Skip to main content

Grundy Gardens: Not Grungy Gardens!

Grundy Gardens (Park 12)

photo-icon Grundy Gardens
photo-icon Grundy Gardens
photo-icon Grundy Gardens
photo-icon Plan for Grundy Gardens, 18 October 1935, City of Adelaide Archives
photo-icon Fugue by Greg Johns, 1997-1998
photo-icon Space Between, Memorial to Forced Adoptions by Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones, CHEB Art and Design, 2016

This beautifully landscaped area was named after Councillor Tom Hadfield Grundy, to recognise his 34 years of service to the Corporation of the City of Adelaide. The garden was designed by Stanley Orchard, Curator of Parks and Gardens in 1933. It is a popular setting for scenic walks along the river and quiet contemplation for university students.

Grundy Gardens was completed in sections over 30 years. To commemorate South Australia's centenary, in 1937, major work was undertaken near the university on the south bank of the river, including a unique pathway system that follows the curvature and topography of the riverbank. The embankment was landscaped with terraces of manicured plantings and trees, as well as intricate stone walling on staircases and stone recesses with hedge planting behind them. Two wide flights of stairs connecting to Victoria Drive were also built and adorned with ornamental lamps and columns.

This was managed by William Veale, Adelaide's Town Clerk (1947-1965) who was highly instrumental in shaping many of the Adelaide Park Lands' iconic destinations, including Rymill Park / Murlawirrapurka (Park 14) in the eastern Park Lands, and Veale Gardens in the southern Park Lands, after whom that garden is named.

The northern bank of the river was not landscaped till the late 1950s. As the northern embankment was heavily eroded, it was graded and terraced to match the southern bank. Landscaping works finished in the late 1960s, and Grundy Gardens was officially opened on 31 March 1969. Today, Grundy Gardens encompasses the gardens between the University Footbridge and the Adelaide Zoo.

In this park, you will find two pieces of public art. Located on the corner of Victoria Drive and Frome Road is "Fugue", a corten steel sculpture by Greg Johns. It was originally a commissioned piece of art for a winery in the Adelaide Hills in 1998, but was donated to the Art Gallery of South Australia seven years later, and sited in its current location in 2005.

Located near the University Footbridge is "The Space Between" or "Memorial for Past Forced Adoptions" by CHEB Art. Installed in 2016, the memorial acknowledges the grief and loss of forced adoption from the experiences of both the mother and the child, commemorating forced adoptions across South Australia since the establishment of the colony in 1836.

Grundy Gardens is part of the Red Gum Park / Karrawirra (Park 12). "Karrawirra" literally translates to "Red Gum Forrest" in the Kaurna language. The park was name "Karrawirra" because it is close to the River Torrens, which is known as "Karrawirra Pari" or "Red Gum Forest River", due to the trees which lined the river in the past. The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains.

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.

Disclaimer: The information, map and materials contained in this database are for general information purposes only, and should not be relied on. The City of Adelaide make no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the content of in this database (including, without limitation, any as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content), or any content of any other website referred to or accessed by hyperlinks through these web pages. The City of Adelaide expressly disclaims responsibility for any damages that may be caused by the contents of this database.