Capital and chief port of South Australia; population (2001 est) 1,072,600. Adelaide is situated on the River Torrens, 11 km/7 mi from the Gulf of St Vincent. The city is the economic and cultural centre of South Australia, and a major focus for rail, road, sea and air routes. This position, combined with the availability of many raw materials, has favoured considerable industrial development. Power sources include natural gas, piped into Adelaide from the Gidgealpa gas fields of the Cooper Basin. Industries include oil refining, shipbuilding, textiles, machinery, chemicals and electronics, and the manufacture of electrical goods, cars and motor components. Grain, wool, fruit, and wine, including much produce from the basin of the Murray River which has no port at its outlet to the sea, are exported from Port Adelaide, 11 km/7 mi northwest of the city and with facilities for both container and passenger traffic. Adelaide was founded in 1836 and named after the queen of William IV. The city's fine buildings include Parliament House, Government House, the Anglican cathedral of St Peter, and the Roman Catholic cathedral of St Francis Xavier (built 1856–1926).
History Settlement was first proposed in the Adelaide region in 1829, although unlike other Australian settlements the new colony would not be a convict settlement. A proposal was put forward to sell Crown Land to new settlers and use the proceeds to fund the emigration of labourers to the new colony. After several attempts the plan became a reality, and in 1836 a fleet of eight ships under John Hindmarsh, first Governor of South Australia, arrived at Holdfast Bay, 10 km/6 mi downstream at the mouth of the River Torrens. Upon arrival, the new settlers camped at Holdfast Bay while William Light selected and planned a suitable site for the colony's settlement. Initially, the population grew slowly, since many settlers were more interested in property speculation than the development of the colony. By 1840, however, the population had reached about 14,000, and after 1842 the city prospered with the discovery of the copper resources in the nearby areas (these are now exhausted).
Features The city is situated on a large plain, bounded on the south and east by the Mount Lofty Range. It is a fine example of town planning, with residential districts separated from commercial areas by a green belt, one of the earliest examples of its kind, developed by William Light, South Australia's first surveyor-general. The green belt encircling the city has preserved much of its original form, despite the considerable spread of the suburbs.
The city proper is bounded by four boulevards, North, South, East, and West Terraces. Impressive streets include North Terrace and King William Street. The business district of the city is situated on the River Torrens. Adelaide's water supply is obtained from the Onkaparinga and Torrens rivers (the River Torrens is dammed for this purpose), and is supplemented from the River Murray, 80 km/50 mi away. Adelaide has two universities, the University of Adelaide (founded 1874), Flinders University (1966), and the University of South Australia (1991). The Botanic Gardens were established in 1855, and other notable buildings are the state observatory and the museum and art gallery (1871). Ayers House (1846), in central Adelaide was from 1855–97 the home of Henry Ayers, seven times premier of South Australia. To the north of the city centre is Adelaide Oval, established in the 1870s and considered to be one of the world's finest cricket grounds.
The Adelaide Festival Centre (1977) on the banks of the Torrens includes a concert hall, theatre, and open-air amphitheatre; it is the focal point of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, established in 1960 and held every two years, attracting some 2,000 artists and performers from 27 countries.
Adelaide is connected by air and rail with Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin, and other important towns. Several research institutes are based in Adelaide: the Australian Wine Research Institute, the Defence Science Technology Organization, which specializes in electronics and surveillance, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization divisions of soils, human nutrition, manufacturing technology, biochemistry, and horticulture.
Climate The average annual rainfall in Adelaide is 560 mm/22 in; the mean average daily maximum temperature is 21.8°C and the mean average daily minimum is 12.0° C.