Ayers House Library Restoration



Ayers House stands today not only the last surviving mansion of its era on the southern side of North Terrace but also as an interpretation of the life of an upper middle class family of the 19th Century. The owner of this building Sir Henry Ayers came from England as a young man with little schooling but went on to become Premier of South Australia seven times. He commissioned the conversion of nine roomed brick house to become the forty roomed mansion that we see today. Sir Henry’s North Terrace House was completed in 1876 the interior had been hand stencilled room after room.

We were contracted to undertake various upgrade and restoration works including the stabilisation and repair of the ceiling, repairs to the slate hearth, carpentry repairs and structure improvements, reveal restoration, electrical upgrade and replastering / painting to strict heritage guidelines.


This project required close liaison with the Ayers House Function Manager as adjacent rooms and facilities were still being used for event bookings. This was achieved and recognised by Ayers House management. Scheduling of work with noise or dust generation was carefully monitored and timing negotiated. These events could have been an issue but were negated by the planning of tasks in consultation with the onsite function event’s organisers and the Spotless Project Superintendent.  Trades access was kept discrete by early activity scheduling for heavy materials deliveries.  Additional structural repairs were identified during construction which required structural engineering recommendations. These were coordinated quickly with minor delay. Additional works outside the contract were identified early allowing for approvals to be expedited as soon as possible to minimise any delay or disruption seeking approvals. Particular attention to preparation of access to the library ceiling was initiated. A mixture of rigid and mobile scaffolding allowed for good trade and inspection access. The setup of the large rigid scaffold provided an excellent working platform for multiple trades to work in tandem. The scaffolding setup in the library was significant in saving time and money on this project.

In summary good communication with advance notice for all the key activities contributed to a no fuss approach with the expedition of the project.

Location: Adelaide
Architect: Swanbury Penglase
Client: Spotless & DPTI
Value: $91k