I have often thought about walking along Adelaide's South Rd in the late afternoon taking photos of this urban stretch. I drive along this road every time I go to and from Adelaide to Encounter Bay. It looks interesting with all the different signs, architecture and colours. It's all mixed up, chaotic jumble.
However, South Rd is Adelaide's main north south corridor and at peak hour it is jammed with cars in the late afternoon. It is noisey and full of fumes, and so I have backed off walking along it. Breathing all those fumes would not be good for one's health. Still, I find photographing South Rd in the late afternoon winter light intriguing.
I tried an experiment recently: --taking photos through a car window. The opportunity arose when we were returning from Blinman after being on a camel trek from Blinman to Lake Frome, as I was sitting in the back seat and Suzanne was driving towards the Southern Expressway.
This photo comes from when wandered in Rundle Mall in September, 2011.This was a time when I was still living in the CBD and so it easy for me to walk the city in Adelaide learning how we perceive the city, how we imagine it, how we experience it. The photos of shop windows below are very different to the drone's aerial view of Rundle Mall; an aerial view which has become pervasive in documentaries filmed outdoors.
I was being a flaneur wandering from shop window to shop window, drifting amongst the shoppers and office workers who were going about their business in a very determined and focused manner. I was just drifting through the shopping precinct looking for something to photograph; drifting not hunting. The photo is different from Google's Street view which unfolds on the screen under our fingers.
I was able to walk around Bowden making some photos when I was in Adelaide last week. I had several hours whilst I was waiting for Kayla to be clipped. I quickly realised that the Bowden/Brompton that I lived in during the 1980s has well and truely gone.
This old industrial /working class suburb is undergoing extensive urban renewal and redevelopment. The factories and cottages have all gone--replaced by apartments in Bowden and townhouses in Brompton.
I spend some time walking around the new redevelopment in Bowden--it is high density urban infill with a heritage precinct on the land of the old Brompton Gasworks. Bowden is envisioned as a vibrant, inner city destination.
The empty land opposite where I used to live in Gibson Street is now Emu Park whilst the Stobie poles have mosaics. The boundary in Gibson St has gone, as has the house where I had a studio. Conroys Small Goods is still there.
The response to the decline of automotive and manufacturing activity and employment in Adelaide has been redevelopment to ensure a transition to an information and knowledge based economy. Adelaide, as a middle ranking city in Australia, is lagging behind Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth in becoming a knowledge city. Adelaide struggles to develop the human capital (knowledge workers) to underpin the knowledge economy and the infrastructure to utilise that human capital to create economic value. Melbourne is probably the key city here.
One sign of the process of change in Adelaide to becoming a post-industrial city can be seen in the number of boutique hotels being built in the city.This is considered to be part of the 'revitalisation' index.
The large background building under construction is the Indigo Hotel in Market Street looking across Gouger St. The Indigo brand is owned by IHG hotelier, which is set to open in 2020. It is marketed as adding to, and participating in the vibrant atmosphere of the Central Market precinct.
Up until 2014-15 Suzanne and I lived in Sturt St a couple of blocks from the Adelaide Central Market in Adelaide's CBD. The Central Market was our shopping centre and we would do the weekly shop early on a Saturday morning around 7am after we had walked with the poodles (seen as significant others). We would walk down to the market precinct with a shopping trolley, have a coffee at Cibo's in Gouger St, do the shopping, then walk back to the town house, unpack the shopping, then have breakfast. We would be back home around 8.30-9 am.
We walked to most places in the CBD (GP's, gym, hairdresser, gallery openings, etc ). This convenience was one of the attractions of inner city living. I understood walking to be a counter to the car's domination of the city with its traffic noise and fumes, congestion, the urban grime and the heat during the summer. Our car would sit in the garage during the week, as it was mostly used for travelling to places outside the inner city, or to go to Victor Harbor on the weekends. Now, at Victor Harbor, we have 2 cars and we have to travel in the car to several shops to do the weekly shopping.
During the last few days I have been going through the archives looking for material for the forthcoming online Walking/Photography exhibition at Encounters Gallery. Whilst doing so I came across some photos of street art in Adelaide, South Australia that I had made around 2011 whilst I was walking the city.
I was living in the city at the time and my daily walks with the poodles would be around the CBD and the parklands. These walks would be meanderings--to do with exploration, a way of accommodating myself, of feeling at home. It was a way I got to know the city. Walking into dead ends, or reluctantly retracing my steps, didn't matter to me because this was part of the process of exploration.
The skyline of 1970s modernist Adelaide from the top floor of the Wakefield St car park. We are looking west towards Victoria Square.
Little has changed in this part of Adelaide since I left living in Sturt St in 2014 to move to Encounter Bay on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. The only change is the hotel on Whitmore Square-- the dark building in the left background.
Summer in the CBD is very hot due to the way surfaces like asphalt trap heat even as cars and buildings exude it. When a city is markedly warmer than its surrounding rural areas, it is called an urban heat island. Adelaide is one of the worst in Australia and it can be stressful, if not dangerous, to be outside during a heatwave with 40+ degrees temperatures. With climate heating, the impact of higher temperatures will become more evident in the CBD.
One result from walking with the poodles around Adelaide's CBD is that my 'walking Adelaide' usually involves wandering down the various laneways and the back alleys as well as into the various carparks. In doing so I occasionally stumble across an interesting image, or even two, in a few of these back alleys.
An example from January 2019:
Usually these signs/images are on the walls of an alt-Adelaide (the seedy underside of Adelaide), and they have been there for many a year. They are off the main pedestrian thoroughfares, and so they are been forgotten and unseen. So they slowly decay over time until there is a major urban development, which its usually a hotel, a block of student apartments or an office block.
Prior to mid twenthieth century modernism Adelaide was a planned city of red brick and sandstone within a self-contained rectilinear grid encircled by parks and green space, never to be built upon, with its discrete zoning of dwelling, work, transportation and recreation. It was Colin Hassell and John Morphett who rejected the established classical/gothic revival architectural order in early 20th century Adelaide.
The modernist ethos was to make a modern world, to sweep away the old and, out of chaos, build stability. Concrete was the stuff of dreams of a progressive, dynamic cosmopolitanism. Adelaide did not experience the modernist Brutalist style of building deployed to satisfy the urgent demand for cost-effective post-war housing on a mass scale that was frequently associated with socialist utopian ideals, and dreams of collective living.
One of the themes that I explored off and on when I was living in Adelaide's CBD was the modernist architecture from the 1960s and 1970s. These pictures are of the backs of those overlooked "form follows function" buildings along Pirie St which survived the mindless razing of so much of Adelaide's built heritage from the 1960s to 1980s:
Many of the modernist buildings that are gathered together in the Victoria Square precinct are of the 1970s butalist genre, such as the Department for Education's headquarters on Flinders Street and Wakefield House opposite St Francis Xavier's Cathedral. Whilst photographing these kind of buildings I realised the importance of light to architecture and how it can transform a building completely, both inside and out. This is especially the case with the roughly textured béton brut buildings.
When we lived in Adelaide's CBD in the first decade and half of the 21st century one of my favourite afternoon poodlewalks was in Adelaide's west parklands, especially Park 23 (G.S. Kingston Park or Wirrarninthi) with its sculpture trail plus the heritage listed West Terrace Cemetery. Wirraninthi used to be called Wirranendi, and over the years that I was living in the CBD I witnessed its extensive replanting with trees, shrubs, grasses and the ecological rehabilitation of the stormwater wetlands.
We--the two poodles and me-- would spend many an hour wandering around and exploring the cemetery in the late afternoon. It was safe territory. The poodles could explore the fenced grounds whilst I could take photos. I just had to keep an eye out for the cyclists riding through the grounds and for the occasional graveyard visitor. I usually went to the forgotten, rundown areas, which I found more to be more interesting than the newer, and more flashy Italian/Greek grave stones. I thought that the latter were excessive--over way the top.