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  • Michael Waterhouse

Adelaide

is South Australia’s cosmopolitan capital. Its area around the River Torrens on North Terrace is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, which displays impressive collections including Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, which has more of a focus on natural history. The city’s Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts event with spin-offs including The Fringe and film events.


Adelaide is positioned on the Adelaide Plains north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, between the Gulf St Vincent in the west and the Mount Lofty Ranges in the east. Its metropolitan area extends 20 km from the coast to the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges, and stretches 96 km from Gawler in the north to Sellicks Beach in the south. Named in honour of Queen Adelaide, consort to King William IV, Adelaide was founded in 1836. The city was the planned capital for the only freely-settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide’s founding fathers, designed the city and decided that its location would be close to the River Torrens, in an area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people and known as Tarndanyangga (“place of the red kangaroo”). Light designed the city centre in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, entirely surrounded by parklands. Adelaide’s early years were shaped by the diversity and wealth of its free settlers, as opposed to the convict history of other Australian cities. As recently as the post-war era, it was Australia’s third-largest city. It is sometimes noted for its leading examples of religious freedom and progressive political reforms, and still to this day is sometimes referred to as the “City of Churches” due to the many religious buildings that can be found here. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, and its beautiful coastline and rolling hills. Adelaide’s quality of life has ranked consistently highly in various measures through the 21st century. Before its proclamation as a British settlement in 1836, the area around Adelaide was inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna people, one of many Aboriginal nations in South Australia. The city and parklands area was known as Tarntanya, or Tarndanyangga in the Kaurna language.The surrounding area was an open grassy plain with patches of trees and shrub which had been managed by hundreds of generations. Kaurna country encompassed the plains which stretched north and south of Tarntanya as well as the wooded foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The River Torrens was known as the Karrawirra Pari (red gum forest river). About 300 Kaurna populated the Adelaide area, and were referred to by the settlers as the Cowandilla. The Kaurna language was a complex one, reflecting their sophisticated culture and deep environmental knowledge. Within a few decades of European settlement of South Australia, Kaurna culture and language were almost completely destroyed. Extensive documentation by early missionaries and other researchers has enabled a modern revival of both, which has included a commitment by local and state governments to rename or include Kaurna names for many local places.


My favourite areas of the city to take photos are usually around the North Terrace area and the city’s East End. North Terrace, or the ‘Cultural Boulevard’ offers up some architecturally beautiful buildings including the South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the University of Adelaide with buildings such as Elder Hall, Mitchell Building and Bonython Hall featuring high up there as my personal favourites. The river precinct also offers beautiful vistas and is ever evolving with new buidlings going up on the banks of the River Torrens at regular times over recent years. The new Adelaide Oval footbridge compliments the upgraded stadium perfectly with views in every direction at sunset or sunrise meaning you can’t go wrong for those ideal photographic compositions.


Street art is becoming more and abundant in the city and the surrounding suburbs with fantastic murals popping up on the side of new and old buildings alike. Photographers like myself will always appreciate these interesting subjects to capture. February and March are opportune times to shoot city life as the area comes alive with the Fringe and Adelaide Festival and all the accompanying activities going on offering up the perfect opportunity to inlclude people into our cityscapes.

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Michael Waterhouse Photography Gallery
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