Just over three years ago Cadence and I bought a house two minutes walk away from Karra wirra-parri, otherwise known as the Torrens River. As is the tradition here in Australia, I’d like to acknowledge the Kaurna people whose ancestors first walked this land, and who are the custodians of the land on which I live. The little patch of river near us lies west of the city and some two hours walk (if, like me, you’re a bit unfit) from the mouth of the river, down at Henley Beach. In other words, we live near the Torrens Linear Park, developed in the late 1980s and opened in 1997. The park was the first of its kind in Australia and is the largest hills to coast and flood mitigation park in the land. The river itself is 85 km long, and the park is 35 km. It’s dotted along the way with playgrounds (there are three near us) and it also meanders through the heart of the city, passing the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Adelaide Oval (site of the famous, to cricket lovers, Scoreboard), our State Parliament, the Adelaide Zoo (home to the only two Giant Pandas living in the southern hemisphere), and many other South Australian icons.
The section of the river near us was once surrounded by market gardens and later, factories. There are still many factories across the river from us and directly behind our home is a very large hole created over ten years ago when contaminated soil was removed from the site. This void was left fallow for well over ten years but since last week a legion of trucks and sundry other soil moving machinery has descended and the hole is being filled.
Today’s walk took us around the hole and the machinery that is, as I write, a not too loud but constant reminder that there are men, front loaders and trucks working a very short distance to the east of us. The first thing I noticed as we walked past the fence surrounding the hole was a bicycle and one of the workers enjoying his tea break while he surveyed the scene below.
Further along, and around the back of the area, Cadence and I took another peek at what was going on. The low, pointed white roof in the photo on the right is our pergola where we often eat dinner and entertain friends and family.
The area that is being filled, plus a large tract of land that wasn’t contaminated, will become a ‘gated community’ of some fifty homes and three 3-storey apartments; the latter overlooking the river (and, in the distance, the factories).
Once we’d had a good look around we walked on, eager to see if the footbridge to the new shopping centre had been opened.
It had. This means the walk to the shops has been cut by around ten minutes and access to good Italian coffee, one of the best fruit and vegetable shops in the area and a book store is much easier.
On the way home I took a few more photographs. The dry mushroom I noticed as I walked took my eye, as did the the dual walking and cycling path leading back to our home. I hope the path gives an indication of how well maintained our park is.
Eventually we made it back to our street. The noise from the front end loaders seemed to be louder, however. A few more steps along the footpath and we discovered why:
Things have certainly changed since we’ve moved in; there are there are seven new abodes in our street alone and at least half a dozen more in surrounding streets but despite the rather intense urbanisation going on around us, we’re lucky to live in this area, this city and this state. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. Several days ago Cadence reminded me that walking promotes creativity. I now spend more than half my day in front of a computer, so I really need to get out of the house more. I live ten minutes drive from the beach and only three minutes walk from Karra wirra-parri, and the advice that writing helps with creativity has worked; this morning’s walk prompted me to write this post.
Later this week Cadence and I hope to take our three youngest grandkids to the section of the river where the ducks live. We have the appropriate seeds at the ready and the autumn weather continues to bless us, but I have my suspicions that if the heavy machinery is still around the children will, like their grandparents, be more interested in peering through the fence and seeing what the neighbours are up to.
I’d love to learn about your neighbourhood: fancy taking a walk and showing me what’s new, what’s old or what’s good about living where you live?