Bowden portraits

with 3 Comments

These are a couple more  Bowden portraits  that  supplement  the ones currently  in  the  Bowden portfolio on my  website. I didn’t do many formal portraits.

As I mentioned in the Preface I worked part time at Conroys Smallgoods  in Bowden to buy the  camera equipment to photograph Bowden.  I recall making  several portraits in the factory after we  had finished  working on Saturday morning.

Joe, Conroys Smallgoods
Joe, Conroys Smallgoods, Bowden 

Joe was the production foreman. He lived  in the Salisbury/Elizabeth area of the northern suburbs of Adelaide. He worked  long hours in the factory. It was a tough hard job.

I recall that I did a number of portraits at the Gibson Street studio of Bowden residents and the members of the Bowden Brompton Community Centre, which was formed in 1971.  This Centre  evolved from community action to encourage community growth, to provide community services and  to address housing issues.   The Bowden Brompton Community Group, which  was  first established in 1976, was very active in the 1980s fighting the issues of pollution, housing demolition, and the preservation of  the residential community.

unknown, Bowden resident
Irene Leighton, Bowden resident + community activist

I recall that the housing issues were very pressing as the old housing stock was demolished to make way for industrial development.  Bowden was seen as a space for industry and not a place for people.  Even though the suburb  was adjacent to the open spaces of the Adelaide parklands its developmental trajectory was industry expansion so that Bowden became an industrial park.

The old Hindmarsh Council on Port Rd viewed the expansion of industry as more working class jobs and it was indifferent to the greening  of a neglected and rundown part of metropolitan Adelaide. What ensued during the late 1970s and 1980s  was a sustained struggle on the part of local residents and community development workers to fight the lack of adequate local housing, use of industrial land,traffic flow and the ongoing planing process of state and local governments. The MATS plan was sucesfully resisted and subsequently the demolition of the area by industry, the Hindmarsh Council and the Highways Department was successfully resisted by local community groups.

The  battle between residents and industry  was constant during the 1980s.  It wasn’t until the closure of the gasworks that dominated Brompton in 2000,  and Clipsal Industries’ relocation from Bowden in 2009 that urban renewal started to take place.


3 Responses

  1. publicartresearch
    | Reply

    Thanks Gary, the latter image is of Irene Leighton, well known to many in the neighbourhood and active for many years in organisations such as the Hindmarsh Housing Co-op, Hindmarsh Residents Assoc, Bowden Brompton Community Legal Service, Community Centre etc. (see for example, cheers Ruth

  2. Gary
    | Reply

    Oh, thanks Ruth. I remember now. Much appreciated. That’s a very interesting weblog you have there at Public Art Research. I will certainly work my way through your links.

  3. Gary
    | Reply

    From memory I used a Mamiya C330 camera with a 180 mm (f/4.5 lens) using the olive tree as a backdrop for Irene’s portrait. I eventually exchanged the Mamiya for a Mamiya RB67, which was used for the portraits in Conroys, and a Rolleiflex TLR. I found the latter camera to be a better walk around street camera, and so more suitable for my strolling in the suburb.

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