SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
August 3, 2022

Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park’s long-awaited glow-up

The City of Adelaide and State Government have jointly allocated $3.1 million to getting an eastern pocket of the park lands gig-ready for summer – laying extensive electrical, hydraulic and water systems for events companies to plug in and play with ease.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  • Words and pictures: Angela Skujins
  • Main image (L-R): City of Adelaide project managers Tom McCready and James Finnis

Over the sound of screeching saws and the smell of dirt, past the never-ending Bianco Hire fencing and mountains of mud, there’s a facelift underway in the Adelaide Park Lands. And like Botox done well, by the end you’ll barely be able to tell any work has occurred.

“What’s really interesting about this is most of the infrastructure you won’t see. It’ll be under the ground,” project manager Tom McCready of the Adelaide City Council tells CityMag from within the fenced-off Murlawirrapurka Rymill Mark, in the city’s east.

“And you know what, within the Park Lands that’s quite good because the reality is it’s less intrusive.”

We’re wearing an orange high-vis vest and enclosed shoes because CityMag is on a guided tour into the heart of the event infrastructure upgrade.

Walking with a small consortium of Gridlock Electrical contractors and City of Adelaide officials, we’re shepherded to the northern side of the park, where outdoor Adelaide Fringe venue Gluttony is usually set up during festival season.

There are excavated holes in the ground before us. But these aren’t ordinary holes, says Tom. These “pits” will soon be filled with cables and wires connected to transformers, supplied by SA Power Networks, with the aim to provide an electrical outlet for events companies to plug gear into, essentially removing the need for generators and bringing costs down.

Gluttony lighting up Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park. This picture: Helen Page


Formally known as the Rymill Park Event Infrastructure Upgrade, the remit for the four-month construction project encompasses more than just new electricity outlets.

The State Government and City of Adelaide have pumped $3.1 million into making the park more amenable for large-scale events. This means creating holding tanks for sewerage, and a pipeline for Glenelg-to-Adelaide recycled water for all non-drinking needs.

Tom says this has been a long-time discussion, and getting it over the line from the perspective of the City of Adelaide has been a positive development. This is despite the State Government only allocating $1.2 million for the works.

“For us, we see the benefit because the reality is that it will reduce remediation costs, speed up events’ set up and take down, and naturally [have] less impact on the park lands,” he says.

Tom stresses, however, the final product does not ameliorate event organisers’ responsibility to remediate the park lands after use. “That’s built into the leasing agreement,” he explains.

“But effectively, what it will do is less impact first and foremost, so less impact on the ground because less generators coming in or less bulky goods to support that in regards to sewerage, or potable water.”

It doesn’t look like much, but this hole in the ground will make it easier for events organisations to use Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park


The site and operational service fees for the Adelaide Park Lands change depending on the park, as do remediation levies. Though the Adelaide City Council is currently waiving its fees, to counteract COVID-19 hardship in the events industry, Tom says.

Tom could not reveal when this generosity would dry up. He says the council wants to ensure those hiring out any of the 29 parks in the Adelaide Park Lands has the “best opportunity” to run a successful event in this coronavirus climate.

“There’s always a risk in regards to another outbreak or restrictions coming back into place,” he says.

“So from our perspective, we just want to support them through and the council will monitor that and see what the impact is.”

Events that will immediately benefit from the upgrade include the rebooted Adelaide 500, slated for December this year, followed by the Adelaide Fringe in February—March.

Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park is expected to be open to the public by the end of the year.

Share —