Ade­laide is en­joy­ing a cul­tural shift of late – or are we sim­ply tak­ing no­tice of what was al­ready there? Ex­pat So­phie Ted­man­son asks lo­cal cre­atives what makes it so unique.

VOGUE Australia - - Contents -

Ade­laide is en­joy­ing a cul­tural shift of late – or are we sim­ply tak­ing no­tice of what was al­ready there?

Ade­laide used to be the con­ser­va­tive aunt of Aus­tralian cities, but now it feels more like this aunty is go­ing through a mid-life cri­sis – a very ex­cel­lent buy-a-new-Fer­rari, wearex­cel­lent-footwear-and-drink-cham­pagne-at-break­fast kind of mid-life cri­sis,” says ac­tress Tilda Cob­ham-Her­vey of her home town. “I think what is re­ally beau­ti­ful about Ade­laide is that you re­ally feel part of a com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­one re­ally does know ev­ery­one.”

Cob­ham-Her­vey is one of many cre­atives ex­celling amid a cul­tural boon that is oc­cur­ring in South Aus­tralia. She stars, rather ap­pro­pri­ately, in the new show F*!#ing Ade­laide, a com­edy about a group of sib­lings re­turn­ing, re­luc­tantly, home to Ade­laide, which pre­mieres at the Ade­laide Film Fes­ti­val this month. It is an amus­ing, pro­gres­sive take on the mixed feel­ings many Ade­laideans – this writer in­cluded – have to­wards their South Aus­tralian place of birth: one that was re­cently voted the fifth most live­able in the world. A place that en­joys ex­quis­ite land­scapes of Kan­ga­roo Is­land, the Barossa Val­ley and McLaren Vale win­ery re­gions, the hide­away beaches that line the Fleurieu Penin­sula coast­line (Sec­ond Val­ley and Nor­manville among the best). A city fa­mously de­signed in a grid for­ma­tion; sur­rounded by park­lands, and so per­fectly planned you can drive for 30 min­utes to stun­ning beaches in one di­rec­tion and 30 min­utes to pic­turesque hills in the other. And an arts com­mu­nity that thrives in theatre, film and tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion, and plenty of fes­ti­vals (hence its 1980s moniker ‘The Fes­ti­val City’, which can still be found on the oc­ca­sional num­ber plate). While March is fes­ti­val sea­son in Ade­laide, with si­mul­ta­ne­ous cel­e­bra­tions of world mu­sic, com­edy, arts and lit­er­a­ture, Oc­to­ber is fast be­come the spring fes­ti­val break: this month will see fes­ti­vals of film, con­tem­po­rary Indige­nous art, ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign, and, of course, the Ade­laide Fash­ion Fes­ti­val, which in­cludes the in­au­gu­ral Vogue Fes­ti­val.

Vogue fash­ion di­rec­tor Chris­tine Cen­ten­era, who went to school in Ade­laide, where her fam­ily still lives, says the city has a no­table ease and “some­what re­laxed char­ac­ter” that makes it very at­trac­tive to cre­atives. “It is now evolv­ing to bring about some de­fin­i­tive changes in cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion,” she says.

For Ade­laide de­signer and Young Aus­tralian of the Year 2017, Paul Vasileff, whose 10-year-old la­bel will be cel­e­brated with the ex­hi­bi­tion Paolo Se­bas­tian: X at the Art Gallery of South Aus­tralia this month, cul­tural di­ver­sity is what sets Ade­laide apart from other cap­i­tal cities.

“There are so many di­verse cul­tural com­mu­nity groups here that band to­gether to cel­e­brate their her­itage and in­vite the rest of the com­mu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence it,” he says. “Ade­laide and Aus­tralia are both such a melt­ing pot of cul­tures … Al­though we are a smaller city, we take a lot of pride in what we pro­duce and when we do some­thing, we do it in­cred­i­bly well!”

While Syd­ney bat­tles lock-out reg­u­la­tions, re­cently re­laxed li­cens­ing laws have seen a flux of new bars and cafes pop­ping up through­out Ade­laide city, cre­at­ing more in­ti­mate places for peo­ple to meet and col­lab­o­rate, in turn en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal cre­atives and young busi­nesses the op­por­tu­nity to thrive and de­liver new con­cepts. Food and wine has al­ways been a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion to South Aus­tralia – the wine re­gions bring in mil­lions in tourism dol­lars – but the city is now equalling other cap­i­tal cities with its culi­nary at­trac­tions: the Cen­tral Mar­ket, Peel Street dis­trict and Restau­rant Orana (re­cently named Aus­tralia’s best restau­rant of the year) are soak­ing up the culi­nary spot­light. Orana’s Jock Zon­frillo moved to Ade­laide from Scot­land via Syd­ney, en­ticed by the higher qual­ity of life: cheaper hous­ing prices, cleaner en­vi­ron­ment and abun­dance of fresh pro­duce.

“I work in the Ade­laide Hills and I am sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful vine­yards when I look out the win­dow. There are acres for the dogs to romp around in and then in a 20-minute drive I am stand­ing in my kitchen in the city. Sec­ond to that is prob­a­bly the qual­ity of pro­duce we get in South Aus­tralia, both from the ocean and from the land.”

When not in Hol­ly­wood, ac­tress Teresa Palmer also lives in the Ade­laide Hills, with her Amer­i­can hus­band and their three young chil­dren, be­cause “the en­ergy here is just beau­ti­fully laid-back and serene. I re­ally feel the fam­ily vibe of Ade­laide more than I do other cities, per­haps be­cause the fab­ric of who we are as Ade­laideans feels the same … We are a quiet city, we aren’t boast­ful, we have this un­der­stated beauty.”

For­eign min­is­ter Julie Bishop, whose fond­est child­hood mem­ory is “run­ning through our Ade­laide Hills fam­ily or­chard and eat­ing fresh cher­ries straight from the tree”, high­lights the fact that “Ade­laide was set­tled as a model Bri­tish colony by small ‘L’ lib­eral non-con­form­ists who be­lieved in free­dom of speech, reli­gion and life­style. This gave rise to a strong cul­tural her­itage over gen­er­a­tions.” She adds: “Ade­laide has al­ways been cul­tur­ally pro­gres­sive. It seems some are just start­ing to take no­tice!”


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