Adelaide, architecture, black + white, South Australia


December 19, 2016

2016 has ended with me in debt from 1 solo exhibition, three group exhibitions and  publishing  the Abstract Photography book  during the year.  So 2017 will necessarily be  low key,  as it is  primarily a year of paying off the debts incurred.  I have decided to  use the period of consolidation to  work through my 1980s and 1990  photographic archives to get material  for a book tentatively entitled The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia.

Citi-Centre, Rundle Mall

Citi-Centre, Rundle Mall, Adelaide

Any photography that I do in 2017 will be primarily concentrated on the collaborative  Mallee Routes project  in order to  build up the images in  my digital and film galleries  so that there is material for  a second exhibition. One is tentatively being planned for in late 2017.

The 1980s in Adelaide witnessed a building boom of office development that was  fueled by the deregulation of the exchange rate and the financial system. By 1985 Australia had  become more integrated into a global market, partly because the internationalisation of the world’s capital and financial markets had already proceeded so far that it was more or less impossible for a small country like Australia to resist moving in the same direction. Deregulation in Australia by the Hawke-Keating Labor Government  created  culture of unrestrained growth a boom in property and tourist developments,   and speculative investment by managers unprepared and untrained for the consequences.

 The Bannon Government in South Australia,  which was  first elected during the state’s deepest recession since the Great Depression, sought to stimulate the economy and ease unemployment through major events and building projects. It increased dramatically its involvement in economic development through state banks and government agencies, as financial institutions expanded lending and investment recklessly, without proper credit risk assessment. The end result was credit explosion, asset boom and corporate crashes in the late 1980s.

The boom and bust decade in Adelaide ended with an oversupply of office space  rising interest rates, lowered property values , withdrawal of bank loans and the collapse of the state bank. It  was bailed out by the state government  and Bannon resigned as Premier in 1992. The Adelaide’s  central business district was stripped of its  old stock of commercial buildings, which were replaced by speculative modern office towers, creating uninhabited ghostlike city streets after hours, except for a few entertainment strips. The developer syndrome  resulted in a hollowness in Adelaide’s city centre, that was  symbolised by the  punitive modernism of its tallest building –the State Bank Centre.




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1 Comment

  • Reply Adelaide in the 1980s | Oddly Squared December 19, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    […] Australia’s  economic decline and  high unemployment. The redevelopment was part of the building boom of the 1980s in South Australia that was characterised mainly by speculation in office development. The politics […]

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