Another archival image from the incompleted Port Adelaide project.
The image of an edgeland is looking across an urbanscape that was routinely dismissed as swampland to the Adelaide hills from the Grand Trunkway. This runs to Garden Island and the Torrens Power Station. This edgeland at Gillman was earmarked for a high tech industrial expansion around Port Adelaide that never really happened.
The degraded urban environment at Gilman was the chosen site for the proposed Multi Function Polis (MFP)—a Japanese proposal for a futuristic high tech city—in the 1980s. Australia at the time had an inward looking and inefficient manufacturing sector, an over reliance on an uncertain commodity market and was seeking international investment to help modernise its economy.
From an international perspective the MFP has failed to provide the base of high tech research, manufacturing and cultural exchange initially envisaged. Neither private firms nor central government invested on a scale to change Adelaide’s role in the urban hierarchy of Australia, or the broader Pacific economy.
So ended the possibility in the 20th century of establishing a high technology manufacturing base for South Australia, and probably Australia. In the meantime, Australia, with its neo-liberal embrace of small state and free markets has managed virtually to wipe out its dated manufacturing sector rather than modernise it.