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The elected membership of ACC in the 1980s and 1990s reflected the significant changes in Adelaide’s social and economic structure initiated by Premier Tom Playford (1938–65), who diversified the South Australian economy after World War II by attracting manufacturing industries to the state with subsidized land and cheap housing near the new industrial sites. Leonie Sandercock concludes that ‘this transformation diversified the old “power elite” that had centred around the “Adelaide Establishment”, the old families whose wealth derived from land, commerce and banking’.1 By 1978, the new investors in city property development had effectively supplanted the old Adelaide families on ACC.

In addition to Playford’s economic expansion, other demographic shifts had radically altered the social composition of Australian capital cities by the 1970s.

From the 1950s, families with children had been moving to new housing in the suburbs, concentrating post-war migrants in the inner city areas. Young professionals joined the migrants in central Adelaide and North Adelaide, many of them the New Environmentalists of the 1960s and 1970s who became involved in residents’ associations, heritage protests and ACC elections in the 1970s–90s (see chapter 2), countering the radical pro-development membership of ACC.

The rapid economic growth and demographic changes of the post-war period were significant contributing factors to Adelaide’s growing pro-heritage sentiment.

That sentiment became particularly noticeable when Premier Bannon began actively to encourage and support major commercial and retail developments to lift the economy from recession. As David Lowenthal noted in 1996, ‘dismay at massive change stokes demands for heritage [protection]’.2 Leonie Sandercock, Property, Politics, and Urban Planning (Melbourne: Transaction, 1990), p.152.

David Lowenthal, Possessed by the Past (New York: Free Press, 1996), p.6.

The Role of Adelaide City Council While in 1970 ACC represented ‘Establishment business interests’, as noted by former Premier Don Dunstan, the class structure of its membership had begun to change by 1978. Former Lord Mayor Steve Condous (later a state Liberal MP) described ‘pre-selection’ for ACC in 1968 when he was first elected: ‘16 of the 19 members were all members of the Adelaide Club. In those days also, to become a member of the Adelaide City Council, you had to get Liberal Party pre-selection.

Pre-selection was carried out at the Adelaide Club’.3 By 1978, the social backgrounds of the elected members had broadened, and amendments to the Local Government Act in 1984 further widened the social base of ACC. These amendments limited each company to only one vote in each ward, and more importantly, the franchise extended to all individuals enrolled on the state electoral roll, whether or not they were ratepayers. However, plural voting was not abolished. A person was eligible to vote in ACC ward elections if he or she were ‘on the state electoral roll as a resident or ratepayer of the ward and the sole owner … of a ratable property’ [Local Government Amendment Act (1984), s.91]. Thus, a person could live in one ward and be a ratepayer in one or more others, and vote in each. Companies were similarly entitled to more than one vote if their branches were located in different wards, and developers with more than one company could cast a vote for each.

The lobby group AHA examined the City of Adelaide Voters Roll for 1985 and found that many developers had substantial numbers of votes. Among major developers, Giuseppe Emanuele had 30 votes, Con Polites 22, Theo Maras 18 and Gerry Karidis 16, while the Chapman family and their partner Alan Key held 17 votes between them. In addition to their own properties, some were the voting agents for shops and small businesses. In some cases, the developers had no interest in the businesses that had nominated them as electors. Journalist Peter Ward aptly reported that ACC was ‘once known as “the real estate industry at prayer”’.4 After successful lobbying by AHA, s.91 of the Local Government Act was repealed in 1986, and clause 3 of the replacement s.91 provided in part that ‘a person may not be nominated as the nominated agent of a body corporate … unless that person … is an officer of the body corporate’. Both Condous and former City Manager Michael Llewellyn-Smith described ACC before 1982, perhaps with some exaggeration, as a patrician collective undertaking a civic duty to improve the city without personal Steve Condous, personal interview, 6 August 2001. By 1981, only three Aldermen were members of the Adelaide Club. EJR Morgan, The Adelaide Club, 1863–1963 (Adelaide: The Adelaide Club, 1964).

Weekend Australian Magazine, 27–28 October 1984, p.8; cf. Adelaide Review, January 1992, p.4.

Heritage Politics in Adelaide gain from the office, a fairly unified association of gentlemen who respected one another and maintained gentlemen’s agreements. By 1978, most members were wealthy post-war entrepreneurs or professional men, such as Lord Mayor Watson (ACC member 1972–82, Lord Mayor 1982–83), Aldermen Black (1974–85), Bowen (1966–85, Lord Mayor 1983-85), Manos (1979–87) and Jarvis (1975Lord Mayor 1985–87). Former Lord Mayor Condous (1968-93, Lord Mayor 1987–93) was an exception. Of more humble origin, he represented the migrant and working-class Grey Ward in the southwest of the city.

