Arts Minister Andrea Michaels officially declared the $7 million building open yesterday, but said its planned casual restaurant to be operated by the family behind Chianti and Bar Torino will not serve meals until December.
In the meantime, a pop-up caravan is serving coffee at the 100-acre estate in the Adelaide foothills, after long-time Carrick Hill café and events operators Habel Catering packed their kitchen gear and moved out last month.
Michaels said both the restaurant and events space would be operated by the Favaro Group.
The 75-seat restaurant is expected to operate during the day from Wednesday to Sunday, while the events space can seat 200 people and will host year-round events like weddings, corporate gatherings and public talks.
“Carrick Hill is a cherished destination for art and nature lovers, with more than 150,000 visitors taking advantage of its offerings in the last year alone,” Michaels said.
A new visitor hub and expanded shop is planned for the space vacated by the old cafe in the nearby House Museum.
Habel Catering co-directors John Gabel and Amy Hage lost out in their bid to run the new space perched on the hillside near the top car park after running the cafe for several years.
The marquee in front of the historic house that was previously used by Habel Catering for weddings and events is expected to be removed this year.
Ashley Halliday Architects designed the new building on elevated land near the existing Carrick Hill car park. The building overlooks the nearby original home and nearly 40ha estate once owned by Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward and designed by architect James Irwin in 1937.
It is surrounded by new landscaping and has views across the estate’s well-established gardens, eight kilometres from the Adelaide CBD.
“The garden landscape is drawn into the pavilion, large openable doors and windows blurring the boundary between inside and outside,” Ashley Halliday Architects said in describing the venue.
“Particular attention has been paid as to how the light plays across material surfaces to enable visitors to discover the unique light and atmosphere at Carrick Hill.”
The project, which includes new car parking, received $3 million in federal funding, $1 million in SA government funding and $3 million raised by the Carrick Hill Development Foundation.
Costs and construction times have blown out for the Carrick Hill project, with a $5 million building plan for the new pavilion announced in September 2020 increasing last year to $6.7 million.
A government spokesperson previously blamed COVID-related construction costs and delays, adding that the foundation had increased its pledge from $2 million to $3.2 million.
“This impressive new facility opens a new chapter in the storied history of Carrick Hill and will give new and previous visitors another way to enjoy this remarkable place,” Boothby MP Louise Miller-Frost said about the opening.
Carrick Hill was a bequest to the people of South Australia from the Haywards.
The South Australian Government accepted the bequest in 1983 and the Carrick Hill Trust Act was enacted in 1985. Carrick Hill was officially opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.
Its Children’s Story Book Trail follows a track through the expansive gardens, weaving past ponds and through groves of trees, celebrating stories like Wind in the Willows, Toad of Toad Hall and Three Billy Goats Gruff. It includes a Hobbit House like the ones in Bagend where Bilbo lives in J.J.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
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