Category: Area Info
Adelaide is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of South Australia, and is the fifth largest city in Australia, with a population of more than 1.1 million. It is a coastal city beside the Southern Ocean, and is situated on the Adelaide Plains, north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, between the Gulf St. Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges. It is roughly 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills but sprawls 90 km (56 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south.
Named in honour of Queen Adelaide, the consort of King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for the only freely-settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens in an area traditionally inhabited by the Kaurna aboriginal peoples. Light's design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parkland. Early Adelaide was shaped by religious freedom and a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties, which led to world-first reforms. Today Adelaide is known for its many festivals as well as for its wine, arts and sports.
As South Australia's seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area.
Prior to British settlement, the Adelaide area was inhabited by the Kaurna Aboriginal tribe (pronounced "Garner" or "Gowna"). Acknowledged Kaurna country comprised the Adelaide Plains and surrounding regions - from Cape Jervis in the south, and to Port Wakefield in the north. Among their unique customs were burn-offs (controlled bushfires) in the Adelaide Hills which the early Europeans spotted before the Kaurna people were pushed out by settlement. By 1852, the total population (by census count) of the Kaurna was 650 in the Adelaide region and steadily decreasing. During the winter months, they moved into the Adelaide Hills for better shelter and firewood.
South Australia was officially settled as a new British province on 28 December 1836, near the The Old Gum Tree in what is now the suburb of Glenelg North. This day is now commemorated as Proclamation Day in South Australia. The site of the colony's capital city was surveyed and laid out by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia, through the design made by the architect George Strickland Kingston. In 1823, Light had fondly written of the Sicilian city of Catania: "The two principal streets cross each other at right angles in the square in the direction of north and south and east and west. They are wide and spacious and about a mile long", and this became the basis for the plan of Adelaide. Light chose, not without opposition, a site on rising ground close to the River Torrens, which became the chief early water supply for the fledgling colony. "Light's Vision", as it has been termed, has meant that the initial design of Adelaide required little modification as the city grew and prospered. Usually in an older city it would be necessary to accommodate larger roads and add parks, whereas Adelaide had them from the start. Adelaide was established as the centre of a planned colony of free immigrants, promising civil liberties and freedom from religious persecution, based upon the ideas of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Wakefield had read accounts of Australian settlement while in prison in London for attempting to abduct an heiress, and realised that the eastern colonies suffered from a lack of available labour, due to the practice of giving land grants to all arrivals. Wakefield's idea was for the Government to survey and sell the land at a rate that would maintain land values high enough to be unaffordable for labourers and journeymen. Funds raised from the sale of land would be used to bring out working class emigrants, who would have to work hard for the monied settlers to ever afford their own land. As a result of this policy, Adelaide does not share the convict settlement history of other Australian cities like Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart.
Adelaide's early history was wrought by economic uncertainty and incompetent leadership. The first governor of South Australia, John Hindmarsh, clashed frequently with others, in particular with the Resident Commissioner, James Hurtle Fisher. The rural area surrounding Adelaide city was surveyed by Light in preparation to sell a total of over 405 km2 (156 sq mi) of land. Adelaide's early economy started to get on its feet in 1838 with the arrival of livestock from New South Wales and Tasmania. The wool industry served as an early basis for the South Australian economy. Light's survey was completed in this period, and land was promptly offered to sale to early colonists. Wheat farms ranged from Encounter Bay in the south to Clare in the north by 1860. Governor Gawler took over from Hindmarsh in late 1838 and promptly oversaw construction of a governor's house, Adelaide Gaol, police barracks, hospital, and customs house and a wharf at Port Adelaide. In addition, houses for public officials and missionaries, and outstations for police and surveyors were also constructed during Gawler's governorship. Adelaide had also become economically self-sufficient during this period, but at heavy cost: the colony was heavily in debt and relied on bail-outs from London to stay afloat. Gawler was recalled and replaced by Governor Grey in 1841. Grey slashed public expenditure against heavy opposition, although its impact was negligible at this point: silver was discovered in Glen Osmond that year, agricultural industries were well underway, and other mines sprung up all over the state, aiding Adelaide's commercial development. The city exported meat, wool, wine, fruit and wheat by the time Grey left in 1845, contrasting with a low point in 1842 when one-third of Adelaide houses were abandoned.
Trade links with the rest of the Australian states were established with the Murray River being successfully navigated in 1853 by Francis Cadell, an Adelaide resident.
South Australia became a self-governing colony in 1856 with the ratification of a new constitution by the British parliament. Secret ballots were introduced, and a bicameral parliament was elected on 9 March 1857, by which time 109,917 people lived in the province.
