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Osmond Gardens: showcasing garden design of the early 1900s

Peppermint Park / Wita Wirra (Park 18)

Did you know that you can learn a lot about early garden design by exploring Osmond Gardens?

photo-icon Osmond Gilles
photo-icon Osmond Gardens, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0144, circa 1907
photo-icon Osmond Gardens, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1579, circa 1928
photo-icon Osmond Gardens, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1561, circa 1928
photo-icon Osmond Gardens, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1390, date unknown
photo-icon Osmond Gardens, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0146, circa 1910
photo-icon Osmond Gardens Flooded, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0145, date unknown
photo-icon August Pelzer, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0013

Opening in 1909, Osmond Gardens demonstrate the skill of August Pelzer (City Gardener 1899-1932) as a garden designer. Gardenesque in style, the Gardens showcased a range of pants in garden beds, with paths, bridges, a rockery and a rusticated arbour to allow visitors to enjoy the display. The arbour has been replaced but the layout of the Gardens remains largely unchanged.

Born in Bremen, Germany, with experience from England and Germany, Pelzer implemented John Ednie Brown's "Report on a System of Planting for the Adelaide Park Lands" (1880). Pelzer's 33-year career as City Gardener is still reflected in the Park Lands landscape - such as his interest in choosing tree species which suited the dry Adelaide climate. He was described in The [Melbourne] Herald in 1929 as "one of the leading authorities of arboriculture, floriculture and landscape gardening in Australia".

One of the two cast iron fountains which formerly stood outside the (now demolished) Jubilee Exhibition Building on North Terrace was placed in Osmond Gardens in 1909. This is the fountain which is now in Rundle Mall outside the Adelaide Arcade.

Osmond Gardens are named after Osmond Gilles (1788-1866), the colourful first Colonial Treasurer. A number of other places (Gilles Street, Glen Osmond, Gilles Plains, OG Road) are also named after him. As well as a pastoralist and land owner, he discovered silver lead on his property "Woodley" in Glen Osmond, which made him wealthy as the mine developed.

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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