Carrick Hill, a portrait

Carrick Hill
A Portrait


Carrick Hill
A Portrait

Richard Heathcote Ed.

In Carrick Hill: A Portrait, Christopher Legoe, Bill Hayward and Richard Heathcote tell the story of Australia’s most intact twentieth-century house museum, bequeathed by Sir Edward Hayward and Lady Ursula to the people of South Australia. Edward Waterfield Hayward was born on 10 November 1903. He attended St Peter’s School in Adelaide and Westminster School in London. From an early age he has been known as Bill.

Ursula Bar Smith was born nearly four years later on 19 June 1907, the youngest daughter of Thomas Elder Barr Smith and Mary Isobel Mitchell. She grew up at Birksgate at Glen Osmond and received her education at the Presbyterian Girls School in Adelaide.

Edward became a jackaroo, overseer and in 1925 bought his own property Wairoa near Narrabri in New South Wales and was elected to the Namoi Shire Council. After a few years he changed his occupation and became a retailer. In the early 1930s he was a buyer for John Martin’s in its London Office. In 1933 he was appointed Director in Adelaide.

Ursula and Edward were married at St Peter’s College Chapel on 12 February 1935 and had their honeymoon in England. Edward shared Ursula’s love of paintings and old furniture. He later even established an art gallery and an antique furniture shop in Adelaide.

While in London for their honeymoon they attended the demolition sale at Beau Desert in Staffordshire and bought its old staircase, oak panelling, door frames and other fittings for their own home which they planned to build in Adelaide. It proved the start of the Hayward’s long lasting collecting ‘mania’.

After the sale they became convinced that whatever block of land they would acquire on their return, they would bring it to life as an estate with a tasteful adaption of an English manor house at its heart. On their return from England they bought a large parcel of land, paid for by Ursula’s parents, in the lower Adelaide foothills and started building their dream home to incorporate all the items they had bought.

Collecting works of art now became the creative focus of their lives. With almost yearly visits to England and the Continent they eventually would have the best private art, furniture and antiques collection in Australia, which now provides a social history as well. During all this time, and for many years after, Edward remained with John Martin’s and established the now world famous Christmas Pageant, after he had seen something similar at a department store in Ottawa, Canada.

Building of their dream home of local stone, which they called Carrick Hill after Brown Carrick Hill in Ayrshire, Scotland, started in April 1937. It was designed by Adelaide architects in such a way that it would include all the oak panelling, fireplaces, the now famous Waterloo Staircase and the numerous other objects they had collected.

During its construction the Haywards travelled several times to England and France to buy more furniture, including some 17th and 18th century oak chairs, as well as books and art works. At the same time Ursula planned and started with the development of their 100 acre hillside garden, which would take many years before it was completed.

The building of Carrick Hill was completed in 1939 but not lived in until after 1944. As Edward had joined the AIF, Ursula moved in with her parents at Glen Osmond. After the war they finally made the manor house their home. Soon it was alive with social gatherings at which guests from all walks of life were welcomed and entertained.

That same year Edward bought land at Delamere where he established the Silverton Park Hereford Stud. In 1946 Edward became joint managing director, with his brother, of John Martin’s. He was also instrumental in setting up the Coca Cola Bottlers in Adelaide.

With regular trips to England they now also bought a house in London and in 1952 Ursula purchased a two-storey building at Port Willunga, previously owned by her artist friend Kathleen Sauerbier. The Haywards’ art collection included Sauerbier’s Floral Study.

While Edward developed Silverton Park, Ursula was appointed to the Board of the National Gallery of South Australia in April 1953 and within a few months had organised, with Suzette McGregor, an exhibition of British, French and Australian art works from South Australian collections. Ursula resigned from the Board in 1969.

In June 1958 the Haywards suffered a major loss when their library was extensively damaged by fire. It destroyed works of art and many books and damaged some of the panelling and the staircase. A month later Edward donated funds to the National Gallery of South Australia to help buying prints from the French artist Georges Rousault. Many other gifts of money and art works have been made by both Edward and Ursula over the years for the benefit of South Australians.

During their time at Carrick Hill they devoted an enormous amount of time, energy and money on assembling their collections. Their interest was far ranging and although serious about what they bought they were unconcerned what others thought of it. Among their acquisitions were works by Russell Drysdale, Nora Heysen and William Dobell as well as several European painters, including Gauguin and Renoir.

During 1970 the Haywards decided to bequeath their property, on their death, to the state of South Australia instead of sub-dividing the estate and sell it, as had been done with Springfield and Urrbrae. Heathcote believes that they gifted it to keep the collection together to safeguard the sense of pleasure which it had provided them and prevent its destruction and dispersal.

He also believes that it was to further their sense of responsibility as philanthropists in bequeathing to the public, for the benefit of others, those things that they had acquired through their wealth. The book inspires people to take another look at the story behind Carrick Hill and its people who created it.

With the contribution of Adelaide photographer, Mick Bradley, who is renowned for his ability to capture the atmosphere of homes and gardens with his photographs, the book not only provides a social and art history but also a sense of place, full of stillness and beauty.

Review by Nic Klaassen

Carrick Hill, A Portrait edited by Richard Heathcote
is available at $45.00 from
Wakefield Press

Telephone 08 8362 8800


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