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10 Facts about Adelaide, Australia

Updated on April 21, 2014
Adelaide | Source

Adelaide is a city in Australia and the capital of the state of South Australia. Situated 6 miles (10 km) east of Gulf St. Vincent, an inlet of the Indian Ocean, the city is also the commercial and cultural center of the state. The city has a population of 1,291,666 (2013). Here are 10 facts about Adelaide:

1. Adelaide is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Australia. It was named in honor of Queen Adelaide, consort of King William IV, the reigning monarch of Britain when the city was founded in 1836. A concentrated effort to develop tourist infrastructure, begun in the 1970s, transformed the image of what was long designated "the city of churches."

Adelaide Skyline
Adelaide Skyline | Source

2. Adelaide stands on a fertile plain, which slopes gently from the Mount Lofty Ranges in the east to the shore of Gulf St. Vincent. The Torrens River flows through the city from east to west, dividing it into South Adelaide, the business district, and North Adelaide, the residential area. The river, crossed by several bridges, has been dammed to form an ornamental lake. An extensive belt of parklands, covering 1,700 acres (690 ha), completely surrounds the city, separating it from the sprawling suburbs. Port Adelaide is in the suburban area, 7 miles (11 km) from the heart of the city.

3. Designed by Col. William Light, who surveyed it early in 1837, Adelaide is a well-planned city, with wide streets, set at right angles to each other, and numerous city squares. King William Street, the main thoroughfare, runs north and south, passing through Victoria Square, a small park in the center of the city. South Adelaide is bounded by four main avenues, known as North, South, East, and West terraces. A statue of Colonel Light, the founder of Adelaide, overlooks the city from Light's Vision, a North Adelaide park on Montefiore Hill, which offers a panoramic view of the city and its suburbs.

Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide Zoo | Source
St. Peter's Cathedral
St. Peter's Cathedral | Source

4. Adelaide is the site of the main cultural institutions and government buildings of South Australia. The State Library of South Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the South Australia Museum, a natural history museum, are located on North Terrace. The state Parliament House, a classical building of native marble and gray granite, and the state Government House also are on North Terrace.

5. The city has several excellent institutions of higher learning, including the University of Adelaide, incorporated in 1874, and the University of South Australia, founded in 1991. The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science was established in 1938 to research diseases of humans and animals. The city's two cathedrals are St. Peter's (Anglican) and St. Francis Xavier (Roman Catholic).

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral | Source

6. The city has an average rainfall of 21 inches (533 mm). Temperatures average 74° F (23°C) in February and 53° F (12° C) in July. Adelaide's pleasant climate and fine location, between the sea and the hills, combine to make the city a recreational center.

7. Portions of the parklands have been made available for sports arenas, including the Adelaide Oval, for cricket and football; the Memorial Drive Tennis Courts, scene of the Davis Cup challenge rounds; and the Victoria Park Race Course. A succession of major sporting events punctuate the year. The city features a host of public gardens, including the Adelaide, the Mount Lofty, and the Wittunga Botanic Gardens.

8. Adelaide is the chief port and marketplace for South Australia. It is connected by railroad with Port Adelaide and with the outer harbor, which services oceangoing liners. Wheat, wool, hides, fruit, and wine are exported from the port.

9. Industrial growth was very rapid in the city in the middle of the 20th century, when a petroleum refinery was established, but in the 1990s manufacturing suffered difficulties as a result of tariff reductions and a national recession, trimming the output of the large factories producing automotive parts, machinery, and chemicals. The city also functions as the processing center for the region's agricultural produce and dairy products.

10. Before settlement by Europeans the Adelaide area was occupied by Kaurna Aborigines. Early English explorers included Matthew Flinders, who surveyed the coastline in 1801–1802, and Capt. Collet Barker, who, in 1831, was the first European to view the future site of the city. Adelaide was founded on Dec. 31, 1836, by Col. William Light, who chose the site despite much opposition from various rivals. In 1840 Adelaide became the first Australian municipality to be incorporated. Three years later, however, the colonial government took control of the city's affairs, and the city corporation was not revived until 1852.


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