Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Any Kind of House

Houses and Apartments

Even as a child I loved to look at houses. I remember walking around my neighbourhood and looking at the different types of houses and gardens and thinking about which one I’d like to have. The houses in South Australia were very different from the ones I knew in England. In the sixties it was mostly what mum called “bungalows” and every house was brick or the new fangled brick veneer that was becoming popular. In my suburb, which was fairly new there was not a lot of weatherboard or fibro. I recall how when we first went to Melbourne we were fascinated to see so many weatherboard houses. I liked them. I like all kinds of houses though, the Georgian houses in Oatlands and other older towns, Edwardian villas, California bungalows, art deco. Pretty much anything built before 1970 has some interest for me. The first picture in this collection is an old bank on Murray St, Hobart which is now a private residence. The red awnings caused a lot of controversies when the residents put them up as the council did not like them but in the end, they were allowed to stay. I’ve left them red to commemorate all the fuss.

I am not really comfortable photographing suburban houses though in case the owners don’t like it. Occasionally I do if they are in a historic area or I find them especially interesting. With so many lovely old homes being demolished to make way for ugly apartment blocks and Mc Mansions I feel I want to preserve some of the memories. We have some lovely art deco buildings around the Hobart CBD and nearby Sandy Bay, here is one of them. The other is another interesting old home on Sandy Bay Road.

Art Deco style apartments in Sandy Bay, near Hobart.
House on Sandy Bay Road

Naomi’s home town of Oatlands has many interesting old buildings from the early to mid-1800s. Blossom’s Cottages are now tourist accommodation. The stork on its nest is a sculpture. In stark contrast some very ugly townhouses built on the banks of the Port River, Port Adelaide.

Finally an apartment block in Little India, Singapore. There are many of these all over Singapore. I would hate to live in something like this.

An apartment building in Singapore’s Little India

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Corners

Standing on the Corner

I love photographing buildings and I’ve been taking pictures in the city of Hobart for 15 years now. We have a lot of interesting old buildings and I wanted to be sure to record them all before something happened to them so my corners are street corners. Buildings located on street corners are often an interesting shape too.

This building used to be Hobart’s first automatic telephone exchange.  About ten  or twelve years ago it was converted to an apartment hotel. It stands on the corner of Davey Street and Sandy Bay Road. I go past it on the bus every time I go home from Hobart.

Formerly belonging to the power authority but now an apartment hotel this building stands on the corner of Davey St and Sandy Bay Road, Hobart. Built 1926.

Another interesting old building on the corner of Macquarie and  Murray Streets is this one. Why do I take so many pictures on Murray Street? Well apart from the fact that there are some really cool buildings there I spend a lot of time there waiting for buses.

Another old building on the corner of Murray and Macquarie Streets

Corner of Murray & Macquarie Streets Hobart.

We are lucky in Hobart to have some great examples of art deco buildings. These next one belongs to Hobart City Council but was once the headquarters of the Hydro Electric Commission. The following one is used as government admin offices but there is a plan to turn it into a luxury hotel. I am particularly glad to have got a nice photo of it because the plan includes building a three storey addition on top of it that basically looks like a glass brick. I hate when they do that.

Former Hydro Electric Commission HQ. Built 1938-40. Now Hobart City Council offices. Corner Elizabeth and Davey Streets.


Office building, corner of Murray and Davey Streets.

And finally a pub which claims to be the oldest pub in Australia built around 1807. Another hotel in Tasmania disputes this as the Hope and Anchor has not continuously operated as a pub for all that time.

Hope and Anchor Tavern circa 1807. Corner of Macqurie and Market Place


The Adelaide I Knew

Before I came to Tasmania I lived in South Australia. My family arrived there in 1966 and I grew up living in the suburbs of Adelaide. I had come there from England and even at the age of eight I had a strong sense of place. I much preferred my new home in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide, to the grey, ugly place I had come from. I liked the feeling of open space, the wide streets and the flowering trees. When I was taken to visit Adelaide for the first time I liked the parks and gardens and the dignified old buildings I saw around the city.

