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Colonel William Light, the founder of Adelaide, chose the site for Gawler at the confluence of the North and South Para rivers in 1837. His aim was to ensure the new settlement's success by positioning it on the main route north of Adelaide.
Gawler's boom years were the 1870's and 80's, and heritage from this era remains. Local stone was used to build many of the public buildings; visitors may see this fine heritage architecture by driving Gawler's Tourist Drive No.10 (mansions and churches) or walking the Historic Church Hill & Main Street walking tours. Gawler also has some lovely parks and gardens, perfect for taking a break. Clonlea Reserve has tennis facilities and barbecues, whilst the gorges in Dead Man Pass Reserve make for a beautiful walk.