Field Trip to Carrick Hill

TOUR OF CARRICK HILL – March 24th 2021– by Glen Woodward

On a grand tour of Carrick Hill mansion in the upper circle of Adelaide, guide Sylvia elevated  our view of the world  through an appreciation of the past.

Words cannot do justice to the grandeur of the estate of Carrick Hill (named after the birthplace in Scotland of Ursula’s mother). The mansion in Mitcham was  a design by a young architect James Irwin in a manner to house the honeymooning Haywards’ huge purchase of 17th -19th century fittings from the demolition of Beau Desert Hall in Staffordshire, England.    

During WWII Edward served in Africa and the Pacific. Post-war, the Haywards travelled regularly to England and made purchases of furniture, sculptures and tapestries.  

Edward Hayward and Ursula (nee Barr-Smith) had an approach to collecting, displaying and sharing that enables us to see an eclectic collection of old oak, silver and furnishings, together with modern art.

 At Carrick Hill we were able to tour among works by Turner, Goya, Gaugin, Epstein, Dobell, Spencer, Drysdale, Stratton, Hele, Smart, Dowie and Heysen, all sharing the walls with famous French names. In Ursula’s bedroom we met Dior, Lalique and a wall full of her choice artists. The Haywards befriended, aided and purchased from many local and overseas artists which gives the Carrick Hill collection ‘its head and heart’.   

The dining room, kitchen and wine cellar are a time capsule of historic mansions. Room after room display the Beau Desert stair-case, and pieces of Jacobean, Elizabethan and Chinois furniture alongside “modernity”.

Edward Hayward’s family owned John Martins. Later Edward began the pageant, was knighted, involved in over a dozen organisations, numerous charities and played polo. Post WWII he franchised Coca Cola. He also bred prize Hereford cattle on his farm.

In 1970 Sir Edward bequeathed the estate to the S.A. Government with a proviso that the collection be kept together. In 1986 Queen Elizabeth officially opened Carrick Hill to the public.

Recently the attic has been opened with another gallery and now has lift access to all floors to a truly international gallery.