Heysen heritage

The move to preserve the Hahndorf legacy of Australia’s most notable landscape artist, Sir Hans Heysen, will ensure his home The Cedars is preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The property and gracious homestead sits largely untouched since Sir Hans’ death in 1968, allowing art and history enthusiasts to relish in moments frozen in time.
The Cedars’ owners – four Heysen grandchildren – have recognised that the future of Sir Hans’ legacy is under threat as time rolls on.
Transferring the property to the Hans Heysen Foundation will ensure it remains safe and opens opportunities for further enhancements – such as a proposed new cultural centre.
The home and its contents, a 1913 stone studio and art collection are worth a combined $7.5m and that is why the appointment of legendary entertainer Barry Humphries as campaign president is an excellent move.
Aside from his beloved alter egos, Mr Humphries is also an avid art collector and his support of the proposal will generate international recognition.
Australia’s consul-general in New York, Nick Minchin, has also been called on to rally support as has Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer.
The Heysen family must be commended for their generosity in donating more than $2m to the foundation and putting their grandfather’s legacy ahead of their own wealth.
It’s fair to say The Cedars has been largely underutilised and not fully appreciated for its cultural worth and tourism potential.
Perhaps it’s the location – away from the bustling tourist strip of the main street – which makes The Cedars a hidden gem only relatively few experience.
No place like The Cedars exists in SA and its planned revamp is based on similar ventures in Europe which offer visitors the chance to tour the homes and studios of artists such as Monet, Renoir and Rodin.
Visitors to Sir Hans’ 1913 stone studio can stand on the exact floor rug the artist stood on to paint or enjoy a short stroll through the paddocks and stand at the same locations from where he painted some of his most famous landscapes.
The Cedars is dripping in culture and tourism potential. As long as the property is not turned into a Disneyland, it should be a boon for the district.