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Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    A painting, a frog cake, a landmark, a statue, a haunting newspaper photograph, a bucket of peaches, pink shorts in parliament, concert tickets, tourist maps … Kerryn Goldsworthy’s Adelaide is a museum of sorts, a personal guide to the city through a collection of iconic objects. Adelaide navigates her southern home, discovering its identifying curios and passing them to the reader to touch, inspect and marvel at. These objects explore the beautiful, commonplace, dark and contradictory history of Adelaide: the heat, the wine, the weirdness, the progressive politics and the rigid colonial formality, the sinister horrors and the homey friendliness. They all paint a lively portrait of her home city – as remembered, lived in, thought about, missed, loved, hated, laughed at, travelled to and from, seen from afar and close up by assorted writers, citizens and visitors – but mainly as it exists in her memory and imagination.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-567-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. 1 Introduction: Contradictions
    (pp. 1-11)

    Queen Adelaide, the consort of King William IV and the person for whom Adelaide was named, was a German princess who had been christened Amalie Adelheid Louise Therese Karolina Wilhelmina, and was known as the Princess Adelheid. To help the struggling lacemakers of England after she became its Queen, she ordered from them a Honiton lace gown embroidered round the hem with flowers the initials of whose names spelt out her own, the anglicised ‘Adelaide’: Amaranth, Daphne, Eglantine, Lilac, Auricula, Ivy, Dahlia, and Eglantine again.

    But had she wanted this pretty picture-puzzle gown to tell her true name, she would...

  4. 2 The Map
    (pp. 12-40)

    Here is a fold-out map of Adelaide, designed for the use of visitors. You can see the way the city proper sits pleasingly foursquare on the page, geometrically patterned with smaller squares of green inside its grid of streets, oriented to the points of the compass. The original plan of 1837 was more symmetrical, with bigger areas of green; if you compare it with this map you can see where development and traffic management have changed the streets and nibbled away at the edges and corners of the little open parks. But even now, this map with its flowerlike geometry...

  5. 3 The Painting
    (pp. 41-76)

    Twenty years is a long time to spend working on a painting, and perhaps it was more. Like several other things about ‘The Proclamation of South Australia 1836’, begun in 1856, the date of completion is unclear. The artist and engraver Charles Hill was earnest in his desire to paint, as a matter of historical record, the truth of an event that took place almost a decade before it could have been photographed, and two decades before he started work on it. Many of the figures in the painting are individual portraits of real, identifiable people, and commentary on it...

  6. 4 The Statue
    (pp. 77-114)

    Colonel William Light is an Adelaide folk hero. His statue stands high on a hill overlooking the city, his body is buried in the city square that bears his name, his image appears on postcards in every postcard stand at every newsagency and every tourist trap in town, his birthday is celebrated every year in a well-attended public ceremony, and his is the only body that has been legally buried within the city square after settlement. He became an official part of his city in a more literal way than any other European has ever done, and his name has...

  7. 5 The Rotunda
    (pp. 115-128)

    Small children, when they are in that enchanted phase of learning to speak, will often fixate on a particular word and repeat it to death before, to the relief of their exhausted parents, moving on. Some words are more voluptuous than others, giving pleasure to mind and mouth; one such little boy of my acquaintance particularly enjoyed the words ‘elbow’ and ‘Kalgoorlie’, and a favourite word of my own as a small child was ‘culprit’, which would seem not to bode well for adult life. But I once knew a toddler, the nephew of a friend, whose taste in repeatable...

  8. 6 The Bucket of Peaches
    (pp. 129-151)

    The bucket of peaches is an amalgamation of imagination and memory. That there were peaches in containers is not disputed. I am sure that I remember a particular bucket made of chipped white enamel, the chipped parts black, the white with a tinge of blue. The wooden handle spun like a spindle on its wire arc, a handle carefully turned and shaped to fit the fingers of a clutching fist carrying a heavy load. But I may be making it up. My father thinks it may have been a tin bucket. My sister says it was probably an old kerosene...

  9. 7 The Photograph
    (pp. 152-173)

    In the week between Christmas 1965 and New Year’s Day 1966, we left the farm for good and moved to Adelaide. My parents and my older sister did the work of packing; my younger sister and I, at 10 and 12, were deemed too young to do anything much apart from get in the way, and were packed off on Boxing Day to the Adelaide grandparents. Three days later, the day after Proclamation Day, they took us to Glenelg beach, where theRapid,theBuffalo,theAfricaineand the rest had sat at anchor 130 years before, and where my...

  10. 8 The Pink Shorts
    (pp. 174-210)

    22 November 1972 was the day the first American B-52 was shot down by enemy fire over Vietnam. On that day Ezra Pound was three weeks dead; Toni Collette was three weeks old. Eight days earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had closed above 1000 for the first time in history. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India; Mao Zedong was Chairman of the Communist Party of China, a country then embroiled in the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, and to which Republican President Richard Nixon had travelled earlier in the year for a historic meeting with Mao to...

  11. 9 The Frog Cake
    (pp. 211-228)

    The Balfours frog cake features prominently in any list of edibles that homesick Adelaideans miss. you can find these people huddled together in back-packer hostels or hotel foyers, at tourist attractions, in chat rooms across cyberspace or in the tea-rooms and kitchens of the workplaces to which their ambition has led them in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and beyond, seeking each other out in order to chant a litany of lost treats to fellow exiles who will understand. ‘Frog cakes,’ they moan. ‘FruChocs. Fritz. woodies’ lemonade. Farmer’s Union iced coffee. Haigh’s chocolates. Coopers ale. Bickford’s lime cordial. Kitchener buns. Golden North...

  12. 10 The Concert Ticket
    (pp. 229-244)

    One day in November 2008 I spent a great deal of money on a small white piece of cardboard. ‘Leconfield winery’, said this piece of cardboard, and ‘BASS’, and ‘January 26, 2009’, and – this was the important bit – ‘Leonard Cohen’.

    I first encountered Leonard Cohen’s songs in 1969, when I was 16 and he was 35, and had been learning, playing, singing and listening to them on and off ever since. Forty years later, he was to tour Australia, mainly at outdoor venues like the big wineries, which had pretty grounds and big stretches of open space where a good...

  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 245-278)