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Lady Ruthven Reserve

Home > Adelaide > School Holidays | School Holiday Activities | Parks | Kids | Family
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published January 16th 2013
It's not really about the playground
playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground
Outer Harbor Pilot's Tower


Getting there

Writing an article for Weekend Notes takes me to some unusual places for my research, and so it was that I found myself overshadowed by the massive Pilot's Tower at Outer Harbor.

I had actually been seeking examples of more unusual houses in Adelaide, and decided to do a little urban exploration in this little visited area.

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground
CCTV and Aerials


Something that had intrigued me while planning my visit was the large number of streets named after titled people in this area.

Think Lady Gowrie Drive, Lady Ruthven Drive, Sir Keith Smith Drive and Sir Ross Smith Drive, Sir Ewen Waterman Ave and Sir Claude Gibb St.

At least they had the grace to drop the "Queen" from Victoria Rd, but someone in the Geographical Names Unit has a rather ironical sense of humour since this was one of the poorest parts of Adelaide for many years.

Perhaps it was thought that the plebeians needed a reminder of their place in society. I'm glad that they spared us the Lords, Dukes and Barons.

Anyhow. Little did I know that I was to become enmeshed in a secret Defence project.

More later...

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground
The All Seeing Eye


The Playground

After taking a walk to the all seeing pilot's tower bristling with CCTV cameras, I noticed what appeared to be a brand new playground in this rather bleakly industrial maritime area.

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground
The Lady Ruthven Reserve Playground


It seemed to be equipped with the usual de riguer equipment that councils supply for the entertainment of our offspring - a swing, and a bouncy ride on a seat. I'm sure the fastidious parents in my readers can tell me the proper current names for these contraptions that kids know instinctively how to use (when I don't).

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Play Equipment


While reflecting on the rather minimalist nature of the play equipment, I was struck by the number of other amenities in what is possibly one of the last places in Adelaide that people would normally go. Or was I displaying my usual arrogance and lack of local knowledge?

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground
Shelter and BBQ


There is a large modern shelter, with a BBQ that looked straight out of the box. Lots of shrubs had been planted in the area and there was plenty of seating unlike many coastal places.

But seething in the back of my mind was the burning question Why?

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Fishing at Outer Harbor


Seeking the truth

A man was fishing nearby on a newish platform overhanging the water, and I asked him why the playground was there - perhaps it was intended to save on child minding costs for recreational fishers?

Unfortunately the man didn't know the answer either.

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground, fishing
Sailing at Outer Harbor


The place clearly has some attractions, as I saw people sailing by on this sunny weekday. They were too far away to tell me about the playground though.

Determined to find out about this unusual use of public money, I Googled extensively searching for a playground in Outer Harbor. Being unsuccessful, I contacted the Port Adelaide Enfield Council who were finally able to helpfully solve my puzzle.

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Lady Ruthven Reserve Sign


The Defence Connection

It seems that Defence SA has been busily spruiking South Australia's advantages for Defence industries to the rest of the world.

As part of this effort they have funded a cunningly named Northern Lefevre Peninsula Masterplan which will make the area more attractive to appropriate industry and enhance the lifestyle of people in the area.

As their website notes:

Lady Ruthven Reserve is a part of the initial gateway experience for visitors to our State from ocean liners, as well as a destination point for the Coastal Park walk, cycle path network, local residents and fishing enthusiasts.

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Watch the Sun Set. Or See Ocean Liners Arrive


While I am not sure that new arrivals on ocean liners will be tempted to explore the back blocks of North Haven, this place certainly would be grand for watching sunsets. It is a pleasant enough spot, and would offer great views for people wanting to watch ships arrive.

And as the coastal cycle path terminates here then it is a good place to have these amenities. If you want to follow a different way to cycle here, try this planner.

playground in, a play ground, outer harbor, lady ruthven reserve, defence sa, northern lefevre peninsular, north haven, playground, fishing
Sign About Dolphin Behaviours


A Council staff member advised me that Lady Ruthven Reserve will be a part of a "from gulf to river" corridor linking Biodiversity Park, Falie Reserve, Mutton Cove, Lady Ruthven Reserve and Kardi Yarta. Something to look forward to.

While I wouldn't come here just for the playground, this little spot looks set to change from being a playground for fishers that is not widely known.
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Why? You may well ask
When: Anytime
Where: Lady Ruthven Drive, Outer Harbor, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
As always, a well researched article that is entertaining too. Quite a pretty little spot here at Outer Harbor.
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1590) 1792 days ago
When the Queen Mary was leaving that area and the platform was packed with people
by Caroline Lloyd (score: 1|71) 541 days ago
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