Homogeneity of the membership did not necessarily indicate consensus on all issues. Throughout the 1978–95 period, and no doubt through all of ACC’s history, the majority view of the council was fluid, the contributions of the members varied, and members had different reasons for seeking election to ACC. As observed by former Alderman Harrison, who was one of the most perceptive representatives of the business community in the 1980s, ‘there were people whom nobody respected, and there were people whom everybody respected, and there were some in the middle. … They are people who have an interest in trying to do something, one would hope for the city’.5 The business stronghold on ACC also began to change. Rosemary Boucaut was first elected in 1979 as a councillor for North Adelaide’s Robe ward who would represent residential interests. Bob Angove joined her in 1980 as a residential member, and Chris Douglas represented the southeast Young ward from 1982. According to those present at the time, the tenor of ACC changed with the 1984 amendments to the Local Government Act. Historian Hugh Stretton observed after the amendments that the ‘developer-dominated’ ACC could expect an imminent rebellion by its non-developer members.

While ACC remained dominated by business interests for the rest of the 1980s, the gentlemen’s agreements of the previous era disappeared. There had been an understanding that lord mayors served for a two-year term, and once they had done their term, they moved on and the next senior alderman took over. When Lord Mayor Wendy Chapman ran for a second term in 1985, Alderman Jim Jarvis defeated her through the collective efforts of the other alderman. However, the aldermanic agreement was debased in 1989 when Steve Condous was elected for a second term.

The effect was that aldermen felt they might not get a chance at the position and withdrew their support for Lord Mayor Condous.

The business majority on ACC had narrowed by one member after the 1985 Michael Harrison, personal interview, 30 July 2001.

The Role of Adelaide City Council election, to 14 of 19 members, and in 1987 the margin narrowed again to 12 of 19.

Ideological factions emerged, as heritage conservation became a major community issue and heritage lobbyists campaigned in ACC elections. So-called pro-heritage and pro-development factions now divided ACC. Within each faction, there were councillors who would sometimes change alliances in the vote over individual developments, but overall the membership of the factions could be identified. Former Alderman Mark Hamilton described the fluid nature of ACC politics: ‘some people didn’t adopt a completely consistent position. Some people would adopt a different position if [a development] were residential or commercial, and some people might take a different position if they were lobbied’.6 In 1991, for the first time, voters elected a majority of pro-heritage candidates (10 of the 19 members).7 Their numbers were strengthened further when Aldermen Anders and Harrison, both businessmen, resigned later that year due to financial difficulties, to be replaced in early 1992 by Alderman Mark Hamilton, a strong heritage protectionist, and planner Savas Christodoulou. The following year, Alderman Con Bambacas and Councillor Roger Rowse also resigned because of financial troubles, reflecting the sharp downturn in the building industry. That year, Lord Mayor Condous, who no longer enjoyed majority support, became an endorsed Liberal Party candidate, and party politics entered an already divided council chamber.

ACC as Developer ACC was involved in property development through its own properties. In the 1970s and 1980s, it extended its ownership of carparks in order to control parking revenues in the city. It awarded to developer Joe Emmanuel the contract for a major carpark in the former Topham Street between Currie and Waymouth Streets. The project included shops, cafes and ACC’s archives. In 1976, the former Victorian ETSA building was demolished and replaced by an eight-deck carpark at the corner of Pulteney and Rundle Sts. At ground level, an American fast-food outlet completed the globalisation of that corner. Nearly a decade later, the Emmanuel Group was awarded another contract to extend the Central Market carpark to Moonta St. Food and variety shops built along the street have created Adelaide’s small Chinatown.

Mark Hamilton, personal interview, 17 July 2001.

The pro-heritage members were Aldermen Rosemary Boucaut, Chris Douglas and Jane Rann, Councillors Robert Angove, Ian Caller, Francene Connor, Jacqueline Gillen, Alan Rye, Michael Gibbs and Jane Lomax-Smith.

Heritage Politics in Adelaide From the 1970s, ACC was concerned about the growth of office accommodation outside Adelaide’s boundaries. It sold three office sites in Wakefield and Frome Sts in 1979, and, most importantly, designed the CitiCom project at Hindmarsh Square for sale as office accommodation (see chapter 3). Buildings in that project had been recommended for listing on the city’s heritage register, and ACC’s approval of the project might be deemed a conflict of interest.

