Adelaide

Adelaide has again been rated fifth in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s livability index for 2016,This will have come as no surprise for those of us fortunate enough to live in Adelaide.   Adelaide is the fifth largest city in Australia and is also the capital city of South Australia.  Adelaide (named after Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV of England) is the only Australian capital that was founded and colonised by free settlers, as opposed to convicts, around the middle of the 1830’s.

Colonel William Light (27 April 1786 – 6 October 1839) was a British military officer and the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia (Wikipedia).  Light designed Adelaide and chose its location. Light’s design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, not unlike New York, interspaced by wide boulevards and 5 public squares, and entirely surrounded by parkland.  The City centre of Adelaide is exactly 1.6 kilometres by 1.6 kilometres (1 mile by 1 mile) and is bounded by North, South, East and West Terraces.  Apart from the four terraces there are only 22 street names to familiarise yourself with in Adelaide city centre.

One of the reasons why Colonel Light chose the particular location he did for Adelaide was because he saw that clouds drifting over the nearby Adelaide Hills provided rainfall and this would be good for agriculture. Another reason was that the location was adjacent to the River Torrens.  The lack of available fresh water had been a problem throughout the new colony, and had resulted in either the rejection of, or relocation of, settlement sites on Holdfast Bay (now known as Glenelg), Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln (Wikipedia).

Light’s plans included surrounding the city with 1,700 acres (690 ha) of parklands. This would provide clean fresh air throughout Adelaide. European cities often had polluted stale air and Light wanted to avoid this occurring in Adelaide (Wikipedia).  This gave rise to Adelaide being known as “City in a park”.

Adelaide’s central business district or CBD as it is known is home to over 600 shops, a number of museums, a zoo and a bustling Central Market.  South Australia has become known as “The Festival State” and much of what goes on is in the capital city, Adelaide.  The “Adelaide Fringe” for example is the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, held in Adelaide. For 24 days and nights during February and March, the annual open-access festival features more than 4,000 artists from around Australia and the world, featuring world premieres, hit shows and new artists. Over 900 events are staged in pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, lane-ways and disused buildings as well as established venues such as theatres, hotels, art galleries and cafes over the entire city.  The festival includes contemporary work in art forms spanning cabaret, comedy, circus and physical theatre, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, visual art and design (Wikipedia).

Metropolitan Adelaide stretches approximately some 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the Adelaide Hills, and approximately 90 km (56 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south.  Consequently, Adelaide covers an area of 1,826 square kilometres and has an estimated population of around 1,200,000 people   By comparison; Metropolitan London occupies an area of just 1,706.8 kilometres and has an estimated population of between 12 and 14 million ( a rather vague estimate but there you are).   According to the 2006 census, 72% of Adelaideans were born in Australia, over 7% were born in England and 1% were born in Scotland.  I have yet to find statistics from this census for Welsh and Irish immigrants but will add these figures when I have found them).

Adelaide, as mentioned above, is located on the River Torrens and is surrounded to the east by the Mount Lofty Ranges and to the west by the ocean, namely the Gulf St Vincent.  There are restrictions on building on the city side of the Adelaide hills, which are to the east of Adelaide and the sea is to the west so building expansion geographically and logically is going to be either to the north or to the south of the city or more probably, both.  A second freeway, parallel to an existing freeway, is being built (June 2012) from just south of Adelaide down to the Main South Road near Seaford and it is to this destination of Seaford, that an electrified railway extension has now been completed and opened in February 2014.

Adelaide ranks highly in terms of livability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist’s World’s Most-Livable Cities index in 2012 and being ranked the most livable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia in 2012.  Adelaide is home to three top-class universities: Flinders University, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

The weather in Adelaide can be described as Mediterranean or temperate, which means that it is rarely very hot or very cold. During the summer the average temperature is about 29C but the temperatures can reach 40 C for several days in a row. Cool changes with thunderstorms occur during summer. In winter the average temperature is about 15C and rarely falls below 10 C. Adelaide is the driest capital city in Australia.

There is a huge diversity in the areas around Adelaide with the bonus that you can choose to either live in the cooler hills but still be close to the sea and vice versa. From nearly every area in and around Adelaide you have stunning views of the hills, the sea or both.

Situated along the coastline of Gulf St Vincent, Adelaide’s beach districts stretch out over an area that’s almost sixty kilometres long. There are some fantastic, white, sandy and largely deserted beaches along this coast with stunning scenery and reefs encouraging various activities, including surfing, diving, sailing, fishing or swimming, with barbecues and picnic tables provided.  There are wonderful beaches at Henley Beach, Largs Bay, Semaphore Park, West Beach, Glenelg, Somerton Park, Brighton, Hove, Seacliff, Hallett Cove, O’Sullivan Beach, Christie’s Beach, Port Noarlunga, Seaford, Moana, Maslin, Port Willunga, Aldinga and Sellicks Beach.  Take your pick.

In the nine years between March 2001 and March 2010, Metropolitan Adelaide average house prices rose by 285% (Wikipedia) but the average price is still lower than any of the other state capitals.  In spite of these price rises, the cost of housing in Adelaide is amongst the lowest in Australia and whether you prefer to live in the countryside or besides the sea you are bound to find something to suit you.  Adelaide’s Healthcare, hospitals and Schools have an exceptional reputation which appeals to the many families that make Adelaide their home.

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