From top to bottom, left to right: Central Adelaide from Mount Lofty, the UniSA Building on North Terrace, St Peter's Cathedral, the beachside suburb of Glenelg, a rotunda in Elder Park, and Victoria Square illuminated in the evening
|Area:||3257.7 km² (1,257.8 sq mi)|
• Summer (DST)
Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. In June 2014, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1.31 million. South Australia, with a total of 1.7 million inhabitants, has the most centralised population of any state in Australia, with more than 75 percent of its people living in greater Adelaide, while the other population centres in the state are relatively small.
The demonym "Adelaidean" is used in reference to the city and its residents. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 94 to 104 km (58 to 65 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south.
Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely-settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens, in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light's design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parklands. Early Adelaide was shaped by prosperity and wealth—until the Second World War, it was Australia's third-largest city and one of the few Australian cities to not have convict history. It has been noted for early examples of religious freedom, a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties. It has been known as the "City of Churches" since the mid-19th century.
As South Australia's seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist Intelligence Unit's World's Most Liveable Cities index in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. It was also ranked the most liveable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Before European settlement
Prior to its proclamation as a British settlement in 1836, the area around Adelaide was inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna Aboriginal nation (pronounced "Garner" or "Gowna").
Kaurna culture and language was almost completely destroyed within a few decades of the European settlement of South Australia in 1836. However, extensive documentation by early missionaries and other researchers has enabled a modern revival of both language and culture.
South Australia was officially proclaimed as a new British colony on 28 December 1836, near The Old Gum Tree in what is now the suburb of Glenelg North. The event is commemorated in South Australia as Proclamation Day. The site of the colony's capital was surveyed and laid out by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia, through the design made by the architect George Strickland Kingston.
Adelaide was established as a planned colony of free immigrants, promising civil liberties and freedom from religious persecution, based upon the ideas of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Wakefield had read accounts of Australian settlement while in prison in London for attempting to abduct an heiress, and realised that the eastern colonies suffered from a lack of available labour, due to the practice of giving land grants to all arrivals. Wakefield's idea was for the Government to survey and sell the land at a rate that would maintain land values high enough to be unaffordable for labourers and journeymen. Funds raised from the sale of land were to be used to bring out working class emigrants, who would have to work hard for the monied settlers to ever afford their own land. As a result of this policy, Adelaide does not share the convict settlement history of other Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.
As it was believed that in a colony of free settlers there would be little crime, no provision was made for a gaol in Colonel Light's 1837 plan. However, by mid-1837 the South Australian Register was warning of escaped convicts from New South Wales and tenders for a temporary gaol were sought. Following a burglary, a murder, and two attempted murders in Adelaide during March 1838, Governor Hindmarsh created the South Australian Police Force (now named South Australia Police) in April 1838 under 21-year-old Henry Inman. The first sheriff, Mr Samuel Smart, was wounded during a robbery, and on 2 May 1838 one of the offenders, Michael Magee, became the first person to be hanged in South Australia. William Baker Ashton was appointed governor of the temporary gaol in 1839, and in 1840 George Strickland Kingston was commissioned to design Adelaide's new gaol. Construction of Adelaide Gaol commenced in 1841.
Adelaide's early history was wrought by economic uncertainty and questionable leadership. The first governor of South Australia, John Hindmarsh, clashed frequently with others, in particular the Resident Commissioner, James Hurtle Fisher. The rural area surrounding Adelaide was surveyed by Light in preparation to sell a total of over 405 km2 (156 sq mi) of land. Adelaide's early economy started to get on its feet in 1838 with the arrival of livestock from Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. Wool production provided an early basis for the South Australian economy. By 1860, wheat farms had been established from Encounter Bay in the south to Clare in the north.
Governor Gawler took over from Hindmarsh in late 1838 and, despite being under orders from the Select Committee on South Australia in Britain not to undertake any public works, promptly oversaw construction of a governor's house, the Adelaide Gaol, police barracks, a hospital, a customs house and a wharf at Port Adelaide. Gawler was recalled and replaced by Governor Grey in 1841. Grey slashed public expenditure against heavy opposition, although its impact was negligible at this point: silver was discovered in Glen Osmond that year, agriculture was well underway, and other mines sprung up all over the state, aiding Adelaide's commercial development. The city exported meat, wool, wine, fruit and wheat by the time Grey left in 1845, contrasting with a low point in 1842 when one-third of Adelaide houses were abandoned.
Trade links with the rest of the Australian states were established with the Murray River being successfully navigated in 1853 by Francis Cadell, an Adelaide resident. South Australia became a self-governing colony in 1856 with the ratification of a new constitution by the British parliament. Secret ballots were introduced, and a bicameral parliament was elected on 9 March 1857, by which time 109,917 people lived in the province.
