St Vigeans

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Image MLSHS Archive 832-5 (photo ES Booth).

Text Karen Agutter and Ann Herraman

St Vigeans was built in the early 1880s by Dr Edward Charles Stirling who named the property after the Scottish town where his father had gone to school.

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Photo: MLDHS Archive Sir E C Stirling in the garden of St Vigeans

The 6.5 acre property soon became known for the beauty of its gardens which the South Australian Register [22 Nov 1899] described as ‘a little paradise of beauty drawn from Nature’s sweetest resources’. Stirling employed full and part time gardeners to tend the property, however, as the Register noted, the garden greatly benefited from the ‘affectionate regard of its owner, with his vast field of scientific knowledge.’ As a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society of London Stirling had access to many species of plants and a major feature of the gardens were South Australia’s first rhododendrons, including several new varieties developed on site, one of which was named Mrs E C Stirling, after his wife.

After Stirling’s death in 1919 the family continued to live at St Vigeans until its sale in 1936.

The Mount Lofty District Historical Society has a considerable collection of information and photos of St Vigeans. If you would like to find out more, or contribute your own memories of this garden to the archives contact us at or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.