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Lefevre Park: a rural landscape in the city centre

Lefevre Park / Nantu Wama (Park 6)

Did you know that horses have been agisted in this park since the 1850s?

photo-icon Opening of the riding track, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1358, circa 1939
photo-icon Opening of the riding track, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1359, circa 1939
photo-icon Opening of the riding track, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1357, circa 1939
photo-icon Opening of the riding track, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1356, circa 1939
photo-icon Kingston Terrace, State Library of South Australia, B 5606, circa 1865

The Park Lands have long been used for all kinds of activities involving horses, such as horse racing, polo, trotting, hunting, mounted police troopers and military volunteer activity. In 1939 a bridle track was opened in the park for recreational horse riders. Most of these activities have stopped now, but horses are still agisted here.

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. This park is known as ‘Nantu Wama’, which means ‘horse plain’ in the Kaurna language, referring to the horse agistment. The Language was last spoken on a daily basis in the 1860s, although in recent times it has been revived.

This park is also known as “Lefevre Park’ as it is bordered by Lefevre Terrace to the west. Sir J G Shaw Lefevre (1797-1879) was one of South Australia’s Colonisation Commissioners. Many streets in Adelaide were named after the Commissioners whose efforts led to the establishment of the colony of South Australia.

South Australia was unlike other colonies in Australia – it was established as a financial venture supported by the British Government. Free settlers were encouraged, and the transportation of convicts was forbidden. Shaw Lefevre was Under Secretary to the Colonies, so he had a particular influence in promotion of the colony in Britain.

This park is a good place to see how Light’s plan responded to the topography of the Adelaide Plains. It was designed to make the most of views to the Adelaide Hills in the distance. The terraces which surrounded the Park Lands were lined with mansions where people could enjoy the views.

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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