National Trust to come home to Ayers House

The SA National Trust will return to Ayers House permanently thanks to legislation passed in the wake of its eviction by the Marshall Government in 2021.

Apr 11, 2024, updated Apr 11, 2024
Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

The Ayers House Bill passed by the Malinauskas Government in state parliament this week will establish the state heritage-listed Ayers House as the SA National Trust’s permanent home.

The not for profit Trust was located at the North Terrace landmark for nearly 50 years  before being evicted in 2021 after then-environment minister David Speirs announced the History Trust of South Australia, an arm of the state government, would set up offices there.

The National Trust had been Ayers House caretaker since 1972 after being granted the site by Premier Don Dunstan, but the order to abruptly move out forced it to pack up its museum, which was open to the public.

After the Malinauskas Government was elected in March 2022, it cancelled the decision to move the History Trust in and said the National Trust would be returning.

The History Trust, which had been housed at the Torrens Parade Ground, eventually found a new North Tce base.

Environment Minister Susan Close said the new legislation cemented Ayers House as the SA National Trust’s “permanent home” and the state government would spend $5.7 million on its upgrade.

“The state government promised to treat the National Trust with the respect it deserves and this is another example of delivering on our election commitments,” she said.

“The National Trust has worked tirelessly to protect and promote heritage in South Australia since 1955.

“The Ayers House Act will ensure that the National Trust is safeguarded from any future ministers evicting them on a whim like the previous government did.”

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SA National Trust president Paul Leadbeater said it was a “significant moment”.

“The Ayers House Act ensures the symbiotic relationship between the Trust and Ayers House will continue and prosper into the future, and enable people to visit, understand and enjoy the building in all its intended capacities,” he said.

Topics: Ayers House
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