Carrick Hill, Adelaide

Carrick Hill

A nice way to spent a sunny afternoon is to visit a stately home and garden. With Australia being a fairly young country (in comparison to Europe in terms of stately homes) there's not a huge number around, but nonetheless a few are scattered around to visit.

Carrick Hill is in the Adelaide suburbs, the original owners Edward and Ursula Hayward decided to bequeath their home to the state government as they had no children. The government agreed to accept the bequest as the Haywards were great collectors of art and the estate came with an impressive art collection.

The estate is set in 120 acres of what is now prime real estate! Most is native bushland and there are walking trails throughout. The gardens and park are free and there is a fee to visit the house.

Both Edward and Ursula came from prominent (read wealthy) South Australian families, Ursula's were pastoralists and landowners and her father gave the couple the land as a wedding gift.

They built the house in the years 1937 to 39 and during the same period Ursula planned the garden.

I hadn't been to Carrick Hill in many years and had forgotten that it had fantastic views over the Adelaide Plain all the way to the sea. Behind the trees on the right are the taller buildings of the city centre.

The house is well set back from the main road, with a long driveway through the bushland to reach the carpark and then a short walk to the gardens and the house.

The front of the house with its gardens, this path doesn't lead to a driveway but rather to another part of the estate.

The garden is enclosed by these large hedges which wrap around the house. Just outside at this spot are garden beds, I thought at first it was a kitchen garden. But it seems it's what's called a 'cutting garden' where plants were grown to cut for decorating the house.

Behind the house there are large lawned areas, which on the Sunday I visited were occupied with a variety of family groups having picnics, complete with portable chairs! I didn't want to take photos with these family groups in the background so moved onto the pear arbour on the other side of the lawns. These trees were deliberately grown around the frame, this path leads to an opening in the hedge.

The exit through the hedge from the pear arbour, leading to more open areas and the orchard.

The apple and pear orchard, I can't remember it being netted before, so I think this was a newer initiative of those who run the estate and gardens now. The trees are protected by nets to save the fruit from being eaten by native birds. Rainbow lorikeets in particular love apples, pretty birds but destructive to fruit trees if you want any harvest!

Moved back through the hedge and was stopped in the gardens by the side of the house by this large example of a stag horn , it's huge!

There's a path down to a lawned area through these large trees, there are various interesting points in the gardens.

After the State Government opened up the estate to visitors, one of the ideas it had was to create a sculpture park in the grounds. Dotted around the park are some sculptures that date back to this idea. It never really caught on, but I saw this one and was curious why a Japanese fairytale character was in the garden. Nearby was a sign explaining it was presented by the city of Okayama on the occasion of Adelaide's 150 anniversary of white settlement in 1986. (Which is also when the estate was officially opened to visitors, Edward Hayward having died in 1983, Ursula in 1972. Information from helpful pamphlet when you enter the house!)

The statue is of the character Momotaro (Peach Boy) who set off to defeat the ogres who were terrifying the people. Along the way, he met up with a dog, a monkey and a pheasant (on his shoulder) and together they defeated the ogres on their island. The city of Okayama has a special connection with Momotaro and I've seen various displays in the main part of the city. Souvenirs of Okayama heavily feature Momotaro. Not sure why Okayama commemorated the anniversary, Adelaide's sister city in Japan is another city called Himeji.

The creek winding its way down the hill.

Visiting Carrick Hill was a lovely way of spending a sunny afternoon.