in 1928 to Burfitt Selth & Co, and also provided a mortgage, which the company struggled to pay back during the Depression; it was not finally discharged until 1953 some years after McMichael’s death in 1945.

In 1967, the property was sold to Glyde Hill Pty Ltd, which went through several name changes while remaining in the ownership of the McLachlan family: becoming BH McLachlan (Wines and Spirits) Pty Ltd, then Walkerville Wines (both in 1970), and finally Jumbuck House Pty Ltd —the present name of the building.

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4 thoughts on “Warehouse and Office at 5-7 French Street

  1. Interesting reading and Im glad to hear this building is still standing.. Im currently researching my families history so was trying to research the company “Burfitt, Selth and Co” and this building. Now all I have to figure out is where the name “Burfitt” came from in the companies name.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Tanya. Good luck with the research! I’m afraid we can’t help you at this stage, but some of our other readers may have some suggestions for you.