Carrick Hill

Extracts from The Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on A Proposed Sale of Land at Carrick Hill.

Selected extracts from the final draft of a Public Document tabled in Parliament. They should not be taken as authoritative. The only version that should be relied on is the final complete copy of the Report tabled in the South Australian Legislative Council on 5 December 1996.

2. The Property

Carrick Hill is situated at 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield, at the southern end of Fullarton Road, 7.2 kilometres from the centre of the City of Adelaide. It comprises 39.5 hectares of garden and grounds.

Built in 1939, the house is a two storey, stone-faced building designed by Woods, Bagot, Laybourne-Smith and Irwin in the style of an English manor house of the time of Elizabeth I.

It features a large ornamental staircase and Elizabethan oak panelling and doorways which came from Beaudesert Castle in Staffordshire, England, making it the oldest interior in Australia.

The house contains a private art collection which includes 19th and 20th century British, European and Australian paintings, sculptures, antique furniture, china and silver.

  • Australian artists represented include Emanuel Phillips Fox, Arthur Streeton, George Lambert, Hans Heysen, Nora Heysen, John Dowie, Russell Drysdale, Ivor Hele and William Dobell.
  • French artists include Paul Gauguin, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Henri Matisse, Rene Lalique and Eugene Boudin.
  • British artists include Stanley Spencer, Walter Sickert, Augustus John, Gwen John, Paul Nash, Victor Pasmore and Jacob Epstein. 

2.2  The Hayward Bequest

Sir Edward and Lady Hayward executed a Deed on 12 June 1970 in which they agreed to make separate Wills bequeathing their Springfield property, Carrick Hill, the house and its contents to the people of South Australia, to pass into the hands of the State on the death of both partners.

A condition of the bequest was that the residence, grounds and suitable contents should be used as a home for the State Governor, or as a museum, or as a gallery for the display of works of art, or as a botanical garden, or for a combination of these uses.

If the State declined the gift, the Deed nominated The National Trust as an alternative beneficiary.  Further, the Deed made specific provision for the sale and subdivision of land by The National Trust if it were to become the recipient, ie.

….and I expressly declare that the said The National Trust shall be at liberty …. at any time or from time to time to sell or to sub-divide and sell in one or several lots any portion of the said land (other than the said residence and a garden area surrounding it ….) in order to provide a fund sufficient …. to answer out of the income thereof the cost of maintaining the balance of the said land and the said residence and the said chattels.

Lady Hayward died on 6 August 1970.

In January 1971, the State accepted the gift “subject to the conditions set out in the Will”.

2.3  Carrick Hill Vesting Act 1971

The Carrick Hill Vesting Act 1971 provided for the Government to hold Carrick Hill as a residence for the Governor.

In 1974, a Carrick Hill review committee reported on the most appropriate use and development of the property.  The Report recommended against its becoming a Vice-Regal residence. Development of a sculpture park was recommended.

The Carrick Hill Vesting Act was amended in 1982. The new Section 4 of the Act extended the permitted uses to encompass all of the purposes allowed by the Deed and Wills of Sir Edward and Lady Hayward, ie. for one or more of the following purposes: as a residence for the Governor, or as a museum, or as a gallery for the display of works of art, or as botanical gardens

Sir Edward died on 13 August 1983 and the property passed into the hands of the State.

2.4  Carrick Hill Trust Act 1985

In 1984 a Review Committee reassessed and updated the 1974 report.  It recommended, in part, the establishment of a Carrick Hill Trust to manage the property and explored various options for subdivision of the land.

A Bill for an Act to establish the Carrick Hill Trust was introduced into Parliament on 14 November 1984 and proclaimed in May 1985.  The Carrick Hill Trust Act 1985 repealed the Carrick Hill Vesting Act, established the Carrick Hill Trust to administer the bequest on behalf of the State and vested Carrick Hill in the Trust.

The Act states, inter alia, that the functions of the Trust are to administer, develop and maintain Carrick Hill for all or any of the following purposes:

            as a gallery for the display of works of art
            as a museum
            as a botanical garden

With regard to the sale of land, the Act provides, under Section 13, subsection (5), that “The Trust shall not, without the approval of both Houses of Parliament, sell or otherwise dispose of any of its real property.”

