The Narnungga Urban Forest was opened to the public in December 2012, reclaiming some 5.5 hectares of the Park Lands on the site of the former SA Water Depot in Thebarton (Park 25), near the corner of Port Road and Thebarton. Narnungga means “native pine place” in the Kaurna language.
Throughout the world, urban forests are regenerating parcels of land that are no longer used for things like industry or transport corridors. Sustainability is an important philosophical aspect of the urban forest. Narnungga was conceived as a demonstration site for sustainable management of public space, and to showcase water sensitive urban design (WSUD) concepts and techniques. As the former SA Water Thebarton Depot, some of the industrial heritage of the site, such as the original site entry gates, has been maintained for interpretive use to make connections between the past and future role of the land. Narnungga was designed to provide a strong link with nature, a transitional space for people to walk or cycle through on their daily commute or to visit as a special destination where they can commune with nature and experience an urban forest.
After the South Australian Government opened the park in 2012 it was handed over to the City of Adelaide to manage. Initiated in 2006, the Capital City Committee led the multi-agency team to design the urban forest project working with the South Australian Government and City of Adelaide, the Adelaide Park Lands Authority and other stakeholders to deliver this exciting initiative.