The beautiful Carrick Hill estate was the result of the marriage, in 1935, of members of two of Adelaide's most prominent families. Edward (Bill) Hayward was a son of the wealthy merchant family that for more than 100 years owned John Martin's Ltd, once Adelaide's greatest department store. His bride, Ursula Barr Smith, was a daughter of an even wealthier family of pastoralists.
Ursula's father gave the couple the land on which Carrick Hill now stands as a wedding present. During their year-long honeymoon they acquired much of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth-century panelling, doors, staircases and windows from the demolition sale of Beaudesert, a Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, England.
A family friend, Adelaide architect, James Irwin, designed the house around these fittings, and while the overall appearance is of a seventeenth-century English manor house, it incorporates all 'the latest' in 1930's technology. Oak panelling and pewter light fittings happily blend with heated towel rails, ensuite bathrooms and intercom systems.
Carrick Hill was under construction from 1937 to 1939, and at the same time, Ursula designed the garden. Ursula and Edward moved in during the winter of 1939, only to be torn apart soon after by the Second World War when Edward Hayward left to serve with distinction in the Middle East and the Pacific, becoming one of the famous 'Rats of Tobruk'.
After the war, the Haywards continued filling the house with a wealth of paintings, sculpture, antiques and drawings spanning nearly 500 years of artistic achievement. This highly personalised collection is an interesting mix of Georgian and Victorian pieces, mostly inherited from Ursula's family oak furniture, collected to match the house; and contemporary, often quite avant-garde British, French and Australian paintings and sculpture.
Many of the artists represented in the collection were close friends of the Haywards, including identities such as Sir William Dobell, Sir Russell Drysdale, Sir Jacob Epstein, Donald Friend, Nora Heysen, John Dowie and Adrian Feint.
Carrick Hill was just one of the Haywards' four homes. They also spent time at their country property at Delamere, breeding Hereford cattle and polo ponies; a beach house at Port Willunga; and a townhouse in Mayfair, London, conveniently located close to many art and antique dealers.
In 1961 Edward was knighted for his service to the community and to business.