Find out more about Adelaide’s Garden Suburb – a short history
This unique Adelaide suburb lies just over 6 kilometres south of the CBD.
“In June, 1915 the Vaughan Labour Government purchased the property ‘Grange Farm’ from the trustees of the estate of William Tennant Mortlock. The farm occupied 121.4 hectares and the Government intended to establish the site as a ‘model garden suburb’.
The Government’s decision followed the impact of Charles Reade’s lectures during his 1914 Australasian Town Planning Tour. He was sponsored by the British Garden Cities and Town Planning Association and was considered an expert by his colleagues in the field of town planning.
Reade promoted the internationally popular model suburb schemes in public lectures enhanced by lantern slides, newspaper releases and in an official report ‘Recommendations in Regard to Town Planning in South Australia’. His planning principles were guided by the garden city movement which aimed to improve the lifestyle and residential environment of all classes of people. Colonel Light gardens clearly reflects those principles in its design.” (Colonel Light Gardens Walk brochure, Colonel Light gardens Historical Society Inc 2001)
Plans for the suburb were delayed when the site was developed as the Mitcham Training Camp during WW1 right up to 1920. During this time Reade was appointed South Australia’s first town planner and he drew up detailed plans for Colonel Light Gardens, incorporating the principles of garden suburb design, parks, playgrounds, separation of residential, business, manufacturing and retail, each in their own zoned area.
The suburb has a tiered system of roads with narrow residential roads feeding into wider secondary roads which in turn feed into the major roads surrounding the suburb. Tree lined streets with similar species of trees for a particular street, coupled with predominantly California styled bungalows each on its own separate block enhance the visual amenity.
The State Bank introduced the ‘Thousand Homes Scheme’, 695 homes being constructed in the southern part of the suburb and in a section of land on the western side of Goodwood Road. The remaining 305 homes being built predominantly in the western suburbs of Adelaide. There were 14 designs and no two identical houses could be built next to one another.
The governance of the suburb was unique. Instead of the suburb coming under the control of the local Council, a Garden Suburb Commissioner was appointed to govern and administer the suburb. This control continued until 1975 when the suburb was placed under the control of the City of Mitcham.
In October 1999 the suburb was listed on the Register of the National Estate and the whole suburb was placed on the State Heritage List in 2000.