The Adelaide CBD houses the former house of Henry Ayers, seven times premier of South Australia. Maybe he is mostly known to us because of the name of Uluru/Ayers rock. Mr. Ayers came from England as a member of the lower class and made his way up the social ladder quickly once he’d arrived in South Australia. Soon he became an important figure in the development of Adelaide, famous not only in politics, but also famous for his parties and lunches. Originally his house was just a small rental, but he agreed with his landlord that he could expand at his own expense. Now the house counts 40 rooms. It is still here. You can visit Ayers house with a guided tour.
In the higher middle class it was important to show you were important. Ayers often received guests in his house and they were well looked after. Wandering through the house you’ll see luxurious dining rooms and rooms for entertainment. A big staircase leads upstairs where Ayers had rooms for guests to stay. The men slept on one side, the women on the other. They would never sleep together when they were visiting.
Women just seemed to be there to entertain. If you were to stay for a week you’d need about 28 dresses. If you didn’t change at least four times a day, Mr. Ayers would think your man didn’t look after you. I admit, that’s not so bad. Dinner would be eight courses, but as a woman you could only eat little bits of each course, while the men dug in like pigs. Imagine seeing plates for of delicacies in front of you and you can only take a bite. You are wearing a corset and they don’t allow you to eat much more than that. The next day, the leftovers were for the women, but if a man was present, everything needed to be cooked freshly.
Ayers had even thought about Adelaide’s weather, which can differ a lot from winter to summer. He’d built rooms under the ground. If it was 40 degrees outside, the temperature there would still be pleasant. It was also a very good place to keep all the fancy wines. The house still has a certain grandeur. The rooms are spacious with high ceilings, painted by hand. Even in the 21st century you can see that the people living here were well off. As I walk out I glance back. Maybe one day I will have a house like this one.