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Adelaide History Walk

Home > Adelaide > Free | Fun Things To Do | Walks
by Carney (subscribe)
The history of South Australian Founding is my passion, Adelaide City and the surrounding landscape and towns is the setting for the adventure, more on weekend notes no doubt!
Published November 14th 2012
The walk of a lifetime


As a visitor to Adelaide researching its early history, I can now report on a beautiful walk through the gardens and the attractions of the City.

Invest less than an hour, and I promise the best food, drinks and views and maybe even some history as you take this easy stroll through the city.

Start at the very first survey peg hammered into Victoria Square. Bear in mind this compass point marks out all property in the city and also the country sections comprising Greater Adelaide, the neo classic city founded and fixed by its first Surveyor General Colonel William Light.

Now that you have your bearings, walk true north down King William Street until you reach the end, that is North Terrace. The seat of SA power the towering parliament to your left, the Governor's house on the opposing corner, speak to the guardhouse people if you have an appointment or sneak a look through the gate or over the fence as the walk continues.

The first Governor Hindmarsh was a war hero (battle of the Nile) under Nelson, but his success as a Governor is still debated in history. His wattle and daub hut was not large enough to accommodate visitors, but the next Governor Gawler soon fixed that.

At this point, you may wish to visit the Library Cafe or Gallery for a toastie, drink or puff on the pipe to contemplate the magnificent places you have already seen.



Continue now up King William north and across the Torrens River, so named after the Chair of Commissioners Colonel Robert Torrens, running the real estate sales of this city back in London during the mid to late 1830's. Yes, before landing and the proclamation on the beach.

The war memorial appears largely over scale for such a small city, but these were big wars which impacted on the state's history.

The Cricket Stadium may not have been part of Colonel Lights original vision!

Have a rest in any of these beautiful parks and enjoy the artworks and monuments that celebrate the great South Australians that built the city or played some key role in Australian history, it makes you blush almost to be a South Australian. Notice the proliferation of bare breasted angels and references to the Gods, the Greek, Roman and Egyptian influences all abound in the city.

Further up the hill above the stadium you can now see another terrace nestled in the far corner of the park upon what is known as Montefiore Hill, though even some Adelaide citizens would call it a rise.

Joseph Montefiore was another key London founder with interests in banking. With the help of George Palmer, they changed maritime history by insisting surgeons travel aboard these ships bound for South Australia. They arranged and prepared the HMS Rapid for which its Captain and Colonel Light were appreciative, these were influential people and good and loyal friends to the end.

Its an impressive bronze statue known as Lights Vision (Sculpture Rees) and is a more fitting and durable monument replacing the first which was poorly designed and built, crumbling just decades after the City founding.

Light points across the plains at the site for the new settlement, the Province of South Australia. He knows the 'Torrens' despite it barely being a creek and he knows the distance from the landing place of Holdfast Bay (Glenelg) and the port is equidistant, and will make more and more sense to the settlers and investors as time went on, which history has confirmed.

But was he dressed in his military attire with rapier close at hand? No, this is the glorification of the hero by the British proud founders, but is a slight distortion of a story that requires no such exaggeration.

Its now an easy stroll back to the City square or you may fancy walking another 300 metres and having more fine fare and drinks at the variety of Taverns and eateries on the North Adelaide stretch of King William Street.

Take in Wellington Square on the way, he provided a hand to the founders in parliament, as a General Wellsley during the Peninsula Campaign of the Napoleonic War - he and the likes of Light, liked the French, and in the peacetime decades afterwards were granted favours for their service to the King and Empire.

The End (of the walk)
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Why? Because you can.
When: Anytime
Where: Adelaide City
Cost: Free - BYO Food and Drinks
Your Comment
You must have spent a lot of time researching this. Good work.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11291) 2621 days ago
Is that statue meant to be of Aphrodite?
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12512) 2618 days ago
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