On a grey winter’s day we decided to stop and take a look around to explore the changes that have taken place in the centre of the city. Adelaide’s Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga has been going through a major redevelopment and the results to date have been a huge improvement. Stage 1 at the northern end looks to be just a large lawn area, but there is much more to see and do here than meets the eye. Home to a variety of events and activities throughout the year, when not in use Victoria Square is a fabulous public play space and it won’t cost you a cent.
The Adelaide City Council acknowledges the traditional custodianship of the Adelaide Plains area by Kaurna people, and in 2002 it formally recognised this relationship by bestowing the dual name Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. The Aboriginal flag flies alongside the Australian flag on one of the two tall flagpoles in the centre of the Square, which is now called Reconciliation Plaza in recognition of the Square’s Aboriginal heritage. This area is the paved central roadway which can be transformed into a temporary plaza for large events.
The Square’s shaded areas with unique fabric awnings are quite striking, as are the long, curved bench seats that are positioned on both sides of the square. Impressive hanging lights that provide ambient and festive lighting now make Victoria Square a safer, more welcoming night-time space too. There are public toilets on the eastern side and drink fountains at both ends. The seating area on the western side even has an inbuilt sandpit.
The main attraction for children is the water feature, and even on a cold, wet day the kids had a ball running through the spray and splashing around (we were prepared with gumboots!) You can just imagine how much fun it would be on a warm summer day playing here. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawns and simply let the children run around in the open space. There is tiered paving on three sides of the water feature to climb up and down, plus ledges to balance along.
The environmentally sustainable design of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga’s upgrades embraces water and energy conservation with the entire project undergoing ‘green’ construction.
Although the landscaping is still very new, it is obvious the planting will benefit this space and the people who use it in the years to come. There will be lovely shady areas with 100 semi-mature Australian native trees, including Spotted Gums, planted around the perimeter and central plaza. The lawn area is lined with deciduous London Plane trees which will also provide additional shade in the warmer months. All of the plants have been carefully selected to suit Adelaide’s dry environment.
The Square includes dedicated bicycle lanes plus 16 bike racks, so riding into the city is a great option. The tram line runs straight past the Square, as do public buses. There are nearby U-parks and plenty of parking along the surrounding streets only a short stroll away – most are ticket parking spaces, but there are also some areas where parking for under 1 hour is free.
Stage 1 Victoria Square Development:
- a large event space for up to 5,000 people, with tiered paving and a raised performance area
- a generous paved promenade with an urban lounge covered by a shade structure with fabric awnings and enclosed by vertical vines
- a new water play fountain
- new lawn, garden beds and 100 new semi-mature spotted gum trees
- innovative, energy efficient lighting across the event plaza
- modern public toilets and two drinking fountains
- 16 new bicycle racks
- ‘plug and play’ infrastructure will also be provided for pop-up cafes and events
For more information on Victoria Square visit the City of Adelaide website.
What: Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga
When: All Year Round (when not in use for official events)
Where: Wakefield/Grote Streets & King William Street, Adelaide
Who: All Ages
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All photographs by Play & Go. Information Source: City of Adelaide.
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