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Published November 22nd 2017
A little known suburb with a large history
Today Beulah Park is known as a popular suburb in Adelaide's eastern suburbs and foothills. Divided by Beulah Road, the suburb appears seamless in its beauty with a grand mixture of old and new houses, parks and reserves scattered throughout. But as is oft the case, this is a lot different to the plans first laid out for this part of Adelaide soon after European settlement commenced.
Beulah Park, or Section 188 as it was known in its early days, looked a lot different in 1838 when it was first settled by a Yorkshire bootmaker known as Henry Horsfall, and that had something to do with the Stonyfell Creek which ran east to west and created a natural north – south subdivision. To the north, the lands were often flooded, while to the south the drier lands were more attractive.
Horsfall sold the freehold in 1851, and several farms appeared to the north around the creek while the south saw the introduction of housing and associated developments bordered by The Parade, Portrush Road, Beulah Road and Cranbourne Terrace. Over the next 90 years, the demand for housing saw the creek diverted and a rapid expansion, and ultimately the naming of the suburb as Beulah Park.
Today Beulah Park is most recognised by the huge Clayton-Wesley Uniting Church complex on the corner of Portrush Road and the Parade. The original church buildings were built in 1855, with the grand main church building erected between 1882-1883. The original stables at the rear of the Church complex provide evidence as the early forms of transport used by locals.
At about that same time, Edward Pemberton, a carpenter cum builder, arrived from Lancashire, bought a few acres and commenced building a number of houses across Mathilda, Vine and Union Streets. Being a small builder, Pemberton was able to add some personal touches, and the terracotta frieze tiles decorative bargeboards, handcrafted finials and stylish chimneys and windows ensure that Pemberton's legacy lives on.
Pemberton wasn't the only small builder to make a living in Beulah Park, with John Ruthven building a large bluestone villa for his family on Glyde Street, amongst others for his extended family. In fact bluestone was such a useful resource at the end of the 19th Century that it was also used for kerbs and gutters, with some still remaining at the top end of Glyde Street.
Running off Glyde Street is Dimboola and Union Streets, two unique streets in Adelaide in that the houses front the street from the western side only. In fact, the homes on Dimboola Street, when they were first built, maintained another uniqueness in that 10 of the first 14 homes were built as rental accommodation.
Beulah Park, like most small villages, was home to a number of shops, which are all part of yesteryear, apart from those on The Parade. Nelson's Bakery, on Beulah Parade, offered baked goods over a century ago, while the Ransom family operated a series of series of shops on The Parade. Today the Ransom's are no longer here, but the shops continue on in their own way.
Unfortunately, the early day planners at Beulah Park weren't keen on many open spaces, reserves or parks. Notwithstanding that the old brickyards and pug hole on Howard Street were remediated when the brickyards closed, and the pleasant and popular Mellor Reserve was opened. The Reserve was named after TR Mellor, a Mayor in the City of Burnside whose constituency included Beulah Park.
The above details and more are all included in the Historic Self-Guided Walk of Beulah Park, a publication from the City of Burnside. The walk is around 5km long with brochures available online or from the Council offices.