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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ayers House, Adelaide

A National Trust property in the centre of Adelaide.




Ayers House is a stately home, now owned by the National Trust, in the city centre of Adelaide. It was built at the time when its location on North Terrace was the most prestigious part of the city to live. It now boasts that it's the last of the North Terrace mansions, sadly the others have all been demolished for office buildings and carparks.



The house was originally owned by Sir Henry Ayers, a former premier of South Australia. And the man after whom Ayers Rock was named. (The Indigenous name of Uluru is now more commonly used) Henry Ayers was wealthy enough to expand what had been a small cottage into a grander home in the mid to late 1800s. After he died the property was sold and up until the 1960s it was used as a nurses' home, accomodating the nurses who worked in the hospital across the road. The house was then acquired by the National Trust who set about restoring it in the style of a Victorian mansion in colonial Adelaide. 



The National Trust now run the museum part of the house, other parts are used to host various functions, weddings, conferences etc so not all the house is open to wander around. The first bay window houses the large formal dining room, which on this visit had 2 heritage dresses on display. I have in the past visited when there's been a major display of the clothing collection of Ayers House. The room to the left is the servery where food was placed prior to being served after being brought up from the kitchens below.



The hallway going across from the large dinning room to the ballroom which was in the other bay window and is now part of the functions centre so not part of the museum. The chandelier in the distance is a restored original piece. After Henry Ayers the house was sold and over the years items from the house have been found, restored and placed back into the house.


The smaller dining room which looks out onto the front verandah.


This picture is on the wall in the small dinning room, it's of the young Queen Victoria, I liked the attention to detail in the furnishing of the house in the era it was built. It's also a nice image of Queen Victoria as she's generally pictured as an old woman not the young queen she was.


The dining room adjoins the sitting room with the ballroom through those double doors.


The upstairs rooms are laid out as bedrooms, this is the lady's bedroom.



The gentlemen's bedroom. Nice touch with the hat and cane!





The nursery with a collection of antique dolls.



Downstairs, the kitchen area.




Also downstairs is the summer sitting room, this was restored a few years back with its original artwork on the walls and ceiling. In the days before air-conditioning people had to be more creative in trying to escape from the heat. Thick stone walls helped, the Ayers family retired downstairs where it was cooler due to it being underground. They passed their hot summer days entertaining each other in this sitting room.



As the room was closed off, there was an open area called the smoking room.



There's no ceiling to the smoking room, it's in a light well between the underground rooms. So at least the smoke could disperse!

Ayers House is in a convenient location in the city and it's a pleasant way to spend a bit of time if you're a tourist with an interest in the past. It's also free to visit if you're a member of the National Trust. 

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