Harry Lockett Ayers commissioned the design of this suitably grand residence with a large ballroom facing East Terrace. It was built in 1882, and as almost certainly designed by William McMinn.
Harry Ayers, foundation member of the Adelaide Club, was born in South Australia and educated at St Peter’s College. He and his brother Arthur Ernest carried on their father’s business as H.L. & A.E. Ayers. The brothers enjoyed the reflected glory of their father, Sir Henry, five times Premier of South Australia and were part of Adelaide’s social and financial elite. Harry married Ada, a daughter of Sir John Morphett, consolidating through marriage connection within the ‘Adelaide establishment’.
When he died in 1905 his wife commissioned the world-renowned Tiffany Company to design windows (formerly at St Paul’s) as her memorial to him. By 1867, Harry Ayers owned the land on which Dimora was built. This extended from East Terrace to Hutt Street. It included Bray House, in which Ayers and his family lived during the 1870s. In 1878 the property was subdivided and John Bray bought the western half.
Dimora is one of the most highly developed examples of the bay-windowed villa, a popular style in boom-period mansions. The building has been renovated and subdivided for multiple occupancy. The renovators have shown high regard for the fittings and detailing of the well-finished and mostly original interior.
Externally the use of stuccoed detail, combined with simple cast iron enrichment, is typical of McMinn’s work. This large house of 20 main rooms maintains a prominent place amongst the imposing late-Victorian residences of East Terrace.