Adelaide by Kerryn Goldsworthy

‘The story of Adelaide is ornamented with ambiguities and ironies small and large …’

I have never lived in Adelaide and while I have not been there for over twenty years, I felt right at home when I visited. Why? The centre of Adelaide, where I have spent nearly all my time, reminded me of Launceston where I spent most of my childhood. It is the buildings, and the parks. And, while I know a little of Adelaide’s history, I do not really have any sense of the city beyond the public spaces. This book took me into Adelaide: I learned about frog cakes and was reminded of Don Dunstan’s pink shorts.  I learned about the rotunda, and the chapter entitles ‘The Bucket of Peaches’ took me back to family orchards in Tasmania, and the fruit trees that adorned the backyards of my childhood. The similarities engaged me; the differences expanded my knowledge.

I kept reading. I remember some of the events referred to and learned more about the context in which they occurred. I kept reading and resolved to visit Adelaide again to explore the city and its surroundings properly.

Ms Goldsworthy has written a unique guide to Adelaide: a view of the city through an eclectic selection of objects. As I write this, I can hear Paul Kelly singing ‘Adelaide’.

‘You have to go away and have adventures in order to come home enriched; quite apart from anything else, what knows she of Adelaide who only Adelaide knows?’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith