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Published May 13th 2014
Fun free guided tours in Adelaide
The Old Treasury Building in Adelaide, Where the Beef Riot Took Place
Our readers always love to hear about free things to do in Adelaide, and we do our best to unearth the latest and best around. Sometimes the best way to find Adelaide attractions is on foot - wandering the lanes and back streets of the CBD uncovers a surprising variety of unusual things that you would rarely notice in a car.
Recently we discovered a few new ways to take walks in Adelaide city - with a bit of free help. We have already published some fascinating themed heritage walking trails, but there are now even more ways to explore Adelaide history, its architecture and its engineering achievements.
Why Did a Railway Line Run Behind Government House?
Now that many people have a smart phone (or a tablet) with a GPS, History SA's recently released Adelaidia app (for Android & iPhone) can bring a whole new dimension to walks in Adelaide city. Learn about the Beef Riot, find out why a railway line ran under King William Road, discover the Sym Choon Collection, and see photos of the Cheer Up Hut.
If you see a place, building, statue or artwork that you would like to know more about, just start up your Adelaidia app. For example if you're near a Jubilee 150 plaque commemorating Colonel Light on North Terrace, the free Adelaidia app will tell you when the plaque was installed and why. It lets you browse on to learn about Colonel Light and see his photo, and even to add your own story relating to him if you wish.
The Grand Coffee Palace in Hindley St ca 1930 (Courtesy SLSA B72260/4)
If you prefer, you can browse city streets such as Hindley Street and learn their history, see photos of the buildings and people from bygone times. Did you know that in the 1880's there was a pub every 60 metres (on average) on Hindley Street - more than anywhere else in the city? It's small wonder that temperance hotels and coffee palaces became popular for a while.
The best part of the Adelaidia app is that it is interactive, and people using it can add their stories so that it will grow into a People's History of Adelaide. While the app currently only covers the CBD it is being progressively extended further afield.
If you don't have a smart phone or prefer to browse online, you can still enjoy the rich tales of Adelaide history at History SA's Adelaidia website.
Walking trails and the Adelaide City Explorer app Another brilliant new free app is Adelaide City Explorer (for Android and iPhone), brought to us by the National Trust and the Adelaide City Council. If your phone does not support apps, the website is designed for viewing on a mobile phone too.
Adelaide City Explorer differs from Adelaidia by offering you a choice of walking tours - City of Pubs and Deco Delights are just two of the available range. The City of Pubs tour gives you walking trail directions to each of the twelve featured hotels, with photos and detailed stories of each. You can even share the story with friends on social media while you enjoy a quiet drink to refresh you for the next leg of the journey.
The Adelaide City Explorer website also allows you to add you comments for each location, but my version of the Android app doesn't allow that at present. Adelaide City Explorer is a fantastic app to find your way about Adelaide, and is terrific for tourists too.
This 1881 Benchmark is Hidden in the Adelaide Parklands
Engineering a City
The free Engineering a City walking trails guide showcases engineering marvels that you can find scattered about Adelaide. This liberally illustrated booklet includes many historical photos of Adelaide and suggests four walks which will take you to places like Adelaide's first brewery, a disused reservoir in the parklands, the original Central Telephone Exchange, and Adelaide's first post-war skyscraper.
The booklet format makes using it very flexible - you can read the fascinating stories and decide where you will visit, take one of the suggested walks, or design your own using the map list of attractions.
The Greek on Halifax Restaurant Building Incorporates Adelaide's First Refuse Destructor
Engineering a City was produced by Richard Venus with the support of Engineers Australia and the Adelaide City Council. It can be seen online here, but if you plan to take a walk pick up your free copy from the Visitor Information Centre in Rundle Mall or the council's Customer Centre in Pirie Street.
Other walks in Adelaide city
The Adelaide City Council has several free walking trails in Adelaide listed on its website - you can browse and download them from here.
The Floor of BankSA, Formerly the Bank of South Australia