For those who don’t know, I live in Adelaide, South Australia. My home city tends to cop a lot of flack from the rest of the country, particularly from our neighbours in the Eastern states. We are known as the city of churches, the city of serial killers, the big country town, and generally a place where nothing happens. Some of these views are a little dated (and some just plain inaccurate) but they persist. There’s a pattern of young people leaving Adelaide for the Eastern states, so we also contain the fastest aging population of the country. And yet, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.* I love this city.
There is a lot of Australia I’ve never seen. I’ve never been to the Northern Territory, Western Australia or the Australian Capital Territory, so I can’t speak for their culture or scenery. Melbourne is quite nice, but never really grabbed me. There’s a lot of weird half-finished projects just hanging around (giant ferris wheel, anyone?) that reek of poor planning by state governments (I am aware of the irony of this statement when we haven’t had the best track record either. Thanks, Southern Expressway). I absolutely love Sydney, and at one stage wanted to live there, but if I did I would be afraid to drive around the city (the taxi trips were freaking me out enough with the crazy traffic), and although there was a great feeling to the place, it’s more of just a holiday destination for me. Brisbane is… well… in my view, a concrete jungle. Apologies, Queenslanders, but the grey tint really didn’t do much for my soul. Also, I hate the humidity, so was always going to be biased against Queensland.
So why do I love Adelaide so much?
There are many reasons. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some when making this list, but some of the reasons are:
- Everything is nearby. It’s less than an hour if you want a weekend at a winery, or the beach, or a nice scenic drive in the hills, or at a National Park.
- You’re never really alone in Adelaide. No matter what random event you go to, you invariably will run into someone you know, or a friend of a friend (this can sometimes be a curse, too).
- February and March are my favourite months, because it’s festival time.
- ‘Peak hour traffic’ doesn’t really exist. Yes, it’s busier on the roads at certain times of the day, but we really don’t get the gridlock that the Eastern states get. We’re very lucky.
- The city is a one mile squared grid. You really can’t get lost in it (although we do try and get people lost by changing the names of main roads halfway down).
- The city parklands feed my soul!!! This is my main reason for loving Adelaide so much. The city is green, it makes the place feel alive, and escaping from the office is so easy when a walk takes you somewhere beautiful.
But, lately, I am not seeing the beauty of Adelaide so much. Why? Because we have so much damn construction going on in the city, I’ve got that concrete jungle feeling happening. Don’t get me wrong, I think city development is a good thing and I don’t mean to dissuade that, but did we have to have so much going on at the one time? When it was just a couple of things, I wasn’t so miserable, but now no matter where I try and go at lunch all I’m seeing is the reflective vests of construction workers. At least the new Rundle Place has finished being built. That’s one thing down. Although there’s still some workmen hanging around Grenfell Street, so I don’t know what that’s about.
Construction is currently underway on:
- Adelaide Oval (this has been going on since the Second Age [spot the Lord of the Rings reference], and is due to be finished this summer. Freaking YAY!)
- Our new hospital
- The new footbridge from the Convention Centre across the Torrens River to Adelaide Oval (almost done!)
- The Myer Centre
- The Rundle Mall Redevelopment (only started recently, gonna be a mess for a while yet).
In just another week or so, the Victoria Square redevelopment also commences. I am honest when I say I have no problem with development in the CBD (some of it needed a facelift badly) but why so much at one time? I really just want to enjoy my city’s parklands and beauty again without the drone of jackhammers, the colourful speech of a babillion construction workers, and with less fluoro being worn. PLEASE can we have a rest soon, Adelaide City Council?
* Not actually ruling out living anywhere else as you never know what life will bring, but not planning to right now. Unless I win the Lotto. Then I’m totally hoofing it overseas.