As I grew up I loved the city even more and spent a lot of time in the city parks and on North Terrace, home to the museum, art gallery and the State Library. In the seventies the Festival Theatre was built and although I thought it was a little odd-looking and had weird art pieces dotted around it I was proud of it. It was finished three months before the Sydney Opera House. Over the years I lived there I attended many concerts and plays at the Festival Theatre both indoors and out.

The Festival Theatre complex is three theatres, Concert Hall, The Playhouse and The Space. .
The Festival Theatre complex is three theatres, Concert Hall, The Playhouse and The Space. .

I enjoyed browsing through the many department stores in Rundle Street, Harris Scarfe, Myers with its bargain basement, David Jones the posh store with marble tiles where a man played a grand piano near the entrance and the basement food hall smelled of baking, Cox Foys had its roof top fun fair and views of the city and suburbs and of course John Martins, the Pageant Store, which had the best toy department.  As a teenager I was introduced to the eastern end of Rundle Street by my stepfather. There were European style cafes and interesting little shops selling imported goods. Central Market at the other end of King William Street was another fascinating place. Later when Rundle Street became a pedestrian mall it was fun to ride the glass elevator up to the top floor of Cox Foys and stroll in the mall enjoying the buskers performing there although you did have to dodge Hare Krishna disciples selling their books as well. At least they were easy to spot.

This fountain has been moved a couple of times.
This fountain has been moved a couple of times.

Exterior of the Regent Arcade off Rundle Mall
Exterior of the Regent Arcade off Rundle Mall  in 2011

In 1985 Adelaide hosted its first Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was held in the parklands at the eastern end of the city and for the next twelve years we were regular attendees enjoying not only the racing but the associated events and the carnival atmosphere that the event brought to our city. I was working for the government operated transport system by then so I was in the city every day, sometimes working at the Adelaide Railway station. It was handy as I could spend an hour or so browsing in the stores after work or run up to Central Market for fresh fruit and veg before going home. On late shifts I’d only have to pop outside on to North Terrace to buy a coffee at the Pie Cart.

Pit Straight Adelaide c1989. The Start / Finish line was about where the building on the left is.
Pit Straight Adelaide c1989. The Start / Finish line was about where the building on the left is.

I can’t recall exactly when things started to change. I think it was when a lot of older buildings started to be demolished or to accidentally burn down while their future use was being disputed. I know I felt it was the beginning of the end of Adelaide and me when we lost the Grand Prix to Melbourne and when I heard that John Martins department store was to be closed.

Since then I have seen a lot more unwelcome changes to the city that I once loved. The beachfront suburbs are almost unrecognisable to me now as the old houses are replaced by large, square townhouses with tinted windows and no gardens.  “Johnnies” is gone, Cox Foys is long gone, Harris Scarfe survives but their old building has been demolished and the new stores are tiny and seem to have little in them.

The Festival Theatre complex is getting a revamp which it probably needs but I feel a little sad that the weird sculptures will be gone and the amphitheatre where we sat on the hot pebbles and watched local bands play seems to have disappeared underneath the new walkway that goes over the river. I do quite like that though. I watched cricket at Adelaide Oval on television recently and it does look good. I think I’d enjoy seeing a match there but I liked the old grandstand with its red roof and the old gates at the front entrance as well. Luckily the old scoreboard is heritage listed so that can’t be touched nor the big old Moreton Bay Fig trees nearby.

Adelaide Oval
The new entrance to Adelaide Oval

Another thing that I do like is that the tram line which used to go to the seaside suburb of Glenelg has now been extended through the city and down to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Not only that but you can ride from there to the city for free.

The old Glenelg tram line has been extended.
The old Glenelg tram line has been extended.

The biggest shock I had on my recent visit to Adelaide was at the railway station. That has changed so much over the past fifty years and even the past twenty since I worked there. The Pie Cart is gone, not considered good enough for the patrons of the Casino or nearby hotels. The Casino has been inside the upper floors of the station for many years but since I was there last it has expanded into the foyer, Marble Hall, we called it where the ballroom scene from Gallipoli was filmed and where, some years before that David and I had our wedding photos taken. It was weird to sit at the bar with my sister-in-law Louise and remember that and to look around to the stairs that used to lead to the offices where David worked.

