Architect Personal DetailsArchitectural works in South Australia
Firms or Professional PartnershipsBibliographic Sources

Architect Personal Details



First name

Henry Ernest








Henry E. Fuller worked as an architect in South Australia from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries and is best known for two prominent Adelaide buildings; the Stock Exchange and Ruthven Mansions.

Henry Ernest Fuller was born in 1867. He was the seventh son of the prominent South Australian Henry Robert Fuller. Fuller senior was a lawyer and Mayor of Adelaide. As Mayor, ‘he was the first Australian Chief Magistrate to receive the [Duke of Edinburgh]’ when he visited Australia (Burgess 1907: 544). In 1893 H.E. Fuller married Margaret, the eldest daughter of Reverend J. Sunter - the Rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church. They had two sons and one daughter. One of their sons, Charles, died in the Great War, and another, Basil, was wounded. In 1907 Fuller and his family were living in the residence known as ‘Lauriston’ in the suburb of Eastwood. Fuller died on 18 February 1962 aged 94 (SLSA Family History Database).

Fuller ‘gained his knowledge of architecture by dint of intelligent study in his native city [of Adelaide]’ (Burgess 1907: 544). His early education was undertaken at Hahndorf and Prince Alfred Colleges. He began his architectural training with J.G. Beavor to whom he was apprenticed as an articled student for four years. Over this time he developed his construction knowledge. After completing his Articles, he continued with the practice of Wright, Reed, & Beavor and worked as a draftsman. Fuller further refined his drafting skills when he began working for E.H. Bayer. After several years of practical training, he recognised the need to balance his experience with academic tuition. He stopped practising for a year to study arts at the local School of Design. In 1891 he returned to practice and worked as chief draftsman for four years for the well-known Adelaide architect Alfred Wells. In 1896, when Fuller was 29 years of age, he started his own practice (Page 1986: 118). Later in 1911 he went into partnership with Alfred Barham Black. However this partnership only lasted for two years until 1913.

One of Fuller’s most important professional affiliations was with the South Australian Institute of Architects (SAIA). In 1907 he was a Fellow and the Honorary Treasurer of the SAIA (Burgess 1907: 544) and from 1913 to 1915 he was the SAIA President (Freeland 1971: 101). In the following year he was Vice-President of the SAIA (The Salon 1916: 22). Fuller actively participated in professional debates. In 1916 in the Salon journal he argued the merits of registration for architects and in the same year discussed the high quality of local academic architectural education (Collins et al. 2005: 30-31). He also had an interest in town planning (Garnaut Forthcoming 2008). Given Fuller’s arts education, it is not surprising that he was also the Treasurer and Librarian of the South Australian Society of Arts.

Fuller’s public profile was not only defined by his work as an architect but also his ecclesiastical associations. He was active in religious circles and was the Secretary of the Church of England Sunday School Union. Indeed, he was also a member of the Synod and the Standing Committee. Fuller had a keen interest in music and held the position of Local Secretary for the Trinity College Musical Examinations, London (Burgess 1907: 545).

Fuller designed several significant buildings. He prepared competition drawings for the National Mutual Insurance Company building in Collins Street, Melbourne. In 1899 Fuller and Hedley Dunn, a former partner of architect Edward Davies, were awarded second prize for the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) design competition. Dunn and Fuller went onto win both first and second prizes for the Stock Exchange design competition. This building was constructed in 1901 and is an excellent example of Federation Arts and Crafts architecture. Fuller continued to win design competitions. Black and Fuller won the competition for the Mount Gambier Institute additions and later they designed Stage One of the avant-garde Ruthven Mansions, a multi-storey apartment building which ‘embraced modernism’ (Collins et al. 2005: 33). The first stage of Ruthven Mansions was built in 1911-12 and the second stage in 1914. Ruthven Mansions provided luxury accommodation and included the latest technological advancements ranging from ‘a central vacuuming system … [to] mechanical ventilation and electric lifts’ (Collins et al. 2005: 33). Fuller was also responsible for other buildings including St. Oswald’s Church of England and rectory at Parkside, the Parkside Institute (c.1923), as well as several residential buildings. He worked not only in metropolitan Adelaide but also across the State including country areas such as Quorn, Barmera, Truro and Yacka. Fuller retired c.1949-50 (RAIA 1949: 109) (RAIA 1950: 121).

Susan Collins

Citation details
Collins, Susan, ‘Fuller, Henry Ernest', Architecture Museum, University of South Australia, 2008, Architects of South Australia: []




Architectural works in South Australia

Name Suburb Year Designed
Ruthven Mansions Adelaide
Stock Exchange of Adelaide Adelaide 1900
Semi-detached and detached houses Adelaide 1903
Semi-detached and detached houses Adelaide 1903
Semi-detached and detached houses Adelaide 1903

Firms or Professional Partnerships

Name Dates Worked
Black and Fuller 1911-1913 

Bibliographic Sources


Burgess, H.T. (1907) The Cyclopedia of South Australia in two volumes: an historical and commercial review, descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations: an epitome of progress, volume one.
Deboo, Michael (1979) Ruthven Mansions, South Australian Institute of Technology, Adelaide.
Freeland, J.M. (1971) The Making of a Profession, Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Marsden, S., Stark, P. and Sumerling, P, (1990) Heritage of the City of Adelaide: An illustrated guide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, Adelaide.
Page, M. (1986) Sculptors in Space: South Australian Architects 1836-1986, RAIA (SA), Adelaide.
RAIA (1949) Year Book of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects 1949, RAIA, Sydney.
RAIA (1950) Year Book of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects 1950, RAIA, Sydney.

Collins, J., Ibels, A.M. and Garnaut, C. (2005) ‘Years of significance: South Australian architecture and the Great War’, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, 33, 25-39.
Garnaut, C. and Round, K. (Forthcoming 2008) '‘Pedlers of new ideas’: the South Australian Town Planning and Housing Association, 1914–1924'.
‘Officers and Members of the South Australian Institute of Architects – Members of the Council, 1915-1916’, The Salon, February 1916, p.22 .
'Past Presidents, SA Chapter: HE Fuller', PLACE, May 2011: 9.

Australian Heritage Places Inventory, accessed online 11 February 2008 at

State Library of South Australia (SLSA) Family History Database 'SA Deaths 1916-1972'.
Willis, Julie (1998) South Australian Architects Biography Project CD Rom, University of South Australia, (LLSAM).

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