As Adelaide was in the process of becoming a post-industrial city haunted by the decline of its manufacturing industry and growing working-class disaffection its only genuine gathering place–or piazza— for people was the beach side suburb of Glenelg. It was a place where people accepted their differences to enjoy their leisure with picnics, bathing and walking in the sun.
The tram route from Victoria Square to Moseley Square in Glenelg was all that remained of Adelaide’s tramways network. This had been pulled up to make way for the motorcar. The tram was basically for tourists. During the summer the tram was packed with people going to and from the beach for a day’s outing. I would often catch it to Glenelg in the afternoon to hang out on the piazza with my cameras.
The pizza area of Glenelg was one of the few spaces that was protected from the car and traffic. During the summer months it had an easy playfulness and festivity; an unstructured, carnivalesque atmosphere that was more spontaneous than the Mad March Adelaide Festival and Fringe time in the CBD. Situations occurred here if you like, as different parts of the fragmented city came together in this square and something spontaneously emerged.
The industrial city was fragmenting as the outer suburbs kept on expanding–exploding the nineteenth century city. The Glenelg piazza was a space where people could escape from the routine and boredom of work in the city; a space that allowed the expression of an exuberance for life. Their play was an as an interruption of, or a break from, the ordinary world of serious daily obligations.