The name of the City recognises the role that Sir Thomas Playford had in the development of the area. Sir Thomas Playford was State Premier between 1938-1965. During this time he was largely responsible for the industrialisation of South Australia.
Although the City of Playford was only formed in 1997 through the amalgamation, the City contains the history and culture of over one hundred and fifty years. Munno Para was established in 1853 and Elizabeth in 1955.
Prior to European settlement, around 1838, the area was inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna people. Economic development of the area occurred with the commencement of wheat farming and gold mining, and with this came the development of many of the major roads, hotels and smaller townships in the area. Migration to the area was strong in the 1950s and 60s, and this has contributed to the prominent horticultural activities in the Virginia and Angle Vale areas.
A housing development program was introduced in the 1950s to assist the State's economic development and deal with the subsequent housing shortage that was occurring. Along with the purchase of 3,000 acres of land, Elizabeth was carefully planned, built and launched to the people of South Australia. It became the first suburban area within the City of Playford and a city proudly carrying the vision of all who lived in the area. In more recent times, a large number of housing estates have also been developed and built.