Bowden’s commercial architecture

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I photographed a lot of the  commercial architecture around  Bowden-Brompton. The photography  was before the rejuvenation of the area  started to reverse the continual decline in the population from  1947 to the 1980s,  due to the intrusion of new industries and warehousing from the city  of Adelaide sites. You could see traces  of  the industrial and commercial premises that had sustained the populous working class community that was close-knit, self-supporting between  1918 and  1945 and a sense that relatively little new housing was built after the First World War.

Most of the commercial architecture  was basic and utilitarian, designed for small businesses.  Artica, for instance,  was a furniture workshop in First Street near South Rd  in Brompton that made furniture to order.

Artica, Bowden
Artica, First St, Bowden

By the 1980s the decline  in population was counter to the increasing population of inner suburban areas in other capital citiesIt was only in the mid-1980s that planners started to think in terms of compact cities and to  revitalising existing cities. The Dunstan State government  realised  that in planning terms urban consolidation  made sense, that is it made sense  to  encourage people to live in the inner western suburban area of Adelaide  because of the lower costs and greater quality of service delivery.

There were a number of small  poultry factories scattered throughout Bowden Brompton. These  slowly  disappeared once the renewal of the suburb started,  even though mixed use was promoted  by residents to prevent gentrification. The  vision of the future as developed by the Hindmarsh Residents’ Association (HRA) and  the Bowden-based Permaculture Association of South Australia was  one where residents could live, work, shop, and interact through in character development that allowed for mixed use.

Glencan Poultry, East Street
Glencore Poultry, East Street, Bowden

It referred back  to the heritage of the successful balance of residence, community activity, commerce and industry which  had characterised Bowden Brompton and Hindmarsh  until  the 1920s.

The urban rejuvenation, premised on  housing replacing  the old factories, stood in opposition to the ongoing industry expansion exemplified  by  the  Clipsal Industries Holdings site in south Bowden.  This  was a large industrial site  for the locality. In terms of land use, the Clipsal site represented the largest discrete block not only in Bowden Brompton, but in the Hindmarsh Council area. During the 80s, Clipsal acquired from the Hindmarsh Council the public roads through Bowden south, and a large block of Gas Company land from Boral Energy.

Clipsal played a significant role in the fightback by local industries against Hindmarsh Resident Association campaigns, lobbying State Governments and the local Hindmarsh council. The latter was not on the same policy  page as the state government with respect to compact cities,  revitalising existing cities, and increasing the population in the inner western suburbs. The Hindmarsh Council supported the displacement and loss of housing opposed by the residents and it wasn’t even critical of plans (suggested in 1960) for large freeways to be routed through the Hindmarsh council area.

This was a Council  unsupportive of  the development of co-operative housing,  the  direct provision of  space, a city farm, a youth circus, community arts, community newspaper as well as community housing  for low income people and a community centre.

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