Rymill Park Lake reopens today

The Rymill Park Lake is reopening after a $6 million upgrade that makes it more environmentally friendly and cost-effective for the Adelaide City Council. 

Apr 16, 2024, updated Apr 16, 2024
Rymill Park lake upgrades are almost complete and accessible to the public today. Photo: Helen Karakulak/InDaily.

Rymill Park lake upgrades are almost complete and accessible to the public today. Photo: Helen Karakulak/InDaily.

The lake underwent major works to transform it into an environmentally sustainable water feature. 

Final turf-laying and landscaping works are being carried out this week but major fences obstructing the view of the lake have been removed.

The upgrades were completed in time for the Adelaide Equestrian Festival, which will use the lake for its final trials this Saturday to choose the Australian team for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Adelaide Equestrian Festival chair Greg Rolton said the lake forms a critical part of their cross-country course, with the water jump a “true spectacle”. 

The bitumen path is a temporary measure for the horse jumps and will be replaced with concrete as part of the final landscaping.

Work began in August last year and included installing a new pipeline that connects the Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi wetlands to the Rymill Lake as its main water supply. 

Large, underground tanks within Rymill Park store the harvested stormwater from the wetlands which is then cleaned through a natural filtration system using aquatic plants, sand and soil. 

Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith said the new system would reduce ongoing maintenance costs, with an annual $15,000 bill to fill the artificial lake. 

The council previously spent $160,000 a year to top up the site, which experienced leaks and algae outbreaks. A new concrete basin has been installed, along with retaining walls, walking paths and a rain garden. 

Final landscaping is still in the works, and on track to be finished within the week. Photo: Helen Karakulak/InDaily.

Lomax-Smith said the upgrade was “long overdue” and fencing removal meant the 65-year-old lake was able to be used again. 

“Rymill Park is one of our city’s most popular outdoor destinations, and a big part of its appeal is the artificial lake,” she said. 

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Rymill Park is home to the Adelaide Fringe’s Gluttony and the Harvest Rock festival, both of which occurred while the lake was closed for upgrades. 

Lomax-Smith said civil construction company CATCON faced challenges working while major events were on, as well as heavy rainfall during the months of restoration, but the upgrade was completed on time and on budget.

The lake upgrade received $2.4 million in funding from the state government’s planning and development fund’s Open Space Grant. 

Planning Minister Nick Champion said the Rymill Lake revitalisation “is a great result for the community”. 

“A significant amount of work has gone into reshaping Rymill Lake and connecting it to a new sustainable water source,” he said.

“The project supported local jobs and the end result is an improved community space with better infrastructure and amenities.” 

In the lake’s near future, rowboats will again be available for hire from the new Rymill Park kiosk, to be run by the team behind Hindley St venue Peter Rabbit. 

Approval for the Peter Rabbit team to take over the kiosk for a 21-year lease passed the council last month, and will now need to be approved by state parliament. 

Speaking to CityMag in March, James McIntyre said it will depend on how long it takes to pass parliament, but ideally, they’d love to start foundation works when the weather dries up, aiming to be on site by September/October 2024. 

McIntyre said the kiosk will have hints of a “mid-century feel” that pays homage to the early 60s when the lake was first put in, with “beautiful, crazy paving” around it. 

The team hoped to open as early as Fringe 2025, to integrate with Gluttony, the foodie Fringe hub that takes over the park month starting in February. 

Speaking of working with Gluttony during the fringe, McIntyre said they’ll “have a bit of fun coming up with some cool concepts that we can do in the lake”.

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