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Ayers House Museum

Home > Adelaide > Historic Houses | Family
by Graeme Fanning (subscribe)
I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at
Published August 27th 2015
Experience the lifestyle of the English middle upper class
Ayers House Museum

If you are looking to view an excellent example of a Victoriana style mansion originally built in the early 1850s, then Ayers House Museum should be on your list of must-dos.

Did you know, for example that the ceiling in the State Dining Room, which was the last room of the house added on in the 1870s, is believed to be the most significant, original hand-painted ceiling in Australia?

Fully trained knowledgeable National Trust guides will escort you on a one hour tour of the three levels of the house encompassing State Dining Room, Family Dining Room, Morning Room, Upstairs Bedrooms, Butler's Pantry, Cellar as well as Kitchen.

Ayers House Museum

The Ayers Family Story

As part of the one hour tour, visitors hear the story of Henry Ayers and his family from Henry's humble beginnings in England to his achievements in South Australia as a politician and businessman.

The testament to Henry Ayer's success was the building of Ayer's House, which was originally built as a 9 roomed cottage and by the time Henry had extended, it became a 44 room mansion.

In case you are wondering, yes, Uluru up in the Northern Territory is also known as Ayer's Rock, which was named by the explorer William Gosse, after Henry Ayers, during one of Henry's stints as Premier of South Australia.

Ayers House Museum

The story of Ayers House

The history of the house is quite remarkable from its beginnings in the early 1850's, through the period when the Ayer's family lived in the house from 1855 to 1897, and right through to it being owned by a company which specialised in entertainment.

Whilst in the hands of the entertainment company, known as Austral Gardens, the grounds contained a 2,000 seat outdoor theatre as well as outdoor cafe.

There is also a unique story surrounding the time of the defence forces stationed in the house during World War One, as well as the occupation by Royal Adelaide Hospital Nurses for many years.

Ayers House Museum

Life inside the house during the 1800's

The guides portray vividly what life would have been like for the upper middle class in this grand house, including stories relating to the family and social etiquette at the time.

Similarly a picture is painted for what day-to-day activities would have been carried out by the many servants employed by the Ayers family.

All of the furniture and fittings are from the Victoriana period, and there are specific items that were owned by the Ayers family still on view within the house.

Ayers House Museum

Style of Mansion

Adelaide is fortunate to have available to the public a mansion of this style, one of the only examples of this size on the southern side of North Terrace in Adelaide.

Today the house is divided into two parts, one part housing the Ayers House Function Centre, which originally contained the 5 family bedrooms, the large Ballroom/Drawing Room, a Library and a Book Room.

The other part comprises the Museum, which visitors can view every day apart from Monday, when the Museum is closed.

Ayers House Museum


Cost: $10 per adult, $8 concession - National Trust members - free

Opening Times: Weekends: Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm- 4 pm - last tours commence at 3 pm.

Weekdays: Tuesday to Friday 10 am - 4 pm - last tours commence also at 3 pm.

Location: 288 North Terrace, Adelaide opposite the current Royal Adelaide Hospital.

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Why? National Trust listed heritage property
When: Tues to Friday 10 am - 4 pm Sat & Sun 1 pm - 4 pm
Phone: (08) 8223 1234
Where: 288 North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000
Cost: $10 Adult $8 Concession Free for National Trust Members
Your Comment
Fascinating! Welcome to writing for Weekend Notes.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11307) 1975 days ago
It's good to have something like this, so often museums are set in more humble historic houses and the contrast is staggering. This reminds me somewhat of Glengallan Homestead in Warwick in Qld.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8057) 1974 days ago
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