45-06 Clearance of native vegetation – and re-vegetation

This area is an “open woodland” within Park 24.

In the early decades of European settlement, (the 1840's to the 1860's) the entirety of the Adelaide Park Lands including this Park was stripped of native vegetation. There was a wholesale massacre of trees. They were cut down for construction timber and for firewood.

Then, from the 1870's there was some recognition that Adelaide needed to do better. Surprisingly, the first step did not involve planting trees (or at least not many trees). For most of the Park Lands, including this one, the first thought was that the Parks needed to be fenced. Therefore, post and wire fences were erected. Most of the eastern and southern Parks were fenced in 1870's. This one was not fenced until the 1890's. The first fence in 1890 was around a paddock (on the site of the current Adelaide High School Oval) for the purpose of keeping horses.

There was not much attention given to the western Park Lands any earlier than the 1890's. Throughout most of the 1800’s this area was not really treated as if it were a Park. Various parts were used as quarries and rubbish dumps. Later it hosted a City Council works depot.

The land was also used for grazing sheep and cattle – because it was convenient to herd the stock from the western Park Lands to the cattle yards, located where the Royal Adelaide Hospital now stands. The City Council also operated a slaughterhouse or abbatoir nearby, on Park 27, where the Bonython Park kiosk stands – only a kilometre from this Park.

In 1880, the City Council employed a forestry expert from Scotland, John E Brown who, when he arrived in Adelaide, literally wrote the book on how to re-plant the Adelaide Park Lands.

He was ahead of his time because many of his suggestions from 1880 were not taken up for at least 20 or 30 years, long after he had moved on from Adelaide.

His plan for the western Park Lands was for dense plantings on the perimeter of the Park. This was partly followed through, and this area of open woodland along the railway line to the west, and along Sir Donald Bradman Drive to the south are broadly in accordance with John Brown’s 1880 plan.

This is not the only part of Park 24 that has been re-vegetated. In 2017, dozens of trees were planted just off West Terrace between the High School and Sir Donald Bradman Drive. It seems to be something of an echo of Brown's 1880 plan.

There is also a small re-vegetation site right on the corner of West Terrace and Glover Ave

From this point, keep following the path until it curves around to the right, a little, and then straightens up.



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