Ardamine House, Repton, Kalimna

John George Bolton, known as George, came to Perth in 1893 with his wife, Ellen (nee Keane, known as Judith) and their three children Edward (known as Keane), Fane and Judith (known as Daisy). The accountant for (Alexander) Forrest Emanuel & Co, he was consequently among the first shrewd buyers of land released for sale in Peppermint Grove by the (Alexander) Forrest, Crossland, Leake syndicate.

On his first block, on the corner of what became Irvine Street and the Esplanade, he built Altadore, and gifted it to his wife Ellen (nee Keane).

History has overlooked Ellen, who was the youngest sister of Edward Keane, after whom Keane Street is named. He was the former Lord Mayor of Perth and built Cappoquin House on Butler’s Hump in 1894, which is now the clubhouse for Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

In 1898 the Boltons let Altadore at the rate of £125 per annum, and moved to their new home, Ardamine House, a romantic, Federation Queen Anne-style bungalow George built at 42 (later 42B, now 42A) View Street. Ardamine is a town on the south east coast of Ireland, not far from where Ellen was born.

All was not well in the Bolton household, however, for George had a recurring drinking problem. In May 1901 he went to England “for his health”. But Alexander Forrest died in June and by the time George returned in August, bringing Ellen’s nephew Louis Montford with him, he no longer had his £500 per year job.

In April the following year, after many months of drinking, questionable re-financing and almost constant clashes, his son, Keane, and Louis stepped in. To stop him remortgaging his properties they had him examined by two doctors who attested to his lunacy. George recovered in time to have the proceedings withdrawn, but viciously turned on Keane, Louis and Ellen, evicting them from Ardamine, auctioning the entire household contents in September 1902, and letting it to someone else. Ellen immediately sued for, and was granted separation; their ‘domestic infelicity’ splashed across the pages of the daily newspapers.

George promptly left for England where he died in February 1904, aged just 54. Ellen was taken in by her children and outlived him by 43 years. She died in Mount Lawley in 1947, aged 96, one day before her 75th wedding anniversary.

Ardamine House was tenanted by Thomas Betty until attorney Frederick Burt and his wife Gladys (nee MacMurtrie) bought it in 1908. They renamed it Repton, after Fred’s school in Derbyshire, England.

During WWI with Fred away at war, Gladys’ parents, William and Emily, moved in, and renamed their section of the home Kalimna. Fred and Gladys left Repton in around 1927 and the home was re-amalgamated under the newer name.

Emily died in 1931 and William in 1933, after which Jessie and Gilbert Smith, a wool valuer, bought Kalimna.

When their son, Peter, married, they divided the home in two; Jessie and Gilbert in one half, Peter and his wife Kathleen in the other. It was at this point the home was renumbered 42A and 42B.

After Jessie died in 1964 the home was re-amalgamated into one (42B) and what had been the poultry run was subdivided and sold; with a modern home built on it.

Peter and Kathleen Smith sold to the current owners in 1984 who, a few years later, bought back the block at the rear, demolished the modern house and built their tennis court on it, re-amalgamating the property for the third time.

By Ms Shannon Lovelady, Historian and PLC Archivist