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date: 23 October 2019


  • Valerie A. Clack


Australian city and capital of the state of South Australia. It is situated on the banks of the River Torrens, between the Mt Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent in the south-eastern part of the continent. The city (population c. 1 million) is noted for its fine colonial urban plan. Adelaide was founded in 1836 as an exercise in planned settlement, jointly controlled by the British Government and a London committee whose members were influenced by Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s ideas on systematic colonization. The final site for the city, c. 8 km from the sea, with a suitable inlet for a harbour (Port Adelaide) c. 11 km to the north-west, was selected amid considerable controversy by Surveyor-General Colonel William Light (1786–1839). Light’s urban plan is remarkable for its public squares and parkland, features not included in Governor Darling’s regulations (1829) for New South Wales, which dominated 19th-century urban planning in most parts of Australia. Light planned Adelaide in two parts, north and south of the river. The grid of the southern part, the principal commercial area, was orientated to the cardinal directions, with two main streets (King William Street and Grote/Wakefield streets) intersecting at a central square (Victoria Square). Four smaller squares were also included, and the outer streets on all four sides were planned as broad terraces, with North Terrace, bordering the river, intended for the best residences: Government House, a stuccoed Regency villa by ...

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