This beautiful estate is the result of the marriage in 1935 of members of two of Adelaide’s most prominent families. Edward (Bill) Hayward was a son of the wealthy merchant family that for over one hundred years owned John Martins Ltd, once Adelaide’s greatest department store. His bride, Ursula Barr Smith was a daughter of an even wealthier family of pastoralists who owned many fine houses in this area.
Ursula’s father gave them the land upon which Carrick Hill now stands as a wedding present. During their year long honeymoon they acquired much 16th, 17th and 18th century panelling, doors, staircases and windows from the demolition sale of “Beaudesert”, a Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, England.
The house was designed around these fittings and while its overall appearance is that of a 17th century English manor house, it incorporated all the latest technology of the 1930s. As you look around the house you will see that oak panelling and pewter light fittings happily blend with heated towel rails, ensuite bathrooms and intercom systems.
The house was built from 1937 to 1939 while at the same time, Ursula designed the garden. They moved in during the winter of 1939 only to be torn apart by the Second World War when Edward Hayward left to serve with distinction in the Middle East and the Pacific, becoming one of the famous “Rats of Tobruk”.
After the war, the Haywards continued filling the house with a highly personal art collection. This wealth of drawings, sculpture, antiques and paintings spans nearly 500 years of artistic achievement. It is an interesting mixture of Georgian and Victorian pieces mostly inherited from Ursula’s family, Tudor and Jacobean furniture collected by the Haywards to match the house and contemporary, often quite avant-garde British, French and Australian paintings and sculpture.
Many of the artists represented in the collection, such as Sir William Dobell, Sir Russell Drysdale, Jacob Epstein, Donald Friend, Nora Heysen, John Dowie and Adrian Feint, were close friends of the Haywards.
The surrounding estate with its formal gardens, citrus orchard, pleached pear arbour, nuttery, cutting beds, paddocks and bushland was as highly individual as the art collection. Though modified over the years, they are currently being returned to their appearance during the lifetime of the Haywards.