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Published July 24th 2014
Is there one for adults too?
The Hart's Mill Playground and Adelaide Milling Company Mill
Hart's Mill is one of two historic flour mills that dominate the landscape at the western end of Port Adelaide inner harbour. The taller of the two mills is often referred to as Hart's Mill, but is actually the Adelaide Milling Company mill and was built around 1889.
Hart's Mill faces Mundy Street and was built in 1855 by John Hart, who later became Premier of South Australia three times over. The mill operated continuously until 1980 and was state heritage listed the following year, while the Adelaide Milling Company mill was not heritage listed until 2004.
Hart's Mill Precinct Before Landscaping by Renewal SA
For some the derelict mills were considered an eyesore fit only to be demolished, while urban explorers frequently attempted to gain entry to take photographs of their inner spaces.
After previously demolishing large swathes of the Port Adelaide inner harbour despite strong community opposition, the government has finally invested money to showcase the Hart's Mill precinct as an attractive and iconic part of Port Adelaide's maritime history.
The entire Hart's Mill precinct has now been landscaped, with space for the new Wild at Hart farmers' market and other public events. A two kilometre Port Adelaide Loop Path has been established around the inner harbour, and a new 600 square metre interactive Hart's Mill playground has been installed adjacent to the mills.
The new Hart's Mill playground is one of the best suburban playgrounds I've seen, with unusual activities for kids and play equipment you won't find anywhere else in Adelaide. South Australia's first Dalben Tower slippery dip is one - encouraging children to climb safely before sliding back down its ramp.
A Mad Mouse Wheel Near the Port Adelaide Loop Path
Watching the Port River dolphins play in the inner harbour near the Hart's Mill precinct provides family entertainment for some, keeping the kids busy scanning the water for another sighting. Other families walk the Port Adelaide Loop Path in the hope of getting a better view.
The Hart's Mill playground design has been themed around the flour mill. Custom lettering sculptures spell out words like "wheat" and "sieve" to remind people of the building's historical significance, while the play equipment design is intended to continue the analogy.
There's attractive seating, toilet facilities, and some shade from the summer sun over the playground. A large shelter under cover is a comfortable place to relax, with free barbeques to keep parents amused as they supervise the activities for kids.
I visited on a sunny Sunday morning when the Hart's Mill market was in full swing, and the playground was packed with happy smiling children. While there is car parking nearby, most was taken and I had to park a few blocks away, but that is not normally necessary. The Wild at Hart market offered plenty of choice of tasty hot foods, which was just as well with all the hungry families.
Wild at Hart Farmers' Market at the Hart's Mill Precinct
While the Hart's Mill playground, the Wild at Hart Market, and the Port Adelaide Loop Path won't bring about the revival of the Port on their own, they are certainly making a significant contribution to activating this attractive place.
Yes, no kidding, if you don't do something to personally energise and invigorate Adelaide's corners, then nobody does. Photos are great.
I want one, I want one of these playgrounds! At least I want my children to be small enough, again, to just love a visit here. But I think we will, anyway. Fabulous piece, making me also want to go out to Port Adelaide, something I haven't done for ages. I will though, now.