Little Para River

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Little Para
Little Para River.JPG
Little Para River, Carisbrooke Reserve, Salisbury Park
Name origin: Kaurna language: Pari, meaning "a stream of flowing water"
Country Australia
State South Australia
Region Mid North
Source Mount Lofty Range
 - location near Lower Hermitage
 - elevation 284 m (932 ft)
Mouth Gulf St Vincent
 - location Globe Derby Park
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 34°46′S 138°36′E / 34.767°S 138.600°E / -34.767; 138.600Coordinates: 34°46′S 138°36′E / 34.767°S 138.600°E / -34.767; 138.600
Length 29 km (18 mi)
 - average 3,590 m3/s (126,780 cu ft/s)
Reservoir Little Para Reservoir
Little Para River is located in South Australia
Little Para River
Location of the river mouth in South Australia

The Little Para River is a seasonal creek running across the Adelaide Plains in the Australian state of South Australia, whose catchment fills reservoirs that supply some of the water needs of Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Course and features[edit]

It runs from its source near Lower Hermitage in the Mount Lofty Ranges, flows north westerly to the Little Para Reservoir and then westerly to the Barker Inlet of the Gulf St Vincent at Globe Derby Park. The lower portion of the river is badly affected by human activity and stormwater runoff but the upper reaches have a good range of biodiversity.[2] The river descends 279 metres (915 ft) over its 29-kilometre (18 mi) course.[1]

As the river flows down from the Adelaide Hills over the Para fault escarpment, it has formed a large alluvial fan on which Salisbury is built. The river is narrow and winding, formerly flooded in heavy rain and rarely reaches its sea outlet. Over time the river has been widened and levees added to reduce this flooding.[3]:241 In the 19th century lack of consistent flow in the river and the absence of an organised water supply system led to the digging of wells. The Little Para refreshes the well's water, mostly held in clay, sand and gravel layers up to 61 metres (200 ft) deep. The Little Para Reservoir is built in the path of the river for water storage and flood mitigation. As the river's catchment is insufficient to fill the reservoir, it is mainly used to store water pumped from the River Murray. Periodically water is released from the reservoir into the river, enabling refreshing of ground water.[3]:248–249


The river’s name is based directly on the Kaurna word pari which means river.[4] The "little" descriptor is to distinguish it from the North Para and South Para rivers which converge into the Gawler River approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) to the north.


In 1838 John Barton Hack shared with Colonel George Gawler and a Mr. Williams in a 1,600-hectare (4,000-acre) "Special Survey" nearby at £1 per acre. Hack established a dairy there and transported butter south to the city.[5]

The river attracted John Harvey to form his settlement at Salisbury in 1847 and was crucial to the development of the citrus industry from 1852. In the 1960s the City of Salisbury began acquiring land for public space, and a belt of parklands with biking and walking trails now borders the river.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Map of Little Para River, SA". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Goonan, Peter; Madden, Chris; McEvoy, Paul; Taylor, Daria (2003). "River Health in the Mount Lofty Ranges". Department of Environment and Heritage, Government of South Australia. ISBN 0-642-54981-8. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  3. ^ a b Lewis, H. John (1980). Salisbury South Australia, a history of town and district. Hawthorndene, South Australia: Investigator Press. ISBN 0-85864-049-X. 
  4. ^ Manning, George (1990), "Place Names of South Australia: Para", Manning Index of South Australian History, State Library of South Australia, retrieved 31 May 2017 
  5. ^ A Chequered Career - Reminiscences of a Pioneer II. South Australian Register. 23 April 1884. p. 6. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Little Para Trails". City of Salisbury, South Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2006. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Boucaut, W. R. P.; Beal, J.C. (1984). Engineering geology of Little Para Dam. Adelaide: Dept. of Mines and Energy, Geological Survey of South Australia. ISBN 0-7243-6477-3.