Down at Port Adelaide things have changed too, most of the industry has gone and so have most of the ships. Port Adelaide has become home to several excellent museums which is great but I was angry the other day to hear that the big shed where the market has been for so many years will be demolished. No doubt something ugly and expensive will be built to replace it.

converted wharf shed Port Adelaide
A converted wharf shed now houses a weekend market.

I’ll never forget the happy times I had in Adelaide and I’ll always visit there, at least in the cooler months, because I have family and friends that I want to see but I don’t feel that it is the same place that it used to be.  I suppose I have changed too but even if I had stayed there I know I would not like the changes that have happened so I’m glad I left.

I started to write this post intending it to be a rant. I had just heard about the demolition of the wharf shed and although I was half expecting it I was still very angry about it. As  I wrote more I became more nostalgic for the city I knew. My last trip back reminded me of the things that I liked about Adelaide which is alway at its nicest in spring but I don’t feel the same way as I used to. I have never been divorced but perhaps this is what it feels like?

I believe that smaller cities like Adelaide and Hobart would do better to preserve the character they have rather than trying to become miniature versions of large cities like Sydney and Melbourne. I see scary signs of it happening in Hobart as well. Many people who read this may not agree with me, it’s progress, I know it is. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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




Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Commercial or Industrial Buildings

Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Port Adelaide

I’ve taken a lot of photographs around “The Port” over the years. It’s an old area and gradually being redeveloped so I am constantly expecting the old buildings to be gone or changed beyond recognition every time I visit. Some of the changes I’ve seen are good, some make me both angry and sad. These photos were taken not only on my most recent trip but on two previous visits with David.

converted wharf shed Port Adelaide
A converted wharf shed now houses a weekend market.

The building in the photo above was once a warehouse and when the waterfront was redeveloped as a shopping and leisure precinct back in the eighties or nineties it was converted to be used as a market shed. We had a lot of good times browsing in there. The market is still running but I’m told that it may be shifted to another site and the shed redeveloped as restaurants and bars.  I took the picture for my “Before It’s Too Late” category as I may not see it in its present form again. The next few were taken on an earlier visit around five years ago when David and I were visiting family.

St Vincents Chambers, Port Adelaide
St Vincent’s Chambers are office buildings and shops. Taken in April 2012.

Commercial Road, Port Adelaide
Commercial Road, Port Adelaide

An interesting shop front at Port Adelaide.
An interesting shop front at Port Adelaide.

David and I both loved the old Wool Stores around Port Adelaide, as it was a busy working port there are lots of old warehouses and I thought that by now some would be gone or converted to apartments but so far it hasn’t happened. The main reason I can think of for that is that they are probably full of asbestos which is expensive to remove. Here is one I took in 2011.

Old warehouses in Port Adelaide.
Old warehouses in Port Adelaide.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Houses and/or Barns

Houses and Barns

This week Cee has asked us to show houses and / or barns. I am very interested in architecture and the built environment so I knew I would enjoy this challenge. Most of the photos are from my archives but I did have the opportunity to take a couple of new ones while I was away in Adelaide recently.

Here are some older style homes in the suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia.

In many cities former industrial sites and older homes like the ones above are being demolished to make way for apartment blocks like these. I do not approve.

Modern apartments near Port Adelaide. South Australia
Modern apartments near Port Adelaide. South Australia

The apartment in the next photo is well known to many older Australians who remember the TV series “Number 96”. This is the apartment block used for the exterior scenes in the show which was filmed in the Sydney suburb of Woolhara.

Number 96- Moncur St , Woolhara, Sydney
Australians of a certain age may recognise this block of flats in Sydney as the location of popular TV series “Number 96”

The next homes are convict era cottages in Tasmania built in the early  to mid 1800s followed by a couple of grander homes from the same era.


Finally a couple of modern apartments in Hobart.