Whitmore Square is the only one of the five city squares in Colonel Light’s original plan to retain its original configuration and use. The others have been bisected by roads or tramways and reshaped to accommodate modern traffic. Whitmore Square also retains its intended purpose as a common recreation space. In the 1850s it was planted with both European and indigenous trees, including some of the Moreton Bay fig trees that stand there still. In the 1930s it served as a playground and place of public oratory and during World War II it was used for training soldiers and had air raid trenches dug. The tram line that cut off the North West corner of the square between 1909 and 1958 was later reinstated to the square, leaving a scar that persists today.
In the 1990s Whitmore Square had become a somewhat unsafe place at night, but since 2001, a ban on alcohol and the introduction of leisure facilities have created a more welcoming community-oriented space. It has been named in the Kaurna language for Ivaritji (1847-1929) who is recognised as the last speaker of the Kaurna language, also known as Amelia Taylor.
Around the square are some interesting historical buildings including St Luke’s Church and the former Bushman’s Inn. It also hosts a public artwork commemorating the Afghan cameleers who created the nearby Adelaide Mosque, the first built in Australia.