Some Facts about South Australia

Quick Facts

South Australia was colonised in 1836, and is the only free-settled state in Australia.

South Australia’s Faunal Emblem is the Hairy-Nosed Wombat.

South Australia’s Floral Emblem is the Sturt Desert Pea.

South Australia’s Gemstone is the opal.

South Australia’s oldest building is Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church, on North Terrace, which was built in 1838.

South Australia is home to the oldest mosque in the country, the Marree Mosque, which was built sometime between 1861 and 1882.

Adelaide is home to the oldest mosque still in use, the Central Adelaide Mosque, which was built in 1888. That’s three years earlier than the oldest mosque in the UK, and in fact before any mosques in Northern and Western Europe (other than Spain).

Adelaide’s Botanic Garden has the largest and oldest glasshouses in the Southern Hemisphere.

South Australia is the opal capital of the world.


South Australia is located in south-central Australia.

South Australia is the fourth-largest of the States and Territories.

South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory.

South Australia has an area of 984 377km2.

South Australia has 3700km of coastline.

South Australia has the bottom 650km of the River Murray, which is the only major river in the state.

(South Australia also follows the British tradition of naming rivers, putting “River” first, rather than the American one, which puts “River” second. In all other states and territories, it is known as the Murray River).

South Australia’s coastal waters are among the cleanest in the world.

South Australia’s largest permanent lake is Lake Alexandrina, which is 306km2.

South Australia’s lowest point is Lake Eyre, which is 12m below sea level.

(Lake Eyre is really a salt pan, which only fills with water occasionally. When it does, it is 9500km2, making it the largest lake in Australia and the 18th-largest in the world.)


SA1South Australia is the driest of the States and Territories.

South Australia averages 2500 hours of sunshine each year. (There are 8766 hours in a hear, 4383 of which are nighttime).

South Australia’s highest recorded temperature if 50.7°C.

Adelaide’s coldest recorded temperature is 0.2°C.

South Australia is divided in two by the Goyder’s Line – above which it doesn’t rain.


South Australia comprises almost 13% of the Australian land mass, but only a little over 7% of the total population.

South Australia has a total population of 1.7 million, with 1.3 million living in Adelaide.

77% of South Australians live in the Greater Adelaide Area.

South Australians have the second-highest median age of all States and Territories.


South Australia’s capital city is Adelaide.

Adelaide was designed in a grid pattern by Colonel William Light.

Adelaide is the only city in the world completely surrounded by parklands.

Adelaide has the closest and most accessible beaches of any Australian capital city.

Adelaide has the largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere, and the longest-running one in Australia.

Adelaide has the only Migration Museum in Australia.

Wine and Farming

South Australia has 13 wine regions.

South Australia produces 50% of Australian wines, and 65% of national wine exports.

South Australia has 48% of Australia’s vineyard area and 25% of the barley area.

South Australia is the fish-farming centre of Australia.

Adelaide is home to the National Wine Centre.

Art and Culture

South Australia is known as the “Festival State”, and Adelaide is considered to be the culture and arts capital of Australia.

Adelaide has Australia’s first purpose-built convention centre and its first modern multi-purpose performing arts venue.

Adelaide has the highest ratio of cafés and restaurants to residents of any Australian city.

Adelaide has the largest display of Aboriginal culture and artefacts in Australia, house in the South Australian Museum and Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.

Adelaide is home to the national food and wine festival, Tasting Australia.

Transport and  Motor Stuff

Adelaide’s O-Bahn is the longest guided busway in the world.

South Australia has the National Motor Museum, which has over 300 motor vehicles.

South Australia is home to the largest vintage car rally in the Southern Hemisphere, the Bay to Birdwood.

South Australia is home to the largest freshwater sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, the Milang to Goolwa.

German Stuff

South Australia has its own (quickly dying) German dialect, Barossadeutsch.

South Australia is home to Australia’s oldest German town, Hahndorf. (And it’s not in the Barossa!).

Adelaide is home to the first German-language diploma school in the Southern Hemisphere.

Big Stuff

The four-story-tall Big Orange at Berry in the Riverland is the fifth-largest Big Thing in Australia.

Larry the Lobster, in Kingston SE, is the second-largest Big Thing in Australia.

The 18+-metre-tall Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha (in the Adelaide Hills) is the largest Big Thing in Australia.

Other Stuff

South Australia has some of the strictest quarantine regulations in the world.

South Australia, along with Victoria, was the first place in the world to use the secret ballot, in 1856.

SANFL was the first Aussie Rules Football league in Australia, founded 14 days before Victoria’s league.

South Australia was the first state to allow nudist swimming.

South Australia is home to the most venomous snake in the world, the Inland Taipan.

South Australia is the only place in the world where a milk-based drink (Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee) outsells Coca-Cola – by almost three to one. It’s also one of only two places outside of Asia where the best-selling bottled beverage is not Coca-Cola (the other being Irn-Bru in Scotland).

South Australians drink around 36 million litres of Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee each year.

South Australia was the third place in the world, after Russia and the US, to launch a rocket into space. (On Britain’s behalf).


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