Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills

Part of the colourful cottage gardens at Hans Heyson’s home and studio, “The Cedars” at Hahndorf


05 November 2017

Today we said goodbye to the Barossa Valley and made our way to our last overnight stop, Hahndorf.  It is only a short distance to drive, and with good roads we were at our destination by about 11.30am.  As we planned to visit the property of Australian painter, Hans Heysen, for a 1pm tour, we first stopped off at Hahndorf for a light lunch.  The town was quite crowded, lots of cars in the narrow main street, and obviously a popular place for a weekend visit by Adelaidians!


We arrived at The Cedars early enough to have a short walk around the beautiful gardens before the tour commenced.  The gardens are quite breathtaking, and the property itself is so serene and peaceful.  Our guide, Janet, was ready at the appointed time, and we were her only visitors, so we had her full attention!  We were asked not to take photographs inside the house and studio, so images on my blog will be restricted to the outside of the property only, (such as the office at left).


Janet talked to us about the early life of Hans Heysen and that he was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1877, and arrived in Australia when his parents migrated in 1884 at the age of about six.  His artistic ability was recognised early in his life, and he was a prolific artist.  His daughter, Nora, followed in his footsteps, she concentrated on still life paintings while Heysen is best known for his wonderful Australian landscapes, although we saw some of his early still life paintings and they are amazing.  Janet described the buildings and how they had been added to and renovated and our first building to explore was the artist’s studio (right).  Everything in the studio had been left as it was when he was painting, and it was a great feeling to know that we were in the same environment as the great painter.


We then moved on to the house Heysen eventually lived in with his wife, Sallie, and their eight children.  It has been renovated over time but the interior is as it was at that time.  The main dining table was set with beautiful crockery and cutlery, his paintings are all over the house, and it was just a delight to roam around the house and hear more of his life from Janet.



It is difficult to describe the gardens, mainly cottage style with a huge collection of different types of flowers, and magnificent trees that have obviously been there for many years. One can only imagine that for an artist it was a perfect property to reside in.  The studio was designed so that it welcomed the morning sun, and this is where Heysen worked from about 5.30am in the morning for 4-5 hours.  The house itself was filled with light, and almost all of the windows overlooked the beautiful garden.  The property is set on 150 acres.

There was an overpowering perfume of Robinia (below left), Honeysuckle (below right) beautiful vines (below centre) and so many flowers and shrubs that I could not identify, but we loved the whole place!









Tomorrow we will return to Adelaide for our early evening flight back to Canberra, and intend to visit the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens on the way.

To read more about Hans Heysen click here

To read more about Nora Heysen click here

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