Victoria Square is in the centre of Adelaide’s one square mile grid and was part of Colonel William Light’s blueprint for the new City of Adelaide in the mid 1830s.
While the square has a number of interesting statues, a fountain and some of Adelaide’s grandest buildings – including the General Post Office, Courts of three levels, the (former) Treasury and the Cathedral Church of St Francis Xavier – surrounding it, I have never been able to warm to it, as I do to squares and small parks in other towns and cities. Far from being able to relax here, I get restless and want to move on. It’s too planned for my liking.
As such I recommend it as a place to visit to see other things rather than an attraction in itself or a place to linger.
In an attempt to make it more palatable as an attraction in itself it has, over the years, gone through a number of refurbishments – most recently in 2013 when things (the Three Rivers Fountain and the Statue of Queen Victoria) were moved around a bit, new grass/paving laid, a new road constructed through the centre, etc. Despite these works, it remains a busy traffic intersection (and a stop for the Glenelg tram – this is a positive, actually) and it still lacks sufficient shade – until newly planted trees grow – ambience and warmth (of the non heat variety). On a positive note, following the 2013 refurbishment, it does have a nice suite of toilets and undesirable drunks that used to congregate here have been moved on making it feel much safer.
The square has be laid out in such a way that it can accommodate, and it does accommodate, large cultural events (such New Years eve celebrations) and public meetings.
It actually has two official names, Victoria Square and Tarndanyangga.
It was named Victoria Square on 23 May 1837 (a year after the proclamation of the Colony of South Australia) after Princess Victoria, then heir presumptive to the British throne. Victoria became Queen less than a month later.
Prior to European settlement the area was known as Tarndanyangga (“The Dreaming Place of the Red Kangaroo”) and the square, then a dusty, treeless paddock, was a central meeting place used by the local Kaurna Aboriginal people. In recognition of this, from 2002 the square was formally granted its second official name, Tarndanyangga, by the City Council.
On 12 July 1971, the red, black and yellow Aboriginal flag was flown for the first time – in Victoria Square – in support of land rights for Aboriginal people. Since 2002 it has flown permanently alongside the Australian flag in the centre of the Square.
My photos attached attempt to depict the square as a whole. I have written separate reviews on the statues and the fountain within the square and on some of the buildings around the square.