Architect Personal DetailsArchitectural works in South Australia
Firms or Professional PartnershipsBibliographic Sources

Architect Personal Details


Bayer (Beyer)

First name

Ernest Henry








Adelaide born but educated in England, Ernest Bayer was prominent in South Australian circles in the latter part of the nineteenth century. He was a member of the inaugural committee of the South Australian Institute of Architects (SAIA).

Born on 21 March 1852, Bayer was the third son of Dr Frederick Charles Bayer who had arrived in South Australia from Germany in 1847 on the Heloise. His mother, Eliza, was the daughter of Dr Kent after whom Kent Town was named. He was educated at Hanwell College, Middlesex, England. In 1875 he married Harriet, the eldest daughter of Mr A.J. Tolley, the wine and spirit merchant, at Christ Church, North Adelaide. His brother, C.A. Bayer, was a Hydraulic Engineer. Bayer died of heart failure at Glenelg on 20 October 1908 aged 56, leaving three sons and four daughters (Jensen and Jensen 1980; Obituary: 40d; South Australian marriages index 2001). He is buried at West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

Upon leaving Hanwell College, Bayer took up architectural studies, completing his articles with a Mr Saunders of London. He returned to Adelaide in 1873 as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and in July 1874 went into private practice on his own at Central Chambers, Waymouth Street (Jensen and Jensen 1980; Page 1986). In 1878 he was a supporter of the newly launched Adelaide - Port Adelaide Brick Company. Bayer formed a partnership with Latham A Withall in 1879, with Bayer returning to England for a year in 1883. The partnership with Withall dissolved in December1884 ('Public Notices' 1885: 2-3). He had a brief association with Rowland Rees in 1888 when they were appointed jointly as architects and referees for the restoration of the Adelaide Club (Jensen and Jensen 1980). A number of architects-in-the making worked for the Bayer Withall partnership or with Bayer. Alfred Wells was their head draughtsman, later forming Withall & Wells in 1885. J Quinton Bruce undertook his articles with the partnership and was later Bayer’s chief draughtsman until 1894. Henry Fuller and Louis Laybourne Smith also worked as draughtsmen for Bayer (Page 1986). From 1899 to 1908, Bayer practised from 31 Pirie Chambers, Pirie Street (Willis 1998).

Actively involved in wider professional activities, Bayer was elected Vice President of the Architectural Students’ Association in September 1884. In 1886 he was elected to a committee to initiate the SAIA, becoming an inaugural councillor of the Institute in that same year (Jensen and Jensen 1980; Page 1986).

As well as being a sought after designer of houses for the upper middle-classes, which included The Marines at Grange (1882) and additions to Forest Lodge, Aldgate (1890-1895) for John Bagot, Bayer designed a number of hotels and schools (Bayer Papers; Jensen and Jensen 1980). Many of Bayer’s listings on the State Heritage Register come from the time of his partnership with Withall. Bayer designed the western section of the Christian Brothers College, Wakefield Street, Adelaide, in 1878, while the south wing fronting Wakefield Street was undertaken by the partnership in 1880 (Marsden et al. 1990). Bayer and Withall were recognised for their high level of detailing in a range of styles. The Cathedral Hotel, North Adelaide (1880), which has also been attributed to English & Soward (Jensen and Jensen 1980), is ‘typical in form of a hotel built during the boom period with stuccoed dressings and chamfered corner’ (Stark 1984: 115). McDougall & Vines (1998: 54) believe that Korra Weera in Marden is likely to have been designed by Bayer and Withall. Complete with Italianate tower, they regard it as ‘an outstanding example of an 1880s Adelaide villa’. The land was bought in 1882, a tender notice for the residence appeared in October 1884 and it was completed in early 1885 (McDougall and Vines 1998). Other Bayer and Withall commissions include Estcourt House, Tennyson (1882), in the Palladian style and the classical ‘Italian’ Largs Bay Pier Hotel (1882) (State Heritage Register Report, 1988; Peake 1982; Danvers Architects 1994; Jensen and Jensen 1980). The Grandstand at Victoria Park Racecourse (1882) showcases cast iron work in a non-domestic situation (City of Adelaide Heritage Study 1982).

Alison McDougall

Citation details
McDougall, Alison, 'Bayer, Ernest Henry’, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia, 2008, Architects of South Australia: []




Architectural works in South Australia

Name Suburb Year Designed
Christian Brothers College Adelaide 1878
Cathedral Hotel North Adelaide
The Marines Grange 1882
Grandstand, Victoria Park Adelaide
Largs Pier Hotel Largs Bay
Estcourt House Tennyson 1882
Norwood Town Hall Norwood 1881
Korra Weera Marden 1884

Firms or Professional Partnerships

Name Dates Worked
Bayer & Withall 1879-1884 

Bibliographic Sources


Jensen, E. and Jensen, R. (1980) Colonial architecture in South Australia: a definitive chronicle of development 1836-1890 and the social history of the times, Rigby Publishers Ltd. Adelaide.
Langmead, D. (1994) Accidental architect: The life and times of George Strickland Kingston, Crossing Press, Sydney.
Marsden, S., Stark, P. and Sumerling, P. (1990) Heritage of the City of Adelaide: an illustrated guide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide.
Morgan, E.J.R. and Gilbert, S.H. (1969) Early Adelaide architecture, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Page, M. (1986) Sculptors in space: South Australian architects 1836-1986, RAIA (SA), Adelaide.
Peake, A.G. (1982) Estcourt House: A history, Rua Rua Nursing Home, Tennyson.

'Public Notices', South Australian Register 3 January 1885: 2-3 online at http: //
‘Obituaries of the week: E.H. Bayer’ (1908) Observer, 24 October: 40d.

South Australian marriages index of registrations 1842-1916 (2001) South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc., Vol. 1 A-C: 104.
South Australian State Heritage Register

Bayer, E.H. Papers and Drawings, BRG 343, State Library of South Australia.

Danvers Architects (1994) ‘Heritage survey of the City of Woodville’, Department of Environment and Natural Resources : 66.
Stark, P. (1984) in Donovan, P., Marsden, S. and Stark, P. (1986) ‘City of Adelaide Heritage Study’, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, MacDonnell Ward, vol. 6: 115.
Jolly, B. (2000) ‘Preliminary listing for the Database of Australasian Architects and Associated Professionals’, Architecture Museum, Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design, University of South Australia (AM).
McDougall, K. and Vines, E. (1998) ‘City of Payneham heritage survey’, Department for Environment and Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs, Item RSH03.

Australian Heritage Database, accessed online 10 September 2007 at
Australian Heritage Places Inventory, accessed online 10 September 2007 at
Manning, G.H. The Manning Index of South Australian History, accessed online 10 September 2007 at

Willis, J. (1998) South Australian Architects Biography Project, University of South Australia, CD ROM, AM.

Ernest Henry Bayer (year of death 1908) is buried at West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, at Road 2, Row 15, Plot 4 West.

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