Guide to Adelaide South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia
in the southern central part of the country. It covers
some of the most arid parts of the continent and with
a total land area of 984,377 km² (380,070 sq mi),
it is the fourth largest of Australia's states and territories.
It is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the
north by the Northern Territory and Queensland, to the
east by Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and
along the south by the Great Australian Bight and the
Southern Ocean. With 1.5 million people, the state comprises
less than 10 per cent of the Australian population and
ranks fifth in population among the states and territories.
The majority of its people reside in the state capital,
Adelaide, with most of the remainder settled in fertile
areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray.
The state's origins were unique in Australia
as a freely-settled, planned British province. Official
settlement began on 28 December 1836 when the state was
proclaimed at The Old Gum Tree by Governor Hindmarsh.
The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic
colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield
that was later employed by New Zealand. The aim was to
establish the province as a centre of civilisation for
free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious
tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic
hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative
and culturally vibrant. Today, the state is known as a
state of festivals, and of fine wine.
The state's economy centres on the agricultural,
manufacturing and mining industries and has an increasingly
significant finance sector as well.
The first recorded European sighting
of the South Australian coast was in 1627 when the Dutch
ship the Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by Francois Thijssen,
examined the coastline. Thijssen named his discovery "Pieter
Nuyts Land", after the highest ranking individual
on board. The coastline of South Australia was first mapped
by Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802. Baudin
referred to the land as "Terre Napoléon".
In 1834, the British Parliament passed
the South Australia Act 1834, which enabled the province
of South Australia to be established. The Act stated that
802,511 square kilometres would be allotted to the colony,
and it would be convict-free. The plan for the colony
was that it be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities
of British society, that is, no religious discrimination
Settlement of nine vessels and 636 people
was temporarily made at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island,
until the official site of the colony was selected where
Adelaide is currently located. The first immigrants arrived
at Holdfast Bay (near the present day Glenelg) in November
1836 and the colony was proclaimed on December 28, 1836,
now known as Proclamation Day. South Australia is the
only Australian state to be settled by free settlers.
The flag of South Australia was adopted
on January 13, 1904, and is a British blue ensign faced
with the state badge. The badge is described as a Piping
Shrike with wings outstretched on a yellow disc. The state
badge is believed to have been designed by Robert Craig
of the Adelaide School of Arts.
The terrain consists largely of arid
and semi-arid rangelands, with several low mountain ranges
in which the most important mountains are the Mt Lofty-Flinders
Ranges system which extends north about 800 kilometres
from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens and
salt lakes. The highest point in the state is not in those
ranges, but Mount Woodroffe at 1435 metres in the Musgrave
Ranges in the extreme northwest of the state. The western
portion of the state consists of the sparsely-inhabited
Nullarbor Plain fronting the cliffs of the Great Australian
The principal industries and exports
of South Australia are wheat, wine and wool. More than
half of Australia's wines are produced here.
South Australia has boundaries with
every other Australian state and territory except the
Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. The Northern
Territory was originally the Northern Territory of South
Australia, becoming a separate territory in 1911. South
Australia's south coast is flanked by the Southern Ocean.
Its mean temperature range is 29°C in January and
15°C in July. Daily temperatures in parts of the state
in January & February can be up to 48°C.
South Australia is a constitutional
monarchy with the Queen of Australia as the head of state.
Its bicameral parliament consists of a House of Assembly
(lower house) and a Legislative Council (upper house),
with legislative elections held every four years. The
current Premier of South Australia is Mike Rann, a member
of the Australian Labor Party.
Initially, the Governor of South Australia
(the first was Captain John Hindmarsh) held almost total
power that he derived from the Letters Patent created
by the Imperial Government to create the colony. He was
only accountable to the British Colonial Office and thus
democracy did not exist in the colony. A new body was
created to advise the Governor on the administration of
South Australia in 1843 called the Legislative Council.
 It consisted of three representatives of the British
Government and four colonists appointed by the Governor.
The Governor retained total executive power.
In 1851, the Imperial Parliament enacted
the Australian Colonies Government Act which allowed for
the election of representatives to each of the colonial
legislatures and the drafting of a Constitution to properly
create representative and responsible Government in South
Australia and later that year, wealthy male colonists
were allowed to vote for 16 members on a new 24 seat Legislative
Council. Eight members continued to be appointed by the
The main responsibility of this
body was to draft a Constitution for South Australia.
The body drafted the most democratic constitution ever
before seen in the British Empire and provided for manhood
suffrage. It created the bicameral Parliament of South
Australia and the two houses of parliament. For the first
time in the colony, the executive was elected by the people
and the colony used the Westminster system where the government
is the party or coalition that exerts a majority in the
House of Assembly. In 1894, South Australia was the first
Australian colony to allow women to vote and it had the
first Parliament in the world to allow women to be elected
as members. Catherine Helen Spence was the first woman
in Australia to be a candidate for political office when
she nominated to be one of South Australia's delegates
to the constitutional conventions that drafted the Constitution.
South Australia became an original state of the Commonwealth
of Australia on 1 January 1901.