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Why so many mixed opinions on Adelaide?


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Why so many mixed opinions on Adelaide?

Hi Everyone,

Over the last few months, I received a lot of conflicting opinions on Adelaide and I came to the conclusion that one either likes Adelaide or not. (Me very confused... :whome: )

I’ve heard it all… Some people’s responses were very positive :ilikeit: saying that it is like George (in South Africa), Cape Town, Nelspruit or Pretoria. Then I got responses from people saying that it is big, others saying that it is VERY small – it obviously depends on what you are comparing it to. I’ve also receive numerous negative comments :thumbdown: saying that it is not really a city and that it is more boring than Bloemfontein, that it is like Fochville on Steroids, that it is a blue collar city…etc!

I realize that I will not be able to comment on Adelaide, as I have not been there as yet, but I will however appreciate your honest comments and opinions on Adelaide – positive or negative.

I look forward to reading your responses!

Have a great weekend! ;)


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Guest Sunshine Sister

Hey there Pippa,

This is a very interesting question. I have never been to Adelaide, nor have I considered living there. I have met a couple of ppl in Sydney who are from Adelaide, most of them have said that they don't miss it. An ex-Zimbabwean mom at school has moved here from Adelaide and says she misses only two things : living closer to the beach (it was affordable there) and the Zim-community which was apparently much bigger and close-knit. Except for the ppl on our forum who are so enthusiastic and happy with living in Adelaide (good on you guys !!) I have not heard anything remotely as positive from other ppl. Many of the things that you mentioned I have also heard: overgrown dorpie, very much like Bloemfontein, boring, blue collar city, very religious (city of churches) etc. It's hard to know what to believe. The way Annette described it on the Moving from the Cape thread nearly had me packing my bags, doesn't it just sound FABULOUS from her perspective !! (Excellent job there, Annette).

Before we moved to Sydney people told me it's this gorgeous, massive, buzzing city, with millions of people and that it is SO EXPENSIVE. When I came here I could not believe my eyes ! Not only is it a small city, it is also very badly structured, parts of it is really ugly, it has the worst highway system I have seen (if we can