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Pennington Gardens West: setting for Adelaide Oval

Pennington Gardens (Park 26)

photo-icon Adelaide Oval, State Library of South Australia, B 60354/41, circa 1937
photo-icon A distant view of a cricket match in progress on Adelaide Oval, State Library of South Australia, circa 1938
photo-icon A section of the crowd attending a football match between Sturt and North held at Adelaide Oval, State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/15/425, circa 1919
photo-icon Distant view of a game of football being played between England and Australia held at the Adelaide Oval, State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/29/151, circa 1920
photo-icon August Pelzer, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0013
photo-icon Unveiling of the Sir Ross Smith Statue, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1329, circa 1927
photo-icon North Terrace - Fountain in front of Exhibition Building, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0596:01, date unknown
photo-icon Hercules Statue, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0391, date unknown
photo-icon Cover Drive by Robert Hannaford

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. This area around Adelaide Oval and the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari has particular importance to the Kaurna people. This area was a camping ground and Gladys Elphick, a Kaurna elder, recalled her Grannie Amelia, known also as Ivaritji, saying she camped in the Adelaide Oval area.

Adelaide Oval is located on a place where Kaurna people celebrated life through public ceremonies, games, religious observances and palti (corroborees). It is also seen as a symbol for race relations in sport with football matches between Point McLeay Mission and local Adelaide teams amongst some of the earliest matches held here. In 1885 two large Kaurna cultural performances of song and dance were held which attracted 25,000 people.

Pennington Gardens West is part of a park called Tarntanya Wama which means 'Adelaide Oval' in the Kaurna language. The Gardens were designed by August Pelzer, City Gardener from 1899-1932, in the gardenesque style, with formal paths and garden beds. The redevelopment of Adelaide Oval has changed the layout but it retains its formality set with historic statues and a fountain.

'Hercules' is a life-size bronze copy of Glycon’s Farnese Hercules in Naples, Italy. It was unveiled on 4 October 1892 by the Mayor of Adelaide, F.W. Bullock (1851-1931). 'Hercules' was donated by William Austin Horn (1841-1922), a mining magnate, pastoralist and politician. Originally situated in Victoria Square, the statue was moved to North Terrace in 1930 and then to Pennington Gardens in 1960. It has been in its present site in the Gardens since the Oval was redeveloped in 2013.

The Gardens also feature one of a pair of cast iron fountains. The other fountain now stands in Rundle Mall. This fountain was known as the Creswell Gardens Fountain (when it was set further south in this Park) and was moved to this site in 2014.

'The Don' celebrates the famous Australian cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman (1908-2001), widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time.

'Captain Sir Ross Smith' (1892-1922) stands further south of the Oval in celebration of Smith’s feat of flying from England to Australia in 28 days. The statue was unveiled on 10 December 1927, the anniversary of the landing of Sir Ross and his crew in Australia. In 1919 the aeroplane had only been invented for 20 years, so the flight was seen as incredible and Smith was hailed a hero. The four sides of the pedestal contain images of incidents that occurred during the flight.

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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