In 1860 the Thorndon Park reservoir was opened, finally providing an alternative water source to the now turbid River Torrens. Gas street lighting was implemented in 1867, the University of Adelaide was founded in 1874, the South Australian Art Gallery opened in 1881 and the Happy Valley Reservoir opened in 1896. In the 1890s Australia was affected by a severe economic depression, ending a hectic era of land booms and tumultuous expansionism. Financial institutions in Melbourne and banks in Sydney closed. The national fertility rate fell and immigration was reduced to a trickle. The value of South Australia's exports nearly halved. Drought and poor harvests from 1884 compounded the problems, with some families leaving for Western Australia.
Electric street lighting was introduced in 1900 and electric trams were transporting passengers in 1909. 28,000 men were sent to fight in World War I. Historian F.W. Crowley examined the reports of visitors in the early 20th century, noting that "many visitors to Adelaide admired the foresighted planning of its founders", as well as pondering on the riches of the young city. Adelaide enjoyed a post-war boom, entering a time of relative prosperity. Its population grew, and it became the 3rd most populous metropolitan area in the country—after Sydney and Melbourne. Its prosperity was short lived, with the return of droughts, having endured the Great Depression of the 1930s, and later returning to fortune under strong government leadership. Secondary industries helped reduce the state's dependence on primary industries. World War II brought industrial stimulus and diversification to Adelaide under the Playford Government, which advocated Adelaide as a safe place for manufacturing due to its less vulnerable location. Shipbuilding was expanded at the nearby port of Whyalla.
The South Australian Government in this period built on former wartime manufacturing industries. International manufacturers like General Motors Holden and Chrysler made use of these factories around Adelaide, completing its transformation from an agricultural service centre to a 20th-century city. A pipeline from Mannum brought River Murray water to Adelaide in 1954 and an airport opened at West Beach in 1955. Flinders University and the Flinders Medical Centre were established in the 1960s at Bedford Park, south of the city. Today, Flinders Medical Centre is one of the largest teaching hospitals within the South Australia.
The Dunstan Governments of the 1970s saw something of an Adelaide 'cultural revival', establishing a wide array of social reforms and overseeing the city becoming a centre of the arts, building upon the biennial "Adelaide Festival of Arts" which commenced in 1960. Adelaide hosted the Formula One Australian Grand Prix between 1985 and 1996 on a street circuit in the city's east parklands; it then moved to Melbourne in 1996. The 1991 State Bank collapsed during the then economic recession, with its effects lasting until 2004, when ratings agency Standard & Poor's reinstated South Australia's AAA credit rating. Since 1999, the Clipsal 500 Supercars race has made use of sections of the former Formula One circuit. Adelaide's tallest building, built in 1988, was originally known as the State Bank Building. In 1991 it was renamed the Santos Building and in 2006 it was again renamed Westpac House.
In the early years of the 21st century there was a significant increase in the State Government's spending on Adelaide's infrastructure. The Rann Government invested $535 million in a major upgrade of the Adelaide Oval to enable AFL to be played in the city centre and more than $2 billion to build a new Royal Adelaide Hospital on land adjacent to the Adelaide Railway Station. The Glenelg tramline was extended through the city to Hindmarsh and the suburban railway line extended south to Seaford.
Following a period of stagnancy in the 1990s and 2000s, Adelaide began several major developments and redevelopments. The Adelaide Convention Centre was redeveloped and expanded at a cost of $350 million beginning in 2012. Three historic buildings were adapted for modern use: the Torrens Building in Victoria Square as the Adelaide campus for Carnegie Mellon University, University College London and Torrens University; the Stock Exchange building as the Science Exchange of the Royal Institution Australia; and the Glenside Psychiatric Hospital as the Adelaide Studios of the SA Film Corporation. The government also invested more than $2 billion to build a desalination plant, powered by renewable energy, as an 'insurance policy' against droughts affecting Adelaide's water supply. In the Arts the Adelaide Festival, Fringe and Womadelaide became annual events.
Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges. The city stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km (56 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. According to the Regional Development Australia, an Australian government planning initiative, the "Adelaide Metropolitan Region" has a total land area of 870 km2 (340 sq mi), while a more expansive definition by the Australia Bureau of Statistics defines a "Greater Adelaide" statistical area totalling 3,257.7 km2 (1,257.8 sq mi). The city sits at an average elevation of 50 metres (160 ft) above sea level. Mount Lofty, east of the Adelaide metropolitan region in the Adelaide Hills at an elevation of 727 metres (2,385 ft), is the tallest point of the city and in the state south of Burra.
