Port Adelaide estuary

A talk with  a publisher about the material in the Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia becoming a book, it  was suggested that the proposed book would work  best as a book if it were  cut down to The Bowden Archives. The non-Bowden material will go to the Adelaide book, which has been on the back burner. The focus on Bowden tightens the manuscript,  which was starting to become unwieldy, and the simplification   makes the focus of The Bowden Archives more centred around history and place. I have spent the last week going through the 35mm negatives  of Bowden, and scanning the  best of them.

An example of the pictures in the initial  historical section  of the Adelaide book would be these two pictures of the Port River estuary in this post. The first picture of the mangroves are a reminder  that Port Adelaide  in the early 19th century was once basically a mangrove swamp and marsh surrounding the Port River.   Tides and drainage would continue to be major issues for residents until the first half of the 20th century.

mangroves, Port Adelaide

mangroves, Port Adelaide

The embankments along the river formed a basin within which the early residents worked and lived, but not without some fear. While the embankment kept the River at bay most of the time, the banks could be breached by a high tide. The basin shape meant that any water, even rain, pooled in the town with no drainage outlets.

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Cottages, Port Adelaide

The working class cottages  are an  interesting historical aspect of Port Adelaide was the working class cottages. They helped to both give  the Port its working class character,  and  to open a space where one is able to  see an  architectural history that reached backed to the early 20th century, if not the second part of the 19th century. The latter period was when the facilities of the Port were used to export and import supplies for colonial South Australia’s main industries–wheat, wool and mining.

cottage, Port Adelaide

cottage, Port Adelaide

Due to the lack of re-development Port Adelaide was  an historic precinct with  an impressive range of commercial and institutional buildings.   Many  of these have survived, resulting in Port Adelaide having one of the best concentrations of colonial buildings in South Australia. Continue reading

Bowden graffiti

The graffiti around the  streets of Bowden in the 1980s was done prior to the tagging and the boom in  street art in New York  in the 1970s-1980s and prior to many councils encouraging street art in the city by designating walls or areas exclusively for use by graffiti artists.

The Bowden  graffiti was text based,  not visually conceptual as in the work of Keith Haring who  painted wall murals  in Collingwood, Melbourne in the mid-1980s.

No Worries

No Worries

There was no street art scene nor any sense of artists challenging art by situating it in non-art contexts. It was more an expression  of the creative  impulse to put the writing on the wall  that set itself apart from the visual clutter of advertising; a form of expression  that has its roots in Arthur Stace chalking out his one-word message “Eternity” half a million times in Sydney between 1932 and 1967.

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