National Geographic : 1970 Apr
"Who's 'we'?" I asked, expecting to hear of a special committee. "The sensible people of Adelaide," he said. "That is, people with enough sense to fight for the parks and trees and.... Look at those gums over there. Aren't they beauties?" Colonization Without Convicts Under a gum tree on December 28, 1836, a determined band of English folk gathered to hear South Australia proclaimed a province of the British Crown. Then began the coloni zation of what became the continent's only state not settled by convicts.* Today the site where that gum tree and South Australia took root is a carefully tended park at the seaside resort of Glenelg, five miles southwest of Adelaide. The tree, now dead, Taking off in tandem, opponents fly for a "mark," or catch, in the grueling game of Australian Rules football. The receiver gets a free kick. Blocking and shoving for a hundred frenzied minutes of play, teams of 18 members each compete to punch and kick the ball to goal. Hometown rooters (right) in the black and gold of Gleneig, an Ade laide suburb, cheer their team to victory over the rival community of Sturt. Like their countrymen everywhere, South Australians delight in rough-and-tumble out door sports. Normally slow to excite, they become screaming partisans over their four varieties of football: Aussie Rules, soccer, Rugby union, and Rugby league. has been lovingly and chemically preserved. A few months after the proclamation, South Australia's first surveyor general, Col. Wil liam Light, laid out Adelaide in the face of furious criticism. The opposition wanted the city on the coast. But Light reckoned the soil and water were better inland. "The reasons that led me to fix Adelaide where it is," Colonel Light wrote in his jour nal, "I do not expect to be generally under stood or calmly judged of at the present. My enemies, however... have done me the good service of fixing the whole of the responsi bility upon me.... I leave it to posterity, and not to them, to decide whether I am entitled to praise or to blame." Salubriously seated between the Mount Lofty Ranges and Gulf St. Vincent, Colonel Light's city of wide, straight streets and tree lined boulevards (called terraces here) is as practical for today's traffic as for U-turning bullock teams a century and more ago. But Adelaide is really a city to walk in, and for me one of the most rewarding strolls is along North Terrace. This is an avenue of airy elegance, enhanced by the capital's state liest buildings and finest institutions. They include South Australia's oldest church (built in 1838), Parliament House, State Library, Art Gallery, and the University of Adelaide. At the east end of North Terrace you can enter the Botanic Garden and find yourself nearly weeping at the beauty of it all. North Terrace and the green belt well become this quiet city of culture. As such, it established in 1960 the Adelaide Festival of Arts, which takes place every other year in March. Now a three-week-long event, it at tracts international as well as Australian talent. Musicians and folk singers, writers and painters, actors and ballet dancers come from all around the world. Other foreigners are constantly arriving to stay for good, to become New Australians. They go to work as restaurateurs, teachers, *This is the third in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S con tinuing coverage of Australia's six states and the North ern Territory. See "New South Wales, the State That Cradled Australia," by Howell Walker, November 1967, and "Queensland: Young Titan of Australia's Tropic North," by Kenneth MacLeish, November 1968. 447 .KIAACH KMb k N..Z,..