At the time of European settlement, the area that is now Adelaide was occupied by the Kaurna people; their territory extended south towards Cape Jervis and north towards Port Wakefield, and they had close ties with the Narungga of Yorke Peninsula.
The colony of South Australian was formed by the passing of the South Australian Colonization Act in 1834. The next year a Board of Commissioners was appointed to oversee the development of the new colony.
In January of 1836 the South Australia Company was formed, with the first migrants to South Australia landing at Kangaroo Island on 20 July. South Australia was proclaimed a Province on 28 December. At the end of its first year the colony's estimated population was 546 persons.
South Australia is unusual in that it was settled by free people - the state has no convict history. It was also unusual in that the British Government gave the colony no financial backing, so when things finally took off in South Australia, most of the money stayed in the state. The colony promised settlers civil and religious liberty.
The precise position of the State's capital was fixed on the last day of 1836 by the colony's far-sighted Surveyor-General, Colonel William Light. The site was well-drained, had fertile soil and straddled the Torrens River, which guaranteed a ready water supply. The site was named after Queen Adelaide, wife of the British King William IV.
Adelaide sits on the eastern shore of Gulf St Vincent, in the far south of South Australia. The streets of Adelaide's central business district follow a grid pattern, which makes it very easy for visitors to find their way around. Victoria Square sits in the centre of the grid, and the main street, King William, runs through it.
Light's vision of Adelaide created its remarkable design. The city has a superb setting - the centre is surrounded by green parkland, and the metropolitan area is bound by the hills of the Mt Lofty Ranges and the waters of the Gulf St Vincent. Nearby is the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions.
For more information on South Australian history see the Atlas of South Australia 1986.