For other uses, see Adelaide (disambiguation).

Adelaide is the capital city of the Australian state of South Australia. It is a coastal city on the Southern Ocean and was named in honour of Queen Adelaide, the consort of King William IV. It is situated on the Fleurieu Peninsula overlooking the Gulf St. Vincent, bordered by the low lying Mount Lofty Ranges to the east giving the suburbs a roughly north-south rectangular layout. The population is 1,072,585 (census 2001). In terms of population, it is the fifth largest of the Australian capital cities.

South Australia
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Motto: Ut Prosint Omnibus Conjuncti
"United for the common good"
Nickname: "The City of Churches"
Area: 870km (Metro)
Coordinates: Template:Coor dm
Time Zone UTC +9:30
(2003) 1,119,900
Among Australian cities: Ranked 5th
Density: 199 persons/km
Lord Mayor: Michael Harbison
Governing body: Adelaide City Council
Adelaide City Council (


Main article: History of Adelaide

European settlement of South Australia had its origins in the theory of systematic colonization proposed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield. He advocated settlement by ordinary citizens, that land should be sold in small lots (at a moderate fixed price and the funds raised used to support further colonisation), and some self-government allowed. His ideas led to the founding (1834) of the South Australian Association.

South Australia was officially settled as a new British province on December 28, 1836 (now commemorated as a public holiday, Proclamation Day) and the site of the new city was surveyed and laid-out by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia. 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 freedom from religious persecution and civil liberties and as such does not share the convict history of other Australian cities, like Sydney and Hobart. Coincidental to that fact, the name Adelaide comes from the German words meaning “Noble Birth”.


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Satellite image of Adelaide
Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate which generally means mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

Climatic Averages*:

  • Mean January maximum temperature — 28.8 °C (83.8 °F)
  • Mean January minimum temperature — 16.8 °C (62.2 °F)
  • Mean January daily sunshine — 10.5 hours
  • Mean July maximum temperature — 15.3 °C (59.5 °F)
  • Mean July minimum temperature — 7.4 °C (45.3 °F)
  • Mean July daily sunshine — 4.9 hours
  • Mean annual rainfall — 558 mm (22.0 inches)
  • Wettest month on average — June, 83 mm (3.3 inches)
  • Driest month on average — February, 14 mm (0.5 inches)

Recorded extremes*:

  • Hottest temperature — 44.3 °C (111.7 °F)
  • Coldest temperature — minus 0.4 °C (31.3 °F)
  • Wettest month — June, 175  mm (6.89 inches)

(*Kent Town weather station 1977-present)


Main article: Government of South Australia

The City of Adelaide ( local government area has a population of approximately only 18,000 permanent residents. The population of the inner city has considerably dwindled from its peak of about 250,000 as the metropolitan area has expanded. The Adelaide City Council was established in 1840 and is the oldest municipal authority in Australia. The Council is responsible for the central business district (CBD), North Adelaide and surrounding parklands. As Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, the Adelaide Council works closely with the State Government; a relationship that is manifest in the Capital City Committee (

Demography and economy

Adelaide skyline as seen from
Adelaide skyline as seen from Victoria Square

Adelaide has a metropolitan population of more than 1,072,585 (census 2001), making it Australia's fifth largest city. In the 2002-2003 period the population grew by 0.6%, lower than the national average of 1.2%. People who live in Adelaide, or originate there, are called Adelaideans.

Adelaide has large manufacturing, defence and research zones. They contain car manufacturing plants for General Motors Holden and Mitsubishi, as well as the principal government military research institution DSTO (the Defence Science and Technology Organisation) at Salisbury, RAAF Base Edinburgh and many other defence technology organisations also based in the northern suburbs and Technology Park. Other industries include ore refining and electronic component production.

The collapse of the State Bank in 1992 resulted in huge levels of state debt (as much as A$4 billion), which have only recently been reduced. This has meant that successive governments have enacted lean budgets, cutting spending, which has been a large setback to the further development of the city and state.


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North Terrace - Adelaide's cultural precinct

Adelaide is often referred to as the 'City Of Churches', although this is a reflection more on Adelaide's past than its present. Rumour has it that for every church that was built in Adelaide, a public house was also built to serve the less pious.