Much of Adelaide was bushland before British settlement, with some variation – sandhills, swamps and marshlands were prevalent around the coast. The loss of the sandhills to urban development had a particularly destructive effect on the coastline due to erosion. Where practical, the government has implemented programs to rebuild and vegetate sandhills at several of Adelaide's beachside suburbs. Much of the original vegetation has been cleared with what is left to be found in reserves such as the Cleland Conservation Park and Belair National Park. A number of creeks and rivers flow through the Adelaide region. The largest are the Torrens and Onkaparinga catchments. Adelaide relies on its many reservoirs for water supply with the Happy Valley Reservoir supplying around 40% and the much larger Mount Bold Reservoir 10% of Adelaide's domestic requirements respectively.
Adelaide and its surrounding area is one of the most seismically active regions in Australia. On 1 March 1954 at 3:40 am Adelaide experienced its largest recorded earthquake to date, with the epicentre 12 km from the city centre at Darlington, and a reported magnitude of 5.6. There have been smaller earthquakes in 2010, 2011 and 2014.
Adelaide is a planned city, designed by the first surveyor-general of South Australia, Colonel William Light. His plan, now known as Light's Vision, arranged Adelaide in a grid, with five squares in the Adelaide city centre and a ring of parks, known as the Adelaide Parklands, surrounding it. Light's selection of the location for the city was initially unpopular with the early settlers, as well as South Australia's first governor, John Hindmarsh, due to its distance from the harbour at Port Adelaide, and the lack of fresh water there. Light successfully persisted with his choice of location against this initial opposition.
The benefits of Light's design are numerous: Adelaide has had wide multi-lane roads from its beginning, an easily navigable cardinal direction grid layout and an expansive green ring around the city centre. There are two sets of ring roads in Adelaide that have resulted from the original design. The inner ring route (A21) borders the parklands, and the outer route (A3/A13/A16/A17) completely bypasses the inner city via (in clockwise order) Grand Junction Road, Hampstead Road, Ascot Avenue, Portrush Road, Cross Road and South Road.
Suburban expansion has to some extent outgrown Light's original plan. Numerous former outlying villages and "country towns", as well as the satellite city of Elizabeth, have been enveloped by its suburban sprawl. Expanding developments in the Adelaide Hills region led to the construction of the South Eastern Freeway to cope with growth, which has subsequently led to new developments and further improvements to that transport corridor. Similarly, the booming development in Adelaide's South led to the construction of the Southern Expressway.
New roads are not the only transport infrastructure developed to cope with the urban growth. The O-Bahn Busway is an example of a unique solution to Tea Tree Gully's transport woes in the 1980s. The development of the nearby suburb of Golden Grove in the late 1980s is an example of well-thought-out urban planning.
In the 1960s, a Metropolitan Adelaide Transport Study Plan was proposed in order to cater for the future growth of the city. The plan involved the construction of freeways, expressways and the upgrade of certain aspects of the public transport system. The then premier Steele Hall approved many parts of the plan and the government went as far as purchasing land for the project. The later Labor government elected under Don Dunstan shelved the plan, but allowed the purchased land to remain vacant, should the future need for freeways arise. In 1980, the Liberal party won government and premier David Tonkin committed his government to selling off the land acquired for the MATS plan, ensuring that even when needs changed, the construction of most MATS-proposed freeways would be impractical. Some parts of this land have been used for transport, (e.g. the O-Bahn Busway and Southern Expressway), while most has been progressively subdivided for residential use.
In 2008, the SA Government announced plans for a network of transport-oriented developments across the Adelaide metropolitan area and purchased a 10 hectare industrial site at Bowden for $52.5 million as the first of these developments. The site covers 102,478 square metres, or about 10 hectares, and is bounded by Park Terrace to the south, the Adelaide to Outer Harbour railway line to the west, Drayton Street to the north and Sixth and Seventh Streets to the east.
Historically, Adelaide's suburban residential areas have been characterised by single-storey detached houses built on 1,000-square-metre (1⁄4-acre) blocks. A relative lack of suitable locally available timber for construction purposes led to the early development of a brick-making industry, as well as the use of stone, for houses and other buildings. By 1891 68% of houses were built of stone, 15% of timber, and 10% of brick, with brick also being widely used in stone houses for quoins, door and window surrounds, and chimneys and fireplaces.
