Henry Ayers' Adelaide

Experience Victorian-era Adelaide through the life of one of its most prominent public figures, businessman and seven-time Premier Henry Ayers.

From the stately luxury of Ayers House to the home of nineteenth century political power at Old Parliament House, Henry’s life story is interwoven with the political and economic development of the state we know today.

Ayers House

As one of the last mansions on North Terrace, Ayers House is a rare sight. This bluestone mansion is a well-known feature of the city, partly because of its most famous owner, Sir Henry Ayers. Henry Ayers arrived in South Australia in 1840, four…

East End Market & East End Hotel

In 1847, the colonial government set out the rules for the establishment of markets in the city. The Adelaide City Council allocated a space on Pirie Street for a new produce market shortly thereafter, but traders soon found the space too small and…

Adelaide Botanic Garden (Henry's Adelaide)

The dream of opening a Botanic Garden in the city can be traced as far back as Colonel Light. It would take nearly two decades for this idea to be realised with the 1954 establishment of the Garden at its current position just outside the square…

St. Paul's Anglican Church (Henry's Adelaide)

As South Australia’s population grew so too did its concentration of Anglicans. With the influx too great for the North Terrace’s Holy Trinity Church, a string of new places of worship were built in Whitmore Square, Halifax Street and Pulteney…

University of Adelaide (Henry's Adelaide)

As Adelaide entered its fourth decade, talk of establishing a scholarly institution befitting a modern city gained momentum. With the help of a significant £20,000 donation from Walter Watson Hughes, Parliament (led by Sir Henry as Chief Secretary)…

South Australian Museum (Minerals Collection)

From Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to the steam engine, scientific enquiry and exploration of the natural world was an important aspect of the Victorian era, and like many worldly men of his time Henry kept a close eye on new developments. The early…

Mortlock Wing (Henry's Adelaide)

The Mortlock Wing is a stunning example of Victorian library architecture, and with its shelves lined with beautiful old tomes and volumes still evokes the tradition of lending libraries that in the first years of the colony was one of the only…

Old Parliament House (Henry's Adelaide)

South Australia’s Legislative Council was originally a board of four that served to assist the Governors of the time. A 1842 act of British Parliament increased this to seven, with further restructuring arriving in 1850 as the introduction of…