The Adelaide Park Lands is the largest inner urban park system in Australia. Devised in 1837 by Colonel William Light as part of his City Plan for the new colony, the Park Lands reflected the aspirations of the English social reform movement.

Home to a rich, diverse space where events, sports and informal recreation activities are all held, the 930 hectares of Park Lands provide a space where residents and visitors can enjoy healthy and balanced living through sport and exercise. The Park Lands welcomes 8.9 million visitors each year.

The City of Adelaide manages about 80 per cent of the Park Lands and the State Government the remaining 20 per cent. In doing so, both bodies take advice from the Adelaide Park Lands Authority. More about the Authority can be found here

A heritage worth preserving

In 2008, the Adelaide Park Lands and city layout was added to the National Heritage List. Widely regarded as a masterwork of urban design, the layout signified a turning point in the settlement of Australia, with Adelaide being the first place nationally to be planned and developed for free settlers. The Colony of South Australia was conceived as a commercial enterprise based on Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s theory of systematic colonisation: established by free settlers who would make it a 'respectable and self-supporting' society.

Colonel Light founded the city in just eight weeks, with his plan forming the basis for attracting free settlers to the state. Today, the Adelaide Plan has meant that Adelaide is the only Australian city to be completely enclosed by park lands, and has the most extensive and intact 19th Century Park Lands in Australia.

Responding to public nominations, the South Australian Heritage Council is currently assessing the heritage value of the Adelaide Park Lands from a State perspective. Further information can be found here.

Cultural Landscape Study provides a comprehensive and definitive overview of the historical development and cultural heritage merit of the Park Lands.

Projects in the Park Lands

To ensure the Park Lands remain relevant and continue to improve for generations to come, the city undertakes regular projects in line with the vision and strategy for the Park Lands.

Current enhancement projects in the Park Lands include:

  • Pelzer Park / Pityarilla (Park 19) in the south Park Lands with a new dog park, play areas, courts and other beautiful spaces
  • Gladys Elphick Park / Narnungga (Park 25) in the west Park Lands opposite a new sports pavilion and recreational areas
  • Josie Agius Park / Wikaparntu Wirra (Park 22) where netball facilities are currently being upgraded

Enhancement projects being planned:

  • Denise Norton Park / Pardipardinyilla (Park 2)
  • Yam Daisy Park / Kantarilla (Park 3)
  • Rymill Park / Murlawirrapurka (Park 14)
  • Ellis Park / Tampawardli (Park 24)

Details about the above projects can be found on the City of Adelaide’s Your Future Adelaide website.

To find out more about the Park Lands, please contact the Park Lands team on 8203 7686.