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The Park of Adelaide’s First Playground

Blue Gum Park / Kurangga (Park 20)

Did you know that the Kaurna translation of Kurangga is blue gum place?

photo-icon Glover Children's Playground, State Library of South Australia, B 4592, circa 1927
photo-icon Glover Children's Playground, State Library of South Australia, HP0454B, circa 1918
photo-icon Glover Children's Playground, State Library of South Australia, HP0454C, circa 1918
photo-icon Glover Children's Playground South Terrace Adelaide [hand coloured plan print], City of Adelaide Archives, 4785ITEM0027, circa 1921
photo-icon Charles Richmond John Glover

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. The Kaurna language was last spoken on a daily basis in the 1860s, but it has been revived in recent times. While the original eucalyptus trees in this park were cut down for fire wood, blue gums have been planted here and in other parks in the Adelaide Park Lands.

Today this park is known as the home of the Glover Playground South Terrace. It was the first playground opened in the City of Adelaide. It's hard to believe that playgrounds did not exist in the early 1900s when the concept of playgrounds was unfamiliar. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, cities grew rapidly and often living and working environments were unattractive areas, with nowhere for children to play. The playgrounds in the Park Lands responded to this need.

The playground concept was introduced to South Australia through a group of people influenced by social reform, the Garden City movement and town planning. Adelaide's Mayor Charles R J Glover (1870-1936), later Lord Mayor, was passionate about the need for playgrounds, in 1918, he decided that funds which had been set aside for the Mayor's annual ball, which was considered inappropriate in a time of war, would be better used to 'promote the happiness and well-being of the children of the city'. The funds were used for this playground.

The playground shelter shed accommodated a supervisor to watch over the children at plat. The success of this playground let to imitations around Australia. Glover himself funded two further playgrounds, on East Terrace and Lefevre Terrace in North Adelaide. All are named after him.

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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