The Adelaide Parklands: A balancing act

Friday 10 November - Sunday 12 November 2006

Co-presented by:

  • The Centre for Settlement Studies, Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design, UniSA
  • The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA
  • Adelaide Parklands Preservation Association Inc (APPA)

A weekend of events – Symposium, Parklands Tours and FREE Public Forum: Protecting, using and learning about our precious Parklands.

Elizabeth Ho, Director of the Hawke Centre speaking at the launch of the Proceedings on 10 November 2006:

There are three main benefits in having these Proceedings.

Records are too often taken for granted. Online information is one thing but an in-depth perspective is quite another. These Proceedings offer much depth for current and future benefit, being the sifted and considered results of collective research in sixteen individual studies.

Many including Kaurna Elder Lewis O'Brien have welcomed the focus in this volume on Kaurna connections with country, and specifically the Park Lands, including continuing spiritual practices. This is an important appreciation.

This volume is a testament to the work of so many in preserving the Park Lands over time. The depth of analysis is not simply conjuring up a past reality, it is drawing on continuities. Indeed, it is the value of what the Park Lands have represented over time that has spurred Adelaide people of successive generations to preserve and protect them. Without that determination these Proceedings would be the poorer.

Sunday 12 November 2006 PUBLIC FORUM: Threats, challenges and solutions - available here 


The Adelaide Parklands, an intentional element in the City of Adelaide Plan (1837), survive as a defining feature of the present-day city. They separate the urban core from the surrounding suburbs and offer numerous spaces for community engagement in informal and formal recreational pursuits. Once a continuous ring of natural open space, the Parklands were denuded in the early decades of European settlement but later regenerated through various landscaping programmes. More recently, public art installations have been introduced. Over the years, sections of the Parklands have been alienated for a range of uses, reducing their original size and breaking the encircling ring with incursions such as roads and railway tracks. Buildings and structures have been constructed in some parts. Today, the Parklands are divided into a series of parks, each named for the Kaurna people, the traditional owners of the land.

In November 2005 the South Australian parliament passed the Adelaide City Park Lands Bill with the view to the long-term protection and management of the Parklands. The Bill established the Adelaide Park Lands Authority, led by the Adelaide City Council (which has managed and maintained the Parklands since 1852) but with broad community representation.

With the passage of the Bill, the Adelaide Parklands are on the brink of a new era. It is timely to investigate their future, mindful of their history and of other concerns. In determining future visions for the Parklands, a range of matters require consideration and balancing.

Jointly presented



South Australian Government in particular Department for Environment and Heritage and Planning SA Capital City Committee Adelaide

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy – valuing our cultural diversity – and building our future.