About the house

About the house

Ayers House stands today not only the last surviving mansion of its era on the southern side of North Terrace but also interprets the life of an upper middle class family of the 19th Century.

Sir Henry Ayers came from England as a young man with little schooling but went on to become Premier of South Australia seven times and the Director of the Burra Copper Mine.

He commissioned the conversion of nine roomed brick house to become the forty roomed mansion that we see today.

The acknowledged architect was Sir George Strickland Kingston who interpreted the work of Robert Kerr, a leading architect of the period in England. His book “The English Gentleman’s House” gave the ‘New Rich’ clear direction on how to live and entertain like gentlemen.

By the time Sir Henry’s North Terrace House was completed in 1876 the interior had been hand stencilled room after room. Today the magnificent Lyon and Cottier designed formal dining room ceiling is regarded as the most significant hand painted ceiling in the country.

The National Trust of South Australia’s collection represents the best that money could buy and is displayed to focus on original Ayers Family pieces.

Using reflections on social history, our visitors are taken back in time to hear the story of how life may have been for the Ayers Family and those ‘below stairs’.