In 1860 the Thorndon Park reservoir was opened, finally providing an alternative water source to the turbid River Torrens. In 1867 gas street lighting was implemented, the University of Adelaide was founded in 1874, the South Australian Art Gallery opened in 1881 and the Happy Valley Reservoir opened in 1896. In the 1890s Australia was affected by a severe economic depression, ending a hectic era of land booms and tumultuous expansionism. Financial institutions in Melbourne and banks in Sydney closed. The national fertility rate fell and immigration was reduced to a trickle. The value of South Australia's exports nearly halved. Drought and poor harvests from 1884 compounded the problems, with some families leaving for Western Australia. Adelaide was not as badly hit as the larger gold-rush cities of Sydney and Melbourne, and silver and lead discoveries at Broken Hill provided some relief. Only one year of deficit was recorded, but the price paid was retrenchments and lean public spending. Wine and copper were the only industries not to suffer a downturn.
Electric street lighting was introduced in 1900 and electric trams were transporting passengers in 1909. 28,000 men were sent to fight in World War I. Adelaide enjoyed a post-war boom but, with the return of droughts, entered the depression of the 1930s, later returning to prosperity under strong government leadership. Secondary industries helped reduce the state's dependence on primary industries. The 1933 census recorded the state population at 580,949, less of an increase than other states due to the state's economic limitations. World War II brought industrial stimulus and diversification to Adelaide under the Playford Government, which advocated Adelaide as a safe place for manufacturing due to its less vulnerable location. 70,000 men and women enlisted and shipbuilding was expanded at the nearby port of Whyalla.
The South Australian Government in this period built on former wartime manufacturing industries. International manufacturers like General Motors Holden and Chrysler (now Mitsubishi) made use of these factories around Adelaide completing its transformation from an agricultural service centre to a twentieth-century city. A pipeline from Mannum brought River Murray water to Adelaide in 1954 and an international airport opened at West Beach in 1955. An assisted migration scheme brought 215,000 immigrants of all nationalities to South Australia between 1947 and 1973.The Dunstan Government in the 1970s saw something of an Adelaide 'cultural revival' - establishing a wide array of social reforms and overseeing the city becoming a centre of the arts. Adelaide hosted the Australian Grand Prix between 1985 and 1996 on a street circuit in the city's east parklands, before losing it to Melbourne. The 1992 State Bank collapse plunged both Adelaide and South Australia into economic recession, and its effects lasted until 2004, when ratings agency Standard & Poor's reinstated South Australia's AAA credit rating. Recent years have seen the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race make use of sections of the former Formula One circuit.
Adelaide is located north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges. The city stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km (56 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Adelaide Metropolitan Region has a total land area of 870 km2 (340 sq mi), and is at an average elevation of 50 metres (160 ft) above sea level. Mount Lofty is located east of the Adelaide metropolitan region in the Adelaide Hills at an elevation of 727 metres (2,390 ft). It is the tallest point of the city and in the state south of Burra.
Much of Adelaide was bushland before British settlement, with some variation - swamps and marshlands were prevalent around the coast. However, much of the original vegetation has been cleared with what is left to be found in reserves such as the Cleland Conservation Park and Belair National Park. A number of creeks and rivers flow through the Adelaide region. The largest are the Torrens and Onkaparinga catchments. Adelaide relies on its many reservoirs for water supply, with Mount Bold Reservoir and Happy Valley Reservoir together supplying around 50% of Adelaide's requirements.
Adelaide is a planned city, designed by the first surveyor-general of South Australia, Colonel William Light. His plan, now known as Light's Vision, arranged Adelaide in a grid, with five squares in the inner City of Adelaide and a ring of parks known as the Adelaide Parklands surrounding it. Light's design was initially unpopular with the early settlers, as well as South Australia's first Governor, John Hindmarsh. Light persisted with his design against this initial opposition. The benefits of Light's design are numerous; Adelaide has had wide multi-lane roads from its beginning, an easily-navigable grid layout and a beautiful green ring around the city centre. There are two sets of 'ring roads' in Adelaide that have resulted from the original design. The inner ring route borders the parklands and the outer route completely bypasses the inner city through (in clockwise order) Grand Junction Road, Hampstead Road, Ascot Avenue, Portrush Road, Cross Road and South Road.
Urban expansion has to some extent outgrown Light's original plan. Numerous satellite cities were built in the later half of the 20th century, notably Salisbury and Elizabeth on the city's northern fringes, which have now been enveloped by its urban sprawl. New developments in the Adelaide Hills region facilitated the construction of the South Eastern Freeway to cope with growth. Similarly, the booming development in Adelaide's South made the construction of the Southern Expressway a necessity. New roads are not the only transport infrastructure developed to cope with the urban growth, however. The O-Bahn Busway is an example of a unique solution to Tea Tree Gully's transport woes in the 1980s. The development of the nearby suburb of Golden Grove in the late 1980s is possibly an example of well-thought-out urban planning. The newer urban areas as a whole, however, are not as integrated into the urban layout as much as older areas, and therefore place more stress on Adelaide's transportation system – although not on a level comparable with Melbourne or Sydney.
In the 1960s a Metropolitan Adelaide Transport Study Plan was proposed in order to cater for the future growth of the city. The plan involved the construction of freeways, expressways and the upgrade of certain aspects of the public transport system. The then premier Steele Hall approved many parts of the plan and the government went as far as purchasing land for the project. The later government elected under Don Dunstan shelved the plan, but allowed the purchased land to remain vacant, should the future need for freeways arise. Some parts of this land has been utilised for transport (eg the O-Bahn Busway) while other parts have been progressively subdivided for residential use.