There is a wide variety in the styles of these predominately brick, and to a lesser degree, stone, and/or stone-faced, single-storey detached houses. After both of the World Wars, the use of red bricks was popular. In the 1960s, cream bricks became popular, and in the 1970s, deep red and brown bricks became popular. Until the 1970s, roofs tended to be clad with corrugated iron or clay tiles (usually red clay). Since then, cement tiles and colourbond corrugated (and other types of) iron have also become popular. Most roofs are pitched; flat roofs are not common. Up to the 1970s, the majority of houses were of "double brick" construction on concrete footings, with timber floors laid on joists supported by "dwarf walls". Due to Adelaide's reactive soils (particularly Keswick Clay, black earth and some red-brown earth soils), since then houses have mainly been constructed of "brick veneer" over a timber frame (and more recently, over a steel frame) on a concrete raft slab foundation. The use of precast concrete panels for floor and wall construction has also increased. In addition to this, a significant factor in Adelaide's suburban history is the role of the South Australian Housing Trust.
Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with warm to hot dry summers and mild short winters, with most precipitation falling in the winter months. Adelaide receives enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen's BSh (semi-arid climate) classification. Rainfall is unreliable, light and infrequent throughout summer. In contrast, the winter has fairly reliable rainfall with June being the wettest month of the year, averaging around 80 mm. Frosts are occasional, with the most notable occurrences in July 1908 and July 1982. Hail is also common in winter. Adelaide is a windy city—it experiences wind chill in winter, which makes the temperature seem colder than it actually is. Snowfall in the metropolitan area is extremely uncommon, although light and sporadic falls in the nearby hills and at Mount Lofty occur during winter. Dewpoints in the summer typically range from 8 to 10 °C (46 to 50 °F).
|Climate data for Adelaide (Kent Town, 1977–2013)|
|Record high °C (°F)||45.7
|Average high °C (°F)||29.3
|Average low °C (°F)||17.1
|Record low °C (°F)||9.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||19.0
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||4.4||3.6||5.8||8.0||12.1||14.9||16.3||16.6||13.4||10.2||8.2||7.0||120.5|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology.|
Compared with the four other major state capitals in Australia, Adelaide is growing at a much slower rate. In 2015, Adelaide had a metropolitan population of more than 1,316,779 making it Australia's fifth largest city. Some 77% of the population of South Australia are residents of the Adelaide metropolitan area, making South Australia one of the most centralised states.
Major areas of population growth in recent years have been in outer suburbs such as Mawson Lakes and Golden Grove. Adelaide's inhabitants occupy 366,912 houses, 57,695 semi-detached, row terrace or town houses and 49,413 flats, units or apartments.
About one sixth (17.1%) of the population had university qualifications. The number of Adelaideans with vocational qualifications (such as tradespersons) fell from 62.1% of the labour force in the 1991 census to 52.4% in the 2001 census.
Overseas-born Adelaideans composed 29.8% of the total population. Suburbs including Newton, Payneham and Campbelltown in the east and Torrensville, West Lakes and Fulham to the west, have large Greek and Italian communities. The Italian consulate is located in the eastern suburb of Payneham. Large Vietnamese populations are settled in the north-western suburbs of Woodville, Kilkenny, Pennington, Mansfield Park and Athol Park and also Parafield Gardens and Pooraka in Adelaide's north. Migrants from India and Sri Lanka have settled into inner suburban areas of Adelaide including the inner northern suburbs of Blair Athol, Kilburn and Enfield and the inner southern suburbs of Plympton, Park Holme and Kurralta Park.
Suburbs such as Para Hills, Salisbury, Ingle Farm and Blair Athol in the north and Findon, West Croydon and Seaton in the West are experiencing large migration from Afghanistan and Iran. Chinese migrants favour settling in the eastern and north eastern suburbs including Kensington Gardens, Greenacres, Modbury and Golden Grove. Mawson Lakes has a large international student population, due to its proximity to the University of South Australia campus. The five largest groups of overseas-born were from UK (7.0%), Italy (1.6%), India (1.4%), China (1.3%) and Vietnam (1.0%). The most-spoken languages other than English were Italian (2.6%), Greek (1.9%), Standard Mandarin (1.3%), Vietnamese (1.3%), and Cantonese (0.7%).
|Significant overseas born populations|
|Country of birth||Population (2011)|
Adelaide is ageing more rapidly than other Australian capital cities. More than a quarter (27.5%) of Adelaide's population is aged 55 years or older, in comparison to the national average of 25.6%. Adelaide has the lowest number of children (under-15-year-olds), who comprised 17.7% of the population, compared to the national average of 19.3%.