From its earliest, Adelaide attracted immigrants from many countries, particularly German migrants escaping religious persecution. They brought with them the vine cuttings that founded the acclaimed wineries of the Barossa Valley. After the Second World War Italians, Greeks, Dutch, Polish, and possibly every other European nationality came to make a new start. An influx of Asian immigrants following the Vietnam War added to the mix. These cultures have blended to form a rich and diverse cuisine and vibrant restaurant culture.

Much of the area around Adelaide was once used for wine grape production, so that wine growing districts (such as the Barossa Valley, for which Adelaide and South Australia are well known) remain within a short drive of the city outskirts.

Adelaide's cultural life flourished in the 1970s under the leadership of premier Don Dunstan, removing some of the more puritanical restrictions on cultural activities then prevalent around Australia. Now the city is home to events such as the Barossa Music Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Film Festival, and the Fringe Festival, among others. Womadelaide, Australia's premier world music event, is now annually held in the scenic surrounds of Botanic Park, emphasising Adelaide's dedication to the arts which has prevailed since the days of Don Dunstan.

Adelaide now has a very vibrant and flourishing cafe cuture, mainly in the east end of the city

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The Final Stage of the 2005 Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under.


Adelaide hosted the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix from 1985 to 1995 on a street circuit in the city's eastern parklands. The Grand Prix became a source of pride and losing the Grand Prix to arch-rival Melbourne under questionable circumstances left a void that has since been filled for the most part with the highly successful Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race event, held on a modified version of the same circuit.

Adelaide is the home of two Australian Football League teams: the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power, as well as a local league, the SANFL.

Adelaide has hosted the annual Tour Down Under bicycle race since 1999, an event which is growing in international reputation each year.

Sports clubs

Educational institutions

Main article: Education in South Australia

The city is home to the University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and the Flinders University, all respected research and teaching institutions. Also, leading US private university, Carnegie Mellon, is to establish an Adelaide campus that will specialise in IT and government management, offering both Australian and US degrees. The institution is expected to attract students from across Australia and around the world, further enhancing Adelaide’s international recognition as a ‘City of Education’ (


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Adelaide has a comprehensive public transport system, which is managed by and known as the Adelaide Metro. The Adelaide Metro consists of an extensive contracted bus-system and of light-rail, which includes metropolitan railway, the historic Adelaide-Glenelg Tram and the unique Adelaide O-Bahn, a guided busway.

While Adelaide’s rail-network does not suffer the chronic delays of its inter-state counterparts, it is comparatively under-developed; Adelaide is the only mainland capital with a non-electric network. Amid increasing criticism over the ailing and ever-dilapidated rail-system, the State Government is in the process of developing a State Transport Plan (, expected to be released in late 2005. The plan will supposedly set out the framework for upgrading the public transport system. Conversely, Adelaide’s sole remaining tramway, from Victoria Square in the CBD to the historic beachside resort of Glenelg, is under-going AU$56 million upgrade in which new tram-cars will replace the H-type’s of 1929.

Adelaide is the midpoint of the Indian Pacific railway between Perth and Sydney, as well as the terminus of the Overland to Melbourne and The Ghan via Alice Springs to Darwin. Adelaide’s main terminus for intra and inter-state coach-liners is the Franklin Street Coach Terminal at Franklin and Bowen Streets in the city-centre. Beginning in 2005, the terminal is to undergo a complete $25 million reconstruction, in conjunction with the much larger $375 million former Balfours-site redevelopment – the end-product being a new multi-storey bus-station and various residential and commercial towers. [1] (

The Adelaide International Airport, at West Beach, is Adelaide's main airport. A new dual international/domestic terminal is to replace the outdated and long-serving domestic terminal at the end of 2005. The old terminal had been a subject of ridicule, being one of the only capital-city airports at which there were no aerobridges. However, with the opening of the new state-of-the-art ( facility, Adelaide will boast the newest and most efficient aviation terminal in Australia.

Prominent Adelaideans

Notable Adelaideans include Alexander Downer (Australia's current and longest-serving foreign minister), Sir Mark Oliphant (physicist and Governor of South Australia), Nobel Prize winners William Henry Bragg, his son William Lawrence Bragg and Howard Florey (honoured for his role in making penicillin readily available), Andy Thomas (astronaut), Lleyton Hewitt (former world number one tennis player), Ian, Greg, and Trevor Chappell (past international cricket players).

