About the Park Lands

Did you know that the Park Lands completely circle the City and North Adelaide, include the 5 squares and are made up of 30 individual parks?

The Park Lands are part of our City's rich heritage and increasingly diverse future.

How big were the Park Lands in the beginning?

Were there always Squares?

What was the original landscape like?

Did you know that the Park Lands are visited over 9 million times a year?

Did you know that more projects have been delivered in the Park Lands over the last 5 years than in the last 25 years?

Did you know that around 21% of the area of the Park Lands is facilities for sport and almost 2% are paddocks for horses?

Did you know that from A-Z, there is something for all in the Park Lands?

How big were the Park Lands in the beginning?

The original Park Lands as set aside by Colonel Light, were not fixed and delineated by a surveyed external boundary – they were roughly sketched around the outside of the planned City. The two sections of the built form of the City were identified by Light as being 1,042 acres (422 ha) in total, which included 1000 saleable acres and 42 acres of (internal) reserves – squares (38 acres) plus four Government offices (4 acres).

At the same time, the Cemetery was also reserved by way of an allocation of 30 acres (13 ha) in the western Park Lands.

The size of the Park Lands was later (1839) established when Governor Gawler, following speculative attempts by settlers to occupy them, acted to purchase the Park Lands in order to secure their future. This was done by way of a ‘promissory note’ for £2,300 (at £1 per acre)!

In short, the original Park Lands were about 2,300 Acres or 930 Hectares!

This figure included nine Government Reserves totalling 33.6 ha (80.8 acres) and included the Cemetery, Barracks, and Schools.

Were there always Squares?

Light’s original allocation for the Park Lands did not include the 6 Squares.

However, the Adelaide Park Lands Act 2005 (through the Adelaide Park Lands Plan) now include the Squares (which totals 25.3 ha) as part of the Park Lands.

Interestingly, Light allocated 15.4 ha for the Squares but possibly this did not include the perimeter land (mainly roads), taking the Square to the building line, which now defines the extent of the Squares.

Today, the Park Lands are at 955.3 Hectares!

Subsequent Surveyors interpreted Colonel Light’s Plan and the 2300 acres figure and determined the mapped boundary that we use today. The City boundary was re-examined during the development of the current Adelaide Park Lands Plan and found to be quite accurate.

What was the original landscape like?

Originally, the Park Lands were vegetated with a mixture of Blue Gum and River Red Gum Open Forest and Mallee Box and Grey Box Woodland.

Unfortunately, by 1850 the Park Lands were a scene of ruin and desolation. As settlement proceeded both in and beyond the City centre, the Park Lands were quickly exploited for any available timber for construction and firewood, intensively grazed, mined for any useful deposits and used as a refuse dump for the City’s waste.

Did you know that the Park Lands are visited over 9 million times a year?

To help our planning for the future of the Park Lands it is important to understand how many people currently use them, what areas people are using and what they are doing there.

To assist with this we undertook a research study to calculate how many visits there are to the Park Lands in a year.

The answer is over 9 million visits a year (2012/13). To put this figure in context, it is equivalent to each person living in South Australia (1.67 million) visiting the Park Lands around five times a year.

The research covers all Park Lands uses, including organised sport and school use, events, informal recreation and other Park Lands destinations. The findings of this research increase understanding of the Park Lands, and their nature and diversity of their use.

DOWNLOAD TO VIEW: Download the full report (PDF)

A few headlines:

Did you know that more projects have been delivered in the Park Lands over the last 5 years than in the last 25 years?

Before planning for the future of the Park Lands it is important to reflect on how they have changed in recent years.

We have prepared a report on what has been delivered in the Park Lands since the current Park Lands Strategy was endorsed in 2010.

The exciting news is that more projects have been delivered in the Park Lands over the last 5 years than in the last 25 years!

Download an update on what has been delivered in response to the 2010 Park Lands Strategy. 

The top 10 “Big and Bold” projects are listed on page 9 of the document. Be sure to also check out the “Best of the Rest” on page 13. These are the small project that together make a big impact!

Did you know that around 21% of the area of the Park Lands is facilities for sport and almost 2% are paddocks for horses?

To help our planning for the future of the Park Lands an analysis of the spatial make-up of the Park Lands has been undertaken. Area calculations have been taken from aerial photography.

This analysis is seen as important to conceptualise and understand the diversity of the vast Park Lands (955 hectares).

DOWNLOAD TO VIEW: Download the results of the analysis (PDF)

Did you know that from A-Z, there is something for all in the Park Lands?

The Adelaide Park Lands are filled with action, adventure, opportunity; in fact there’s  an alphabet of activities that take place in the city’s green space every day.