In Colonel Light’s 1837 design for Adelaide, there was no King William Road. King William Street did not extend northwards past North Terrace. In Light’s plan, there was a road from the western part of the city up to Montefiore Hill, and another road from the eastern part of the city to North Adelaide that followed the course of what we now call Frome Road.
However, early settlers suggested that a central road, and a central river crossing was needed. The first King William Road bridge over the River Torrens was opened as early as 1839. That bridge enabled the development of North Adelaide.
But that 1839 bridge did not connect King William Road with O’Connell Street. It connected with Bagot Street which came up the hill, past this point. The road used to curve away to the right, up the hill, to connect with Lefevre Terrace.
14 years later, in 1853, a petition was presented to the Legislative Council, for a road to be placed through Brougham Gardens to connect the northern part of King William Road with O’Connell St, which was emerging even in the early 1850's as a commercial precinct.
Brougham Gardens had already been cut in three by Bagot Street and Margaret Street. The new King William Road meant that the gardens were then cut into four segments, by Bagot Street, Margaret Street AND King William Road.
Nevertheless this Park retained its unusual shape. It has three corners, but it’s not a triangle. From the air, or on a map you can see it is in the shape of a boat’s keel, or an arrowhead. The arrowhead is pointing west-south-west. The tip of the arrow is on the other side of King William Road and almost joins onto Palmer Gardens.
Brougham Gardens is about 3.4 hectares in size. The road around, on every side, is called Brougham Place.
Although the Gardens were severed by King William Road, in the 1850's, there was small return of Park Lands more than 100 years later. Bagot Road, where you are now standing, was closed in 1972 and became this footpath instead. In addition, Margaret Street through the Gardens was also closed, and all traffic had to go via either King William Rd or Frome Road.
Unlike many other parts of the Adelaide Park Lands, Brougham Gardens appears NOT to have been used in the 1800's for grazing cattle. However, by the late 1870s it had suffered the same fate has other parts of the Park Lands, losing most of its indigenous vegetation. It was then fenced with white-painted timber posts and wire.
By 1900, Adelaide’s city gardener August Pelzer had transformed Brougham Gardens into a more formal Victorian style park, much as it is today, with a few palms and deciduous European trees, and extensive flowerbeds at points along the internal pathways.
Therefore, it is still today as it was in the late 19th century, a Victorian-era style public garden. It has several diagonal pathways and it's framed externally by numerous two-storey Victorian era houses.
From this point, turn right and go down the hill towards the flagpole.