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Honouring the Planning of the Park Lands

Pelzer Park / Pityarilla (Park 19)

Did you know that pityarra is the Kaurna word for the marshmallow plant?

photo-icon Ponder Avenue and cycle track through South Park Lands, City of Adelaide Archives, 5830ITEM0002[18.02], circa 1889
photo-icon William David Ponder, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0206
photo-icon August Pelzer, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0013

The Kaurna name for this park is Pityarilla which means 'marshmallow root place' in the Kaurna language. The marshmallow plant was known as ngunna and its roots, which were eaten, as pityarra.

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains and their language was last spoken on a daily basis in the 1860s but has been revived in recent times.

This park also honours an early advocate of bike paths in the Park Lands. Ponder Avenue is an avenue of Sugar Gums (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) which lines Glen Osmond Road. It was named after William David Ponder (1855-1933) (City Councillor from 1898-1904) in recognition of his success in having bicycle paths created through the Park Lands. He worked closely with Pelzer and chaired Council’s Tree Planting Committee.

The name of this park also honours one of the great planners of the Park Lands, August Pelzer. He was City Gardener (1899-1932), born and educated in horticulture in Germany. He worked in prominent roles in Germany and England before immigrating to Australia in 1866. When Pelzer died, he was described as 'one of the leading authorities of arboriculture, floriculture and landscape gardening in Australia'.

The Advertiser recorded that 'Many of Adelaide's municipal gardens were laid out under his supervision and will remain a lasting tribute to his skill and artistic sense'. He supported the use of Oriental, Mediterranean and South American tree species over Australia natives.

Pelzer's vision was based on John Ednie Brown's 1880 "A Report on the System of Planting for the Adelaide Park Lands" in greening and designing the Park Lands. By the 1920s Adelaide had over 32 hectares of formal gardens. Pelzer's impact can be seen in the design of gardens in the Park Lands such as Osmond Gardens and Kingston Gardens, and in the Glover and Princess Elizabeth Playgrounds.

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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