The Adelaide parklands are an important part of our city. Born from Colonel William Light's vision more than 150 years ago, the green belt that surrounds the city of Adelaide is quite unique. The parklands mean different things to different people, and that is part of their beauty - they have become ingrained into South Australia's culture and way of life.
As Adelaide has grown and developed into a thriving modern city, there have been numerous attempts to take away these community lands from us. Fortunately most governments have stood fast, and opposed the loss of this priceless heritage that is listed as a national treasure - a masterwork of urban design.
We have become so ingrained to having the parklands that sometimes we don't even notice when we use them. We take for granted that we can walk the dog, go to a concert, watch a game of sport, relax at a playground or even attend a rally. But the parklands have been slowly shrinking for years, and there are regular threats to reduce the size of our community lands. Unfortunately, the National Heritage listing does not protect the parklands from the South Australian government.
In December 2006 the Rann Government passed the Adelaide Park Lands Act, establishing the Adelaide Park Lands Authority and a series of statutory protections for Adelaide's Park Lands. Despite this successive governments have continued to nibble away at the parklands, whittling down their size.
The park lands are so popular that this can lead to contention. Is a permanent home for motor sport at Victoria Park more important than the cycling, athletics, model aircraft, and dog walkers who normally use the park. Should a Casino high flier be able to generate a hurricane with their helicopter landing in the parklands, rather than on the top of an office tower?
There are many people who wonder why it's mostly private schools who get their own exclusive private piece of the park lands. They can build large permanent buildings which exclude the public and detract from the beauty of the parklands.
Wander the Wetlands or Follow an Art Trail at Wirrarninthi Park
What I like best about the Adelaide Park Lands is their diversity. There are themed parks like the Himeji Gardens, and adventure parks and playgrounds that are full of happy children. An urban forest in Narnungga Park. Secluded places like Wirrarninthi Park bring unexpected pleasure to those who venture here - follow an art trail, discover a wetlands and a natural forested area with shady glens.
Veale Gardens in the South Parklands is full of formal gardens, manicured lawns, and masses of blooming roses. Look closer and you will find the Walyo Yerta community garden, and its abundant organic produce nearby. Only a short distance away radio controlled model helicopters buzz around in their own private paradise in the parklands.
Steven Hoepfner from Wagtail Urban Farm Finds Bush Tucker in the Parklands
Some areas of park lands are almost natural bush. While some people complain that they need watering, I explored one of these areas on a free tour with Steven Hoepfner from Wagtail Urban Farm looking for bush tucker. The Adelaide Parklands Preservation Society also hold free monthly walks to highlight unexpected finds and fun things to do in the parklands - find out more here.
The Adelaide parklands are what we make of them. They are never "under utilised", because they are always there when we need them. If we were to lose any more space it would be a tragedy. What makes the parklands important to you IS very personal though, and is the topic of an important survey.
The State Heritage Unit of the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) wants to know YOUR views about the social value of the Adelaide Park Lands and City Squares. The survey is open until September 29, and is open to everyone. Please head over to the Your Say South Australia survey page and have your say why you think the Adelaide Park Lands are so special. You can even send in a submission too if you choose.
Good points there about how the Park Lands have been, and are being, colonised by people with some special access.
Colonel Light never saw a motor-car. The Park Lands would be better not being used as car parks.
Pleased to see your link to the survey. I filled it some time ago, agree not a good place for privately owned sports facilities - why can't the Adelaide and Burnside hockey club ask Burnside for land? Publicly owned sportsgrounds which may be reserved for club use at certain times - fine, but surely anyone fit enough to play hockey can use public transport they don't need dedicated parking lots. Patients with appointments at the RAH don't get free or reserved parking - why on earth should a sports club get either?