Adelaide was founded on a vision of religious tolerance which attracted a wide variety of religious practitioners. This led to it being known as The City of Churches. However, approximately 28% of the population expressed no religious affiliation in the 2011 Census, compared with the national average of 22.3%, making Adelaide one of the least religious cities in Australia. Over half of the population of Adelaide identifies as Christian, with the largest denominations being Catholic (21.3%), Anglican (12.6%), Uniting Church (7.6%) and Eastern Orthodox (3.5%).
The Jewish community of the city dates back to 1840. Eight years later, 58 Jews lived in the city. The Jewish synagogue was built in 1871, when 435 Jews lived in the city. Many Jews took part in the city councils, such as Judah Moss Solomon (1852–66) and others after him. Three Jews have been elected to the position of city mayor. In the 1960s, the Jewish population of Adelaide numbered about 1,200; in 2001, according to the Australian census, 979 persons declared themselves to be Jewish by religion. In 2011, over 1,000 Jews were living in the city, operating an orthodox and a reform school, in addition to a virtual Jewish museum.
The "Afghan" community in Australia first became established in the 1860s when camels and their Pathan, Punjabi, Baluchi and Sindhi handlers began to be used to open up settlement in the arid interior of the continent. Until eventually superseded by the advent of the railways and later, motor vehicles, they played an invaluable economic and social role in transporting heavy loads of goods to, and products from, isolated settlements and mines. This role is acknowledged by the name of The Ghan, the passenger train operating between Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Darwin. The Central Adelaide Mosque is regarded as the oldest permanent mosque in Australia; however an earlier mosque at Marree in northern South Australia, dating from 1861–62 and subsequently abandoned or demolished, has now been rebuilt.
While established as a British province, and very much English in terms of its culture, Adelaide attracted immigrants from other parts of Europe early on, including German and other European non-conformists escaping religious persecution. The first German Lutherans arrived in 1838 bringing with them the vine cuttings that they used to found the acclaimed wineries of the Barossa Valley.
Arts and entertainment
Adelaide's arts scene flourished in the 1960s and 1970s with the support of successive premiers from both major political parties. The renowned Adelaide Festival of Arts and Fringe Festival were established in 1960 under Thomas Playford. Construction of the Adelaide Festival Centre began under Steele Hall in 1970 and was completed under the subsequent government of Don Dunstan, who also established the South Australian Film Corporation and, in 1976, the State Opera of South Australia.
Over time, the Adelaide Festival has expanded to include the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Adelaide Writers' Week, and WOMADelaide, all held predominately in the autumnal month of March (sometimes jocularly called 'mad March' by locals due to the hectic clustering of these events). Other festivals include FEAST (a queer culture celebration), Tasting Australia (a biennial food and wine affair), and the Royal Adelaide Show (an annual agricultural show and state fair).
There are many international cultural fairs, most notably the German Schützenfest and Greek Glendi. Adelaide is home to the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, the world's largest Christmas parade. As the state capital, Adelaide is home to a great number of cultural institutions with many along the boulevard of North Terrace. The Art Gallery of South Australia, with around 35,000 works, holds Australia's second largest state-based collection. Adjacent are the South Australian Museum and State Library of South Australia, while the Adelaide Botanic Garden, National Wine Centre and Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute are nearby in the East End of the city. In the back of the State Library lies the Migration Museum, Australia's oldest museum of its kind. Contemporary art scenes include the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. Adelaide Festival Centre, on the banks of the Torrens, is the focal point for much of the cultural activity in the city and home to the State Theatre Company of South Australia, with other venues including the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and the city's many smaller theatres, pubs and cabaret bars.
The music of Adelaide has produced musical groups and individuals who have achieved national and international fame. This includes the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Adelaide Youth Orchestra, rock bands The Angels, Cold Chisel, The Superjesus, Wolf & Cub, roots/blues group The Audreys, internationally acclaimed metal acts I Killed The Prom Queen and Double Dragon, popular Australian hip-hop outfit Hilltop Hoods, pop acts like Sia, Orianthi, Guy Sebastian, and Wes Carr, as well as internationally successful tribute act, The Australian Pink Floyd Show.
Adelaide plays host to two of Australia's leading contemporary dance companies. The Australian Dance Theatre and Leigh Warren & Dancers contribute to state festivals and perform nationally and internationally. Restless Dance Theatre is also based in Adelaide and is nationally recognised for working with disabled and non-disabled dancers to use movement as a means of expression.
Adelaide has been recognised as a "City of Music" by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Adelaide pop-concert venues (past and present) include Adelaide Entertainment Centre; Adelaide Festival Theatre; Adelaide Oval; Apollo Stadium; Memorial Drive Park; Thebarton Theatre. Other concert and live theatre venues include Adelaide Town Hall; Dunstan Playhouse; Her Majesty's Theatre.
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