It is relevant to note that the original Bill provided for the sale of land, subject only to the approval of the Minister. The Parliament unanimously accepted the principle that land could be sold, and members were concerned only about the processes and protections associated with any move to sell or dispose of real property.

Section 13 (6) provides that “The Trust shall not, without the consent of the Minister, sell or otherwise dispose of any object owned by it that is of artistic, historical or cultural interest.”

The redevelopment of Carrick Hill was a major Jubilee 150 project and the redeveloped Carrick Hill was officially opened by HM the Queen on 9 March 1986 during the 1986 Festival of the Arts.

2.5  Select Committee 1987

During 1985, the Trust resolved to establish a sculpture park in the grounds in line with Sir Edward Hayward’s wishes and prepared a master plan for development of the property.  To fund the sculpture park, the Trust proposed the sale of eight residential allotments to net an estimated $1.2 million.  The Trust proposed to hold this money in a trust fund and use the revenue to help fund the development of the Sculpture Park in future years.

In April 1987, the House of Assembly passed a resolution to approve the sale of a portion of the Carrick Hill land to fund a sculpture park.  The Legislative Council referred the matter to a Select Committee which reported in October 1987.

The 1987 Select Committee was evenly divided on a resolution to recommend approval by Parliament of the proposed sale of land.  It agreed to recommend that if Parliament were to approve the proposed sale of land, no further land at Carrick Hill should be sold.

The Legislative Council negatived the subsequent motion (to approve the sale of land) in November 1987.

3.  Background to the Proposal currently before Parliament

3.1  Future Directions

The Carrick Hill Trust and Government agreed in 1995 on three strategic directions for the future of Carrick Hill:

  • to develop Carrick Hill as a premier cultural tourism attraction
  • to attain financial self-sufficiency
  • to preserve and improve building and grounds to enhance amenity, improve attractiveness and increase revenue generation

To achieve these goals, Carrick Hill needs to generate additional recurrent funding.  It also urgently needs capital expenditure for restoration, preservation and maintenance work, and improvements.

…end of extract 1

5.  Discussion

Other submissions and evidence presented to the Select Committee addressed the following areas:

1.  Conservation, environment and open space
2.  Financial and management issues
3.  Integrity of the estate, aesthetics and cultural heritage
4.  Legal and moral/ethical issues
5.  Loss of amenity
6.  Planning and development

5.1  Conservation, environment and open space

The Committee considered evidence that there are remnants of native forest on the land proposed for sale and that it should be preserved and allowed to regenerate.  Evidence was tendered that the Greybox (Eucalyptus microcarpa) woodland on the southern part of the estate is a remnant of an ancient native forest and is one of the most important remnant areas of Greybox found within the Adelaide suburban district and has a high conservation rating.

It was put to the Committee that the proposed subdivision would destroy native vegetation and habitat for wildlife.  The woodland contains a number of species of significant native plants and provides an important habitat for a number of bird species and other indigenous fauna and forms part of a native wildlife corridor.

Apart from the land’s legal status as open space, which is discussed elsewhere, a number of submissions addressed the environmental and public amenity aspects of its open space character.  It was further submitted that the land fits the principles and objectives of the Government’s Metropolitan Open Space System (MOSS), although it was conceded the Government had not nominated Carrick Hill as part of MOSS.

Generally, the Committee found the arguments relating to conservation and environmental issues persuasive.  Questioning revealed that while many witnesses held to the view that sale of any part of the land was undesirable, nearly all placed varying degrees of value on different parts of the area in question.  The area most highly valued was on the rising ground in the southern part of the estate.  The environmental value placed on different areas appeared to decrease further away to the north-east (ie. down through the existing car parks) and west towards Carrick Hill Road (ie. through the quarry area and towards the entrance).  The least valued land from an environment perspective appeared to be the northern portion of the western “dog-leg” (ie. between the existing entrance road and the boundary with the Coreega Avenue Estate).

The Committee agreed that any development should avoid as far as possible the most environmentally sensitive and valued areas.  Further, it noted the desirability of maintaining a buffer zone between such areas and any development.