In spite of the plethora of its colonial heritage buildings and cultural heritage Port Adelaide was not seen as a desirable place to live. By the 1980s Port Adelaide was among the most disadvantaged areas in Australia, with high unemployment and associated social problems. Gentrification was deemed to be the solution.
It wasn’t until the early years of the 21st century that plans were developed to revitalise or redevelop Port’s waterfront to accommodate new forms of high density urban housing (Newport Quays), to reimagine Port Adelaide as a cosmopolitan hub and to make it a heritage destination for tourists. This post industrial response was premised on the rejection of the working-class and the maritime culture associated with the Jenkins Street boatyards which had previously formed the basis for Port Adelaide’s identity.
I thought of Port Adelaide as a bigger version of Bowden. Like Bowden Port Adelaide was historically seen in a negative frame—undesirable, basic and rough—contrasting it with the middle class suburbs of Adelaide, which was viewed as being more refined and respectable. Both industrial suburbs were in decline.
I mostly explored the industrial areas of Osborne with medium and large format cameras. My interest at the time was the industrial landscape viewed from the topographical perspective of a human altered landscape. These edgelands have been further developed in the first two decades of the 21st century.