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Adelaide CBD

South Australia


Community, Business and Visitor Guide

Adelaide CBD Local History

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Adelaide, situated on the coast of South Australia, is a beautiful city which serves as the commercial and cultural center of the state. Central Business District or CBD, in Adelaide, is a historical hub of business and commerce, where administrative and financial operations are being carried out for nearly two centuries. The city of Adelaide was founded in 1836 by Colonel William Light from the British Army and his team, who was commissioned by the South Australia Colonization Commission to design and plan a new capital city for the province. The site selected laid on the south bank of the Torrens River which was considered to be a fertile ground for agriculture. The Master Plan of the city was devised with Light’s unique vision of creating a planned city with a grid-like system of wide rectangular streets and parklands. He designed the heart of the city as a square, surmounted by parks and gardens, with public spaces and walkways radiating outward. This original town plan is still followed today, with Victoria Square being the center of it all. The name Adelaide was given to the city after Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV. The city was granted a city status in the year 1840, and it became a vital town for gold miners during the Victorian gold rush. It was a place where people would start their journey from the port of Adelaide to the mines, and as the city started to grow, it became a commercial hub for agricultural produce and livestock. In the early 20th century, Adelaide’s economy had developed around industries like wool, wheat, metals, and mining. Some of the grandiose buildings on King William Street and North Terrace, such as the General Post Office, the State Library, and Parliament House, were being established. The coastal city of Adelaide was not spared from the effects of the two World Wars, with soldiers and airmen being dispatched overseas and the city fearing enemy attacks. Post-war era saw an industrialization surge in Adelaide. The government initiated several public works projects, and Adelaide became known as the “city of parks”, with thousands of trees planted across the city. In the second half of the 20th century, Adelaide's CBD grew as a multi-faceted city center with diverse retail and dining experiences for residents and tourists alike. Many of the historic buildings were refurbished and repurposed to cater to modern needs, such as the Adelaide Central Market and Rundle Mall. Adelaide further diversified its industry and became a center for medical research, and high-end manufacturing, creating thousands of jobs. Today, Adelaide CBD stands as one of the most liveable cities globally, known for its laid-back culture, welcoming community, and entrepreneurial spirit. With a thriving arts and cultural scene, Adelaide offers the perfect mix of dynamic city living coupled with an excellent quality of life. In summary, Adelaide CBD has gone through substantial economic, societal, and urban changes since the time of its creation in the early 19th century. The city of Adelaide which was planned on a simple grid-like system by Light has now flourished into a diverse and multi-faceted hub of commerce, arts, culture, and tourism. It is an embodiment of a vision to create a planned city with wide streets, public parks, and comprehensive public infrastructure. Adelaide CBD remains an important part of Australia's history and is a unique and fascinating place that continues to change with time.

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Adelaide Festival Centre thanks to eGuide Travel (CC BY 2.0)