ACC also owned and developed several residential properties. Its annual report for 1983 recorded that it had built 45 homes since 1972, among them the Mawson Court townhouses in Hill Street, North Adelaide, in 1982. ACC also renovated 18 older homes, and during the 1981–83 term released more than 265 allotments for private development. Like city councils in all states, ACC owned a substantial number of properties and developed them to increase its revenue. Rarely was heritage conservation its primary concern.

The City of Adelaide Plan Adelaide’s first development plan under the City of Adelaide (Development Control) Act (1976) was a unique feature of planning legislation in South Australia. ACC had engaged Urban Systems Corporation under the direction of George Clarke in 1972 to prepare the City of Adelaide Plan, which they published in 1974 after extensive public consultation. The Plan was gazetted in 1977 as a schedule to the Act. Known as the ‘Red Book’, the 1976–81 Plan was for its time a model of urban planning and contained Adelaide’s first proposed heritage list other than the unofficial National Trust Register. The Plan described the precincts of the city and outlined the desired future character of each: ‘the appropriate uses, densities, heights, percentages of on-site landscaped space, and other characteristics of built-form, have been indicated for every site within the Town Acres of the City’.8 It proposed for the square mile south of the River Torrens a ‘pyramid concept’ in which the largest scale development would be concentrated in the central business district, tapering to the Terraces at the peripheries, giving the city a coherent form, conserving views to the hills and over the parklands from most buildings.

The 1976–81 Plan contained the first detailed written policy for the future use and conservation of the Adelaide parklands, a green belt surrounding south and North Adelaide and dividing the two sectors along the banks of the River Torrens.

The parklands were to be ‘conserved and enhanced exclusively for the relaxation, George Clarke, The City of Adelaide Plan (Adelaide: Urban Systems Corporation, 1974), p.54.

The Role of Adelaide City Council enjoyment and recreation of the metropolitan population, and the city’s workforce, residents and visitors’ under the Plan. However, parkland areas were designated state Government Reserves from their inception by Colonel Light along North Terrace to the Torrens River for uses such as the Botanic Gardens, an art gallery and museum and Parliament House. Other development in this precinct later occurred for the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Institute of Mines and The University of Adelaide.

The City of Adelaide was the legal trustee of the remainder of the parklands, about three-fourths of their area. From the 1870s, they leased several areas of the parklands for sporting purposes. By no means were all of the uses approved by ACC for the public benefit: ‘Until the 1880s the council consistently derived more income from the Parklands than it expended on maintenance, works and improvements.

Often the sources of Parklands income were purely commercial and contrary to the purposes of public enjoyment envisaged by Colonel Light, when he encircled Adelaide with Parklands’.9 State governments have also taken a share, carving up the parklands with roads and using them for railway stations and tracks, tram sheds and bus depots, and, in the case of the Bannon government, for a Formula One car raceway. Although nominated several times, the parklands were not registered as a State Heritage Area in the 1980s or 1990s, surprisingly enough given their historic importance and their significance in framing the state’s capital city.

The City of Adelaide Act provided for five-yearly reviews of the Plan. The first, which took place in 1981, was the only non-controversial review enjoyed by ACC.

The recommended heritage register was not included — bureaucratic processes moved slowly in Adelaide and often lagged behind community aspirations. More importantly, many ACC members lacked enthusiasm for a heritage register at that time. The next review, completed in 1987, contained the Register of City of Adelaide Heritage Items and its criteria plus controversial design principles for each of the City’s precincts. Streetscape or townscape protection, a new concept suburban council districts were considering and already in place in Melbourne from 1982, was considered but had to await the next plan review. The five years after the 1986–91 JW Daly, Adelaide Parklands, a History of Alienation (unpub MA thesis, University of Adelaide, 1980), p.219. Parliament approved major developments in the Parklands in the nineteenth century for the Adelaide Racecourse (East Parklands Racecourse Act 1863) and Adelaide Oval (Cricket Ground Act 1871). Boatsheds along the Torrens, three golf courses and university sports grounds are other leaseholds in the Parklands. The Zoological Gardens, a Snake Farm, a pleasure garden and a floating barge are some of the early twentieth century commercial uses of the Parklands cited in Peter Morton, After Light (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 1996), p.102.

Heritage Politics in Adelaide Plan were the most divisive of the decade, involving a townscape initiative that was converted to a local heritage list in the 1991–96 City of Adelaide Plan, which itself was converted to a development plan under state government legislation in 1993.

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