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National heritage listing for Adelaide Park Lands.

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The Hon Peter Garrett MP Minister for the Environment, Heritage & the Arts

The Hon Kate Ellis MP Member for Adelaide Minister for Sport and Youth

7 November 2008


The influential urban design of Adelaide - Australia’s first planned city - was today granted Australia’s highest heritage honour with its inclusion on the National Heritage List. The listing recognises the 1837 Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout as a technical masterwork which went on to influence the planning of other towns in Australia and overseas.

In Adelaide at the foot of ‘Light’s Vision’ - a statue of the design’s creator and surveyor, Colonel William Light - Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett celebrated the listing with City of Adelaide Minister Jane Lomax-Smith, South Australian Environment and Conservation Minister Jay Weatherill, Federal Member for Adelaide Kate Ellis and Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison.

“The vision behind the Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout remains true today with the original 1837 plan an integral part of the contemporary cityscape of this great Australian city,” Mr Garrett said.

“The mature and picturesque parklands here in Adelaide are an enduring treasure for the people of South Australia and the nation as a whole, and their inclusion on the National Heritage List is a fitting recognition of their value.

“Adelaide was the first place in Australia to be planned and developed for free settlers, not as a penal settlement or as a military outpost, and the masterwork of Colonel Light quickly became the model by which other towns in Australia and overseas were planned.”

The Federal Member for Adelaide, Kate Ellis said, “This move is fantastic recognition of the historical significance of our city’s unique layout and parklands”.

Mr Garrett said the Adelaide Park Lands were the most extensive and intact 19th century parklands in Australia today.

“The Adelaide Park Lands, also enjoy long standing links with the local community as a hub for recreational and civic activities for well over 150 years. It was a focal point for community groups campaigning for its protection as far back as 1869.

“From today the Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout will be afforded the highest protection under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.”

SA Environment Minister Jay Weatherill said, “The State Government welcomes this recognition of our unique layout.”

“Increasingly the success of cities depends on their liveability. The layout of Adelaide and its parklands is a key feature of the attractiveness of the city.

City of Adelaide Minister Jane Lomax-Smith said, “We’ve long known the Park Lands and City Layout’s design is an Australian landmark but I’m delighted its receiving this national honour”.

Mr Garrett said appreciation, recognition and protection of our investment in our National Heritage sites is essential as they are important to our history, our future and to the local economy of many parts of Australia.

“Our National Heritage Listed places contribute to national and local tourism with hundreds of thousands of people from across Australia and the world making the journey each year to see our precious landmarks and experience our unique landscapes.

“We will continue to work together with State and Territory Governments to ensure the protection and proper management of the outstanding heritage values of our National Heritage Listed places.

“It is vital that we continue to identify and protect the places integral to Australia’s national story, as they help us remember and understand that we are part of a living history.”

There are currently 81 places in the National Heritage List, reflecting the story of our development, from our original Indigenous inhabitants to present day, Australia’s spirit and ingenuity, and our unique living landscapes such as Old and New Parliament Houses in South Australia and the Australian Alps, Bondi Beach, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Kakadu National Park and Port Arthur Historic Site.

Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout site includes 900 hectares in total and is defined by the 1837 layout of streets including parks in the city centre and significant areas such as Victoria Square, Hindmarsh Square, the Botanic Gardens, Palmer Gardens and Brougham Gardens in North Adelaide.

Privately owned land between the road reserves in the city layout, the railway reserves and State Government lands and Institutions has not been included in the National Heritage Area.

Media contact: Ben Pratt (Garrett’s office) 0419 968 734 Helen Clark (Ms Ellis’ office) 0402 912 412