40-07 Petanque and former horse riding grounds in Park 20

This flat gravel area is described as a “petanque piste” – an area for playing the game of petanque, or “boules”.

Some sports have been played in the Adelaide Park Lands for more than 150 years. In contrast, the game of petanque is a comparative newcomer.

Petanque has been played in Adelaide only since 1973. The writer and film producer Wylton Dickson is credited with introducing it to Adelaide as ‘the poor man’s bowls’.

The first club dedicated to the game, Club De Petanque d’Adelaide - was set up by the French Australian Association in 1977. It's Australia’s oldest petanque club.

Five years after the club was founded, in 1982, it moved to the South Park Lands, and to this site shortly afterwards.

This building is leased from the City Council.

Regular competitions are held here.

Although there are 12 different sports or recreations in this Park, one sport that is NOT catered for here, is horse riding. However that was not always the case.

There used to be organised horse riding in this Park for several decades.

In 1951 the Horse Riding Clubs Association of SA was granted the use of grounds around this south-eastern corner of Park 20.

This building was originally the home of the Horse Riding Clubs Association. However, by the 1980s most of its horse activities at this site, had been phased out.

The Petanque club took over the lease of the building shortly afterwards, in the 1980’s.

Horse racing at nearby Victoria Park ended in 2008. Now the only places in the Park Lands where you can see horses regularly are in North Adelaide, in Lefevre Park / Nantu Wama (Park 6), and in the Mounted Police horse compound next to Bonython Park, in Park 27.

This area near the corner of Unley Road and Greenhill Road was also known as a place to play the illegal ‘two-up’ gambling game in the early 1900s.

In other States, two-up was associated with pubs, but in Adelaide in the early 1900’s people (always men and boys) tended to play it mostly in quiet alleyways, yards, sand dunes, the back of tea rooms, shops, beaches and on the Park Lands, including in football club sheds that were dotted around the Park Lands.

This area was just one of many used for that purpose before the First World War.

Now go back to the bitumen path, and walk north-west along the bitumen path to the “Tree Climb” aerial adventure building.

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