Adelaide's economy is primarily based around manufacturing, defence technology and research, commodity export and corresponding service industries. It has large manufacturing, defence and research zones. They contain car manufacturing plants for General Motors Holden, and plants that produce electronic systems that are sold worldwide for applications in medical, communications, defence, automotive, food and wine processing and industrial sectors. The revenue of Adelaide's electronics industry has grown at over 15% per year since 1990. The electronics industry in Adelaide employs over 13,000 people, which is more than the automotive industry. Almost half of all cars produced in Australia are made in Adelaide. The global media conglomerate News Corporation was founded in and until 2004 incorporated in Adelaide and is still considered its 'spiritual' home by Rupert Murdoch. Australia's largest oil company, Santos (South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search), prominent South Australian brewery, Coopers, major national retailer Harris Scarfe and Australia's second largest listed investment company Argo Investments Limited call Adelaide their home. The collapse of the State Bank in 1992 resulted in large levels of state debt (as much as A$4 billion). The collapse had meant that successive governments had enacted lean budgets, cutting spending, which had been a setback to the further development of the city and state. The debt has recently been reduced with the State Government once again receiving a AAA+ Credit Rating. The South Australian economy, very closely tied to Adelaide's, still enjoys a trade surplus and has higher per capita growth than Australia as a whole.
Adelaide is home to a large proportion of Australia's defence industries, which contribute over AU$1 billion to South Australia's Gross State Product. 70% of Australian defence companies are located in Adelaide. The principal government military research institution, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, and other defence technology organisations such as BAE Systems Australia and RLM, are located north of Salisbury and west of Elizabeth in an area now called "Edinburgh Parks", near RAAF Base Edinburgh. Others, such as Saab Systems, are located in or near Technology Park. The Australian Submarine Corporation, based in the industrial suburb of Osborne, was charged with constructing Australia's Collins class submarines and more recently the AU$6 billion contract to construct the Royal Australian Navy's new air-warfare destroyers.
There are 466,829 employed people in Adelaide, with 62.3% full-time and 35.1% part-time. In recent years there has been a growing trend towards part-time (which includes casual) employment, increasing from only 11.6% of the workplace in 1991, to over a third today. 15% of workers are employed in manufacturing, 5% in construction, 15% in retail trade, 11% in business services, 7% in education and 12% in health and community services. The median weekly individual income for people aged 15 years and over is $447 per week, compared with $466 nationally. The median family income is $1,137 per week, compared with $1,171 nationally.Adelaide's housing and living costs are substantially lower than that of other Australian cities, with housing being notably cheaper. The median Adelaide house price is half that of Sydney and two-thirds that of Melbourne. The 3 month trend unemployment rate to March 2007 was 6.2%.The Northern suburbs' unemployment rate is disproportionately higher than the other regions of Adelaide at 8.3%, while the East and South are lower than the Adelaide average at 4.9% and 5.0% respectively.
Education forms an increasingly important part of the city's economy, with the South Australian Government and educational institutions attempting to position Adelaide as "Australia's education hub" and marketing it as a 'Learning City'. The number of international students studying in Adelaide has increased rapidly in recent years to 23,300, of which 2,380 are secondary school students. In addition to the city's existing institutions, foreign institutions have been attracted to set up campuses in order to increase its attractiveness as an education hub.
The tertiary education system in Adelaide is extensive. There are several institutes of TAFE South Australia throughout the city which provide vocational education and training. Additionally, there are three public and two private universities, all ranked within the world's top 400 in Times Higher Education. The University of Adelaide, with 20,478 students, is Australia's third-oldest and a member of the leading Group of Eight. It has five campuses throughout the metropolitan area, including two in the city-centre on North Terrace. The University of South Australia, with 30,901 students, also has two North Terrace campuses, of a total four throughout the metropolitan area. Flinders University, with 16,237 students, is located in Bedford Park alongside the Flinders Medical Centre.
Carnegie Mellon became the first foreign university to open in Australia when it established two postgraduate campuses in the city-centre in 2006: the Heinz School Australia in Victoria Square and the Entertainment Technology Centre in Light Square. Cranfield University followed suit in 2007 and established a postgraduate campus in Victoria Square alongside the Heinz School. Another leading institution, the University College London, will establish its first international campus alongside Carnegie Mellon and Cranfield University in 2009, with postgraduate courses commencing in 2010.
The two hundred year-old Royal Institution of Great Britain is also establishing an Australian counterpart in Adelaide which will formally open in 2009.
At the level of primary and secondary education, there are two systems of school education. There is a public system operated by the South Australian Government and a private system of independent and Catholic schools. All schools provide education under the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) or, to a lesser extent, the International Baccalaureate (IB), with Adelaide having the highest number of IB schools in Australia. One notable secondary school is St Peter's College, which has educated more Nobel laureates than any other school in Australia, and is tied for third internationally behind New York City's Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School.