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SA Governor's $2m living quarters makeover

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The State Government is spending over $2 million to refurbish Government House’s vice-regal accommodation and “post-war” bathrooms.

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The renovation of the historic 1840s Government House, which is currently home to Governor and former senior diplomat Frances Adamson, is already underway.

Work includes building a “self-contained” upstairs living space for Adamson, including a new kitchen, laundry and upgraded bathrooms.

A spokesperson from the Department for Infrastructure and Transport told InDaily the provisional cost estimate for the refurbishment was $2.1 million.

They said Government House’s private quarters hadn’t been upgraded since the 1950s or 1960s, with the building currently lacking a domestic kitchen and laundry, and its bathrooms considered “post-war”.

“The Department is working closely with Government House to upgrade its private quarters to a modern, self‑contained living space for the governor of the day within the existing heritage fabric of the building,” they said.

“The upgrade works have been designed to bring the residential areas of the House into compliance with current building standards, including the Building Code of Australia (BCA).”

The spokesperson said the refurbishment forms part of a broader “capital works management plan” and would ensure Government House has disability access and complies with fire safety rules.

“This plan, which is being developed, will ensure preservation of the enduring heritage value of Government House as a house for all South Australians, while bringing various aspects of the infrastructure up to modern standards and building codes,” they said.

Work is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

The State Government claims the North Terrace mansion is the oldest Government House in the country, with the earliest part of the building – the east wing – completed and occupied in May 1840.

According to Government House’s website, the bathrooms in the main part of the building were last renovated between 1941-57, with a new kitchen block built between the dining rooms and staff area in the 1970s.

Some upstairs rooms were modernised in 1973 to create a separate suite for The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visited Adelaide.

That suite comprised separate bedrooms and bathrooms for the Queen and Duke, as well as a sitting room and bedrooms for their personal staff.

Governors, their families and house guests are currently allowed to make use of all the upstairs rooms, with the ground floor used for official Government House business and functions.

Adamson was appointed South Australia’s Governor in May last year, taking over from Hieu Van Le, who held the post since 2014.

She led the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Secretary from 2016 until her appointment as Governor and was previously international advisor to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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