City of Adelaide

About the area

Key Statistics


The City of Adelaide is bounded by the City of Charles Sturt, the City of Prospect and the Town of Walkerville in the north, the City of Norwood Payneham St Peters and the City of Burnside in the east, the City of Unley in the south, and the City of West Torrens in the west. The City’s boundaries are the outer periphery of the Park Lands which are made up Park Terrace, Fitzroy Terrace, Robe Terrace and Park Road in the north, Hackney Road, Dequetteville Terrace and Fullarton Road in the east, Greenhill Road in the south, and the southern railway line, East Terrace and Port Road in the west.

Included Areas

The City of Adelaide includes the suburbs of Adelaide and North Adelaide.

Land Use

Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and the business, administrative, cultural and recreational hub of the state. The City of Adelaide is a mixed use area, with residential, commercial, institutional, cultural and entertainment land uses, and substantial parklands. The City encompasses a total land area of about 16 square kilometres.

Name Origin

The name of Adelaide was chosen to commemorate Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of the Adelaide area were the Kaurna Aboriginal people.


European settlement of the area dates from December 1836 when the site for Adelaide was chosen by Colonel William Light, the Surveyor-General, around the same time as the Province of South Australia was being proclaimed at Holdfast Bay. Colonial Light selected the site of Adelaide as a result of its fertile soil and access to the fresh water of the River Torrens. Controversy soon ensued, as many settlers favoured a site closer to the sea. Colonel Light persisted and laid out the characteristic gridiron layout of North and South Adelaide. South Adelaide, as Light correctly foresaw, became the major commercial centre of South Australia. Unlike most other capitals, Adelaide developed as a free colony without convict settlement. The new town also attracted many migrants who had been subjected to religious or political persecution in their homelands. The Adelaide City Council was formed in 1840, with the town not yet four years old. The city’s growth has reflected South Australia’s economic cycles. A wheat boom in the 1870s and 1880s set off a building boom, with many of the buildings which still line the city's streets built during these decades. Rapid expansion also took place during the early 1900s. The population steadily declined from the late 1940s to the 1970s. The population gradually increased from the 1970s. The population grew slightly in the 1990s, rising from about 15,000 in 1991 to over 16,000 in 2001, and then increased substantially to about 25,000 in 2011. Recent growth has been largely due to redevelopment and medium and high density housing.

Major Features

Major features of the City include the Adelaide Central Activities District (including Rundle Mall, Adelaide Central Market and numerous other retail centres and commercial areas), The University of Adelaide (North Terrace Campus and National Wine Centre), University of South Australia (Adelaide - City East and City West Campuses), TAFE SA (Adelaide Campus and Adelaide College of the Arts), South Australian Institute of Business & Technology, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Calvary North Adelaide Hospital, Calvary Wakefield Hospital, St Andrew’s Hospital, The Memorial Hospital, Adelaide Zoo, Adelaide Casino, Adelaide Convention Centre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Art Gallery of South Australia, South Australia Museum, Adelaide Gaol, City of Adelaide Golf Links, the Adelaide Park Lands (including numerous parks and sportsgrounds), the River Torrens and numerous private and public schools.


The City of Adelaide is served by the Anzac Highway, several railway lines, the Glenelg tramway and buses.

City of Adelaide

economic profile