Step into a world of blooming beauty and historical wonder at Cornucopia: gardens and gardening in South Australia. Immerse yourself in South Australia's rich gardening heritage, where gardens are not just landscapes but living, breathing reflections of our past.
From First Nations peoples’ caretaking of the land to the charming gardens of the mid-20th century, Cornucopia invites you to explore different types of gardens, including suburban, country, school and market gardens.
Drawing from the State Library's extensive collections, see how South Australians transformed their gardens into more than just plots of greenery. They became havens for afternoon teas, scenic backdrops for photographs, playful playgrounds for children, serene sanctuaries for contemplation, and so much more.
Exhibition highlights include South Australia's first gardening and viticulture book from 1843 and a 1947 silent film by Hubert Wicks. The rarely seen footage features floral displays from Flower Day, the innocent play of children and the glories of spring in South Australia. Explore some of SA’s most magnificent gardens, and fascinating oral histories of market and community gardeners as they share their experiences and the evolution of gardening practices over time. And don’t miss everyone’s favourite, the iconic Hills Hoist – an ornament of many Aussie back gardens.
With an array of rarely displayed garden manuals, seed catalogues, diaries, records, photographs, maps, and even vintage toys, Cornucopia is a must for all garden lovers. As Marcus Tullius Cicero wisely said, "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
How do I get to the State Library by public transport?
The 'State Library, Art Gallery, Museum' tram-stop is just outside the State Library. There are bus stops close by near the War Memorial on North Terrace. The closest train station is the Adelaide city station on North Terrace.
You can plan your journey via Adelaide Metro.
Is there car parking near the State Library?
The nearest car park is Wilson's Adelaide Central car park, 225 North Terrace, next to David Jones.
There is paid metered street parking along Kintore Ave and Victoria Drive.
Where is the wheelchair and stroller access?
Access to the Spence Wing first floor and the Mortlock Chamber is via the lift in the glass foyer entrance of the library.
There is on-street disabled parking available in the nearby roads. View more information and maps of Adelaide City Council's Disability parking for permit holders.
How do I check if the Mortlock Chamber is open when I plan to visit?
The Mortlock Chamber may close for private events, check our opening hours for any closure times.
When it is open you can visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays. The upper levels of the Mortlock Wing include quiet study areas.
Is there a cafe at the State Library?
Yes, the State Library Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and Saturdays from 12 to 4pm.