Hart’s Mill – Before and After

As I have often mentioned the built environment is a pet subject of mine. I am sure my family, friends and probably fellow bloggers get tired of my complaints about old, interesting buildings being replaced by ugly new ones, high-rise buildings being located in historic areas and  new buildings that I consider just plain ugly. It’s true that I cringe when I hear the word “redevelopment” and that I would like to boil most developers and real estate agents in their own snake oil. Of course I don’t think all redevelopment  or modern architecture is bad and I try to give credit when I see something good even though I think that parks and community spaces are usually a trade-off for more high-rise development.

I’ve posted a lot of photos of Port Adelaide on this blog in the past. David’s family has lived in or close to it for many years and David had a special fondness for it because of that. We often went there to look at the ships when it was a busy working port and later to visit the Sunday market in one of the old sheds. During that time the area became trendy and we were outraged to see apartments built right on the waterfront. On our last visit together we took a lot of photos of buildings we feared we would not see again.

Hart’s Mill was one of these places. It was up for redevelopment at that time and David and I were fearful that it would become more apartments for rich people.  This is how it looked in 2012.

On my most recent visit my sisters-in-law, Libby and Louise, took me down to the Port for breakfast and we visited a new cafe near Hart’s Mill. I am happy to say that although apartments are still a creeping menace in the Port Adelaide area Hart’s Mill is looking pretty good. It has been developed as a community space and landscaped. Renew Port Adelaide is active in the area and the cafe we went to was one of these. It is over the water with a great view of the river.

Here is Hart’s Mill today.

I still think that Port Adelaide and indeed most of the older Adelaide suburbs are in danger of being turned into carbon copies of each other full of large, concrete, steel and glass buildings. I would far prefer to see old buildings repurposed than demolished as without them cities lose their character. One high-rise on the waterfront today can turn into a dozen in less time than you would believe possible. Smaller cities such as Adelaide and Hobart don’t need to try to copy larger ones. Part of their charm is that they are different. I hadn’t intended for this to be a ranting post though. It’s nice to see something that I can feel happy about once in a while.

Further Reading


Our Port




I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. I am not tired of that, because we have the same standpoint here and discussed this issue a few times on your and my blog. I told you once that this trend is especially annoying in the historic district of our city, it’s mainly brick stone gothic architecture but today they place more and more modern buildings there, and they simply don’t fit in there. You can’t just place modern buildings into a district with medieval history, that’s really upsesting. As you said, it’s not about the modern architecture, because I really love modern architecture, it’s more about where it belongs, where it fits. Sometimes I do get the impression that architects design only with one property in the mind, they don’t look around to see how it would look like with the surroundings.

    Looks like they preserved the look of this building in Adelaide, but the surrounding objects make me think that the architect is a hipster, or that the place was redeveloped for a hipster community. Ok, it’s a playground for kids as it seems, but the yellow looks quite intrusive/obtrusive or how would you say in English? I believe a red, like the brick stone colour would have worked so much better. But then I am also someone who likes it when things look consistent, the architect probably wanted to express “happyness” with the bright colour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you Dennis. I think that they are a going for the arty look down there, there are a lot of murals and that sort of thing on some of the older buildings now. The yellow is intrusive but I have to count this building as a win because it could very easily have been gutted inside and turned into fancy apartments. Apart from things not fitting in my other dislike of redevelopment is that when it happens in a working class area like this it becomes too expensive for the original residents to live there any more and even if the buildings are still there the community is destroyed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I know what you mean. The district I live in is a great example too in this case. They did a lot of work, back then people called it a ghetto, today it really looks nice here. But with that there came new renting costs. I like the district and I was searching for a new apartment in the same district, but I have to stick with my apartment for now, because imo it looks as if I got a bargain back then. Renting costs increased heavily around me. I assume I will find something someday, but the search is more difficult now if I want to save money. I think this is really a trend everywhere 😦


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