During the nineteenth century the river supplied Adelaide with drinking water. Strangely, to protect the water supply swimming was prohibited but cattle were allowed to drink and muddy the waters.
Despite the swimming ban, many people swam in the River close to this spot.
Just west of the bridge, one swimming spot, known as the Death Hole, was the site of many drownings, mainly of young boys.
This stretch of river was also exploited for its natural resources of sand and limestone. Early Park Land maps show a 'Sand Carters Road' from the river to Bundey's Road, across the adjacent Park 10.'
Sand-carting was so common it was eventually licenced to raise revenue.
Ironically, this revenue was used in the early 1900s to repair the damage done to the riverbank in the first place by the sand carters.