Carrick Hill, a reservoir for memories, is a house and garden museum designed and built 1937 – 1939 for Sir Edward and Lady Hayward in Adelaide, South Australia.
It is a wonderful place to visit if you have an interest in the evolution of art, design, gardening and style and today it remains mainly intact both inside and out, upstairs and down.
Their guest book for dinner reveals a list of the who’s who of Australia and the rest of the world, including Sir Robert Helpmann, Sir Kenneth Clark, Katherine Hepburn, Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, who all came to visit.
Newly established, the Carrick Hill Australian Museum of Gardening is offering an inaugural exhibition. Endless Pleasure – The Art of Gardens and Gardening 5 August to 29th November 2015. It will trace how Australians in all walks of life have chosen to experience gardens and gardening.
This will be reflected in the fine display of paintings, prints, decorative arts and ornaments, along with a wide collection of gardening implements’ being showcased.
The Hayward lifestyle was idyllic by all accounts, ‘Bill and Ursula’ didn’t stand on ceremony or care for conservatism.
Warm and welcoming they travelled the world and built their home designed on the foundations of the past, but bearing all the hallmarks of the present.
Carrick Hill Director Richard Heathcote says, “Gardens have been a part of our culture as a dynamic creative activity and artists in particular, have captured our passion for plants and places”.
Sir Edward Hayward (1903-1983) belonged to a retail family who helped make Australia great during the 20th century. Educated in Adelaide and at London, he followed his father to become a Managing Director of John Martin’s Department store.
Under Hayward’s guidance John Martin’s became the home to one of Adelaide’s few commercial art galleries. He also established the store’s much admired annual and now renowned Christmas pageant, with floats, costumes and a magic cave, to give pleasure to children in need.
Hayward’s family moved within Australia’s high society where in 1935 he met and married Ursula, the daughter of one of Australia’s greatest pastoralists and financiers, Tom Elder Barr Smith. Ursula had an undying passion for flowers and her father gave the happy couple 100 acres of land as their wedding gift.
They commissioned architect James Irwin to design and build their home Carrick Hill and during their lifetime it became a centre for ‘stylish living’.
Taking its inspiration from an English country house and garden, although a scaled down version, at Carrick Hill Ursula Hayward fulfilled her own grand view of design.
She created a clipped formalised garden, set within an outer more rambling but designed ‘beautiful wilderness’.
This followed the great eighteenth century and early nineteenth century traditions established by such great designers and gardeners as William Kent, Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton who had designed the gardens at Beaudesert in Staffordshire, UK.
Sited on 40 acres in the leafy foothills of the Mount Lofty ranges Carrick Hill is some six kilometres south east of Adelaide city in Springfield a ‘green and hilly’ place to be. Many of the fixed decorative pieces on the interior of the house were purchased by the Haywards on their year long honeymoon in England.
Constructed in 1546 the now historic Beaudesert had been condemned to be demolished and they were able to make some significant purchases.
This included historic oak panelling from the walls, fireplace surrounds, doors and windows as well as the renowned grand staircase.
They shipped them all down under and gave Irwin inspiration to create the manor style of the house which he developed for Adelaide’s ‘ideal couple’, who were feted far and wide.
Fine and decorative arts collections amassed embellish the interior, however outside Ursula spent much of her lifetime designing and directing the great team of gardeners employed to attend to the landscaping.
The Haywards also had other three other properties; a country property breeding Poll Hereford cattle and polo ponies at Delamere.
Then there was the beach house at Port Willunga and a very stylish townhouse in Mayfair, London, which was conveniently located close to the art and antique dealers.
Today the house and garden of Carrick Hill is open to the public and has a commitment to the conservation of its native bushland areas by using dams, bores, tanks and rainwater harvesting with heavy mulching as part of a long term strategy to become self-sustainable.
Apart from the many treasures within the house and in the Carrick Hill art gallery, outside there is a canal as a water feature, providing a connection between landscape and soundscapes.
This is a lush environment for the elms and the lawns, the pear arbour, herb and vegetable garden, and for Orchids, Lilliums, cutting beds and, the owner’s all time favourite flowers, Roses
The rose garden and stunning views from the lawn terraces were a perfect setting for great social occasions.
Today innovative special events can include open-air concerts, theatrical performances and private function, continuing the Hayward tradition.
The Carrick Hill Café offers spectacular views over Adelaide and the ocean beyond and there are areas set aside for you and your family to enjoy a picnic.
Other revenue is raised through sponsorship, donations, and the Friends of Carrick Hill and other initiatives, including the priceless contribution of its volunteers.
“Although the State Government provides financial assistant to ensure the property continues to be a dynamic place to be enjoyed by the public.
Much of the work done to maintain the house and garden is carried out by 100 volunteers,’ said Director Richard Heathcote”, all of whom undergo extensive training in the history of the home, its contents and the surrounding gardens.
There are seven categories available for volunteering at Carrick Hill. Garden Gnomes who plant, weed, mulch, feed and prune; the Bush Care group who eradicate weeds and help regenerate other areas.
House Tour guides give a potted history of the house while the Oak Polishers look after the furniture and Flower Arrangers gather cut flowers from the garden to offset its comforting charm.
The Friends of Carrick Hill offer their special skills to fund raise and arrange a vibrant program for the public to expand their knowledge of arts and culture.
The Gift Shop offers many temptations, including the 208-page full colour publication Endless Pleasure – Exploring and collecting among the byways of gardens and gardening.
It has been edited by noted Australian garden writer Trevor Nottle and will be published by The Wakefield Press – available from mid-September.
With a foreword by Sue Ebury, Patron of the Australian Garden History Society, Nottle’s book also includes contributions from other garden experts, garden writers, plant and garden lovers, collectors, food writers, cooks, artists, gallery curators and antiquarians.
This includes such luminaries as Michael Keelan, Sophie Thompson, Maggie Beer, Deborah Bogle, Carolyne Berlyn, Penelope Curtin, Winnie Pelz, Tony Kanellos and Holly Kerr Forsyth.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015
5th August – 28 November 2015
46 Carrick Hill Drive,
10.00 am to 4:30 pm
Wednesday to Sundays