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Elm Carriageway: a clue to a bygone era

Carriageway Park / Tuthangga (Park 17)

Did you know there is an elegant avenue which meanders through the centre of this Park?

photo-icon John Ednie Brown
photo-icon William Buik, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1226:05, circa 1878

Planted in the 1870s by William O'Brien (City Gardener 1861-1874), the Elm Carriageway survives as a symbol of the first landscape plan for the Park Lands. The "Report on System of Planting for the Adelaide Park Lands" was prepared by John Ednie Brown in 1880. The carriageway provided access from Hutt Road to Beaumont Road - opening up pleasant vistas along the way.

John Ednie Brown (1848-1899) was a passionate advocate of tree planting. Educated in Edinburgh, he toured the United States and Canada gathering information about trees before arriving in South Australia in 1878. The Mayor at the time, William Buik (1878-1879), engaged Brown to prepare his Report, much of which was put in place and can still be seen today. The Report was the first large-scale landscape design proposal for a public park in South Australia, if not Australia.

John Ednie Brown (City Gardener) prepared the "Report on a System of Planting for the Adelaide Park Lands" in 1880, which explained how to plant avenues which responded to climatic concerns, recognising that "fine shady walks should form a marked feature in the landscape" and use a single species of tree.

Brown's Report was also practical, stating that "Where planting has already been done upon the Park Lands, I have tried as much as possible to work such plantations in to form a part of my design".

City of Adelaide acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today. We also extend that respect to other Aboriginal Language Groups and other First Nations.

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