Adelaide, cocooned in swathes of English Country Garden-inspired parkland, is a picturesque city woven from expansive boulevards, public squares and generous residential plots. South Australia’s capital celebrates the arts, festivals and sport with a gusto that has earned it the title ‘most liveable city’ from the Australian Property Council, two years running (in 2011 and 2012).
The city prides itself on being Australia’s only ‘free settlement’ (in other words it was never a penal colony). Land deeds in Adelaide were sold to the wealthy rather than freely granted, as a means of precluding criminals - and by extension, crime - in the city. Paradoxically, Edward Gibbon Wakefield (the city’s founder) conceived the idea during his own incarceration for attempted abduction of an heiress!
Until 2004, the city was the seat of media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. It is still headquarters to Australia’s largest oil company, Santos, as well as Australia’s leading brewery, Coopers Lager. The city is also home to 40% of Australia’s high tech companies and roughly 70% of defence companies, and almost half the cars produced in Australia are manufactured at the city’s General Motors Holden plant.
Adelaide city promotes itself as an educational hub; its universities now welcome around 23,000 international students. Its primary and secondary education systems are outstanding, and the city boasts the highest number of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the country.
The city’s idyllic urban landscape and parklands spill onto 30 kilometres of white sandy beach that skims the Gulf of St Vincent. Cleaved in two by the River Torrens, this green, lush city offers bountiful activities within a serene setting. Its cultural calendar is filled to bursting, ensuring that there is never a dull moment, whatever the weather.
What is special or unique about your city?
Adelaide was named in honour of Queen Adelaide, who was royal consort to King William IV. The city was founded by Colonel William Light in 1836 and is situated close to the River Torrens in an area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people.
It is also known as Australia's most accessible city, with the Mount Lofty Ranges and pristine beaches just 20 minutes from the inner city; world renowned wine regions just an hour’s drive away; and gateway to the rugged outback of the Flinders Ranges and natural wonders of Kangaroo Island.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Adelaide is an elegant and picturesque blend of stunning architecture with sandstone houses and buildings, bluestone mansions and beautiful spired churches, with magnificent parks and gardens that surround the inner city. Popular alfresco dining provides a lively atmosphere with visitors and residents alike enjoying the sunshine in the numerous street cafes and restaurants. Perhaps the most surprising impression for newcomers is the lack of skyscrapers and the ease with which people can travel around in a city which has just over 1.3 million residents.
Are these impressions likely to change?
What is the local language?
English is the official language of Australia.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
Speaking and understanding English will be quite important whilst living in Adelaide. There are many types of language training available, including classes run by the government, community groups and private training organisations.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Adelaide is a very multicultural city and new arrivals need to be sensitive to the cultural beliefs of their fellow residents.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Adelaide's weather can be quite variable but is rarely extreme. Summers are warm and mostly dry and winters are cool with frequent rain or showers. Mean maximum temperature in January (mid-summer) is 29C and in July (mid-winter) is 15C. A sunscreen cream and hat should be worn in summer.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Food, wine, the arts and sport play a major role during life in Adelaide. Wine festivals include the Barossa Vintage Festival and the Sea and Vines Festival in McLaren Vale. Street parties, such as the
Norwood Parade Food and Wine Festival are held annually. South Australia is also known as the
Festival State, with Adelaide a cultural centre and home to vibrant arts and music festivals, such as the Adelaide Festival of Arts, The Adelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide International Music Festival and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.