Who founded Adelaide?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/08/2019

Reading time: 2 mins

Immerse yourself in the charming city of Adelaide, home to vast valleys, unique shops, and stunning scenery to go with it.

The bustling region promises exceptional attractions both in and out of the central hub, giving you a taste of the city life and the natural wonders of Australia. But how did this city start?

Aboriginal Time

The first human inhabitants of Adelaide was the local aboriginal community, the Kaurna tribe. Their land spread from Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains, naming the land ‘Tarntanya’, translating to red kangaroo place. The area was one a simple, open grassy plain with patches of trees and shrubs throughout.

European Invasion

The Kaura community was forever altered at the arrival of Europeans in the 1830s when the British drew up plans to settle the area. With this new settlement, the planners stated the community would be free of convicts, with only free folk inhabiting the area. In 1836, William Light, the surveyor general selected the area for the capital of the new colony. In 1838, the first governor, Captain John Hindmarsh landed in the area to start the new colony was who landed on 28 December 1838. They used the name Adelaide to honour the wife of King George IV. Sadly, for the Kaurna community, their culture and language were nearly destroyed within the first few decades of the European settlement. However, extensive documentation by early missionaries and other researchers has enabled a modern revival of both language and culture.

It’s growth

Adelaide started to grow from the very beginning, with mostly British and Irish settlers and eventually German immigrants joining the community. It was the very first city in Australia to be incorporated in 1840. Having a population of 2,000 in a mere few years of settling, in due course this was to grow even more and become a whopping 14,000 in 1850. The first mayor of the city was James Hurtle Fisher. The city is now responsible for many ground-breaking establishments for the entire country, including prohibiting sexual and racial discrimination, capital punishment, as well as recognising traditional Aboriginal land rights.

Related article: Interesting facts you might not know about Adelaide

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.