Adelaide was also home to pioneer Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, Sir Donald Bradman also choose Adelaide for his home, and Australia's first female judge and first female Governor, Dame Roma Mitchell. Janine Haines, born in Tanunda in 1945 was the first female to lead an Australian political party (the Australian Democrats). Natasha Stott Despoja (born in Adelaide, 1969), was the youngest woman to enter Commonwealth Parliament and in 2001, was the youngest person in Australian history to lead an Australian political party (the Australian Democrats). Sir Charles Cameron Kingston, son of the Adelaide surveyor Sir George Strickland Kingston, was the Premier of South Australia from 1893-99 and went on to be the Minister for Trade and Customs in the first Commonwealth Parliament.

James Unaipon (1834-1908) and his son David Unaipon (1872-1967), commemorated on the Fifty Dollar banknote, were both highly intellectual and spiritual men. David Unaipon, a scientist, writer, preacher and prolific inventor, became known as the Australian Leonardo; one of his greatest ideas improved the efficiency of the mechanical sheep-shears. Catherine Helen Spence, (1825-1910), was a suffragist, electoral reformer, prohibitionist, feminist and novelist. She pioneered the way for South Australia to become the second place in the world to grant women the right to vote (after New Zealand) and was the first female political candidate in Australia standing for the Constitutional Conventions of the 1890s.

Some of the world's finest wines are from Adelaide with Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary Penfold establishing Penfolds Winery in 1845. It now produces the famous Penfolds Grange Hermitage.

Prominent artists, bands, and musicians to hail from Adelaide include film directors Scott Hicks and Rolf de Heer, actors Anthony LaPaglia and Jonathan LaPaglia. The famous Sir Robert Helpmann (1909-1986), while born in Mount Gambier, is rumoured to have resided in the eastern suburb of Rose Park during his career in Adelaide. World reknowned artist Sir Hans Heysen lived in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills and painted some of the most spectacular landscapes of South Australia. Musicians include Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham, The Mark of Cain, The Superjesus, Undertone, Guy Sebastian, Testeagles, and Snap to Zero. Of recent note are hip-hop outfit Hilltop Hoods, who have attained nationwide recognition. North Carolina pop pianist Ben Folds has been living in Adelaide since 1999.

Although born in Melbourne, media mogul Rupert Murdoch ran his first newspaper in Adelaide. In 1952 he took over management from his father of the afternoon paper "The News", turned it into a success and went on to build his now far-reaching media empire News Corporation, which was, up until the end of 2004, headquartered in Adelaide. According to Murdoch, a receipient of the City Keys, Adelaide remains News Corporation's "spiritual home".




Adelaide is serviced by five major television stations, and one community station.

  • ABC Adelaide — Government-owned, independently run broadcaster with news and drama focus.
  • SBS — part Government-owned, independently run multilingual broadcaster, with news and multicultural focus.
  • Seven Network — commercial network.
  • Nine Network — separately owned affiliate of national commercial network.
  • Network Ten — commercial network.
  • C31 ( — community television.


Major FM and AM radio stations include:

  • FM 107.9Life FM (
  • FM 107.1SA-FM (
  • FM 106.3SBS Radio (
  • FM 105.5Triple J Website (
  • FM 104.7Triple M Website (
  • FM 103.9ABC Classic FM (
  • FM 102.3Mix FM (
  • FM 101.5Radio Adelaide ( - community & student radio
  • FM 93.7Three D Radio ( - community radio
  • FM 92.7Fresh FM - youth community radio
  • FM 91.9Nova FM ( (FM 99.1 for the Adelaide Foothills)
  • AM 13955AA ( (talk-back)
  • AM 729 — ABC Radio National Website (
  • AM 891 — 891 ABC Adelaide Website (

Sister cities

Adelaide has several sister cities. They are:

See also

Further reading

  • Kathryn Gargett; Susan Marsden, Adelaide: A Brief History. Adelaide: State History Centre, History Trust of South Australia in association with Adelaide City Council, 1952. ISBN 0730801160
  • Derek Whitelock et al, Adelaide : a sense of difference. Melbourne: Arcadia, 2000. ISBN 0875606571

External links

Capital cities of Australia
National NSW NT Qld SA Tas Vic WA
Canberra Sydney Darwin Brisbane Adelaide Hobart Melbourne Perth
Other Australian cities

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