Adelaide – Big town or small city?
Adelaide, for the uninitiated, is the capital of South Australia, and was named after the consort of William IV, the reigning British king when the city was founded in 1836. The Aboriginal name for Adelaide is Tandanya. To some, it’s also known as the “City Of Churches.” In regard to population, people pop out and also snuff it every day, so a good guess would be somewhere around one-and-a-half- to two-million. And not much unlike than any other industrial city, Adelaide, too, destroys the atmosphere by making textiles, chemicals, cars, machinery, plastic goods, and refining oil. The port of Adelaide is also one of the most active shipping facilities in Australia.
Colonel William Light founded Adelaide, which is on the Spencer Gulf, and the city was planned to be Australia’s only non-penal colony at the time. Colonel Light and his cronies had a meeting at the infamous “Tree Of Gum” (a great tourist attraction) at Holdfast. Ol’ Bill’s goal was to find a suitable site for a city; he’d been given a standard city layout from the motherland (England) to abide by. So he gathered his mates and went looking for a site. Eventually, they choose a spot alongside the picturesque River Torrens, and from there it’s history.
Adelaide is extremely isolated. To the east the closest city is Melbourne (approximately 1,000 kilometers away) and to the west it’s Perth (even further away at 2,000 kilometers). If you were to head into the arid desert, you would find Darwin about 3,000 kilometers to the north (that’s if you made it alive). Finally, if you were to go about ten kilometers south of the city you’d end up in the most white-pointer-shark-infested waters in the world.
The isolation of Adelaide has always made it hard for its skateboarders to get coverage, not that this ever bothered us, it’s just good to let other skaters know there are rad things outside of Sydney. As far as modern cities go, Adelaide is relatively small, yet very beautiful and easy to get around. Its streets are lined with loads of great restaurants, pubs, and yes, skateparks.
Back in the early 70s, the Stonehenge of all skateparks was built-the monolithic Parafield Gardens. This fourteen-foot-deep concrete structure bred some insanely rad skaters-probably on par with the U.S. pros of the time-but not many people knew this, and many still don’t. As time went by, the old park got bulldozed due to a psychopathic local kid, but over the years the city has amassed about fifteen skateparks to replace it. Realistically, though, only about six of the fifteen are places you’d go regularly due to the city councils not consulting with skaters in the design and construction stages.
Finally, thanks to the South Australian Skateboard Association, local skaters, and willing councils. As you read this, there are another eight sick skateparks under construction, ranging from 80-foot-wide vert ramps to huge street parks and indoor parks with loads of concrete-bowl combinations for you to carve up.
So if you ever come to Australia, make an effort to visit Adelaide, you’ll be surprised at the casual, friendly vibe of the city. I know that’s a big call, but by the time you get here, we’ll have some of the best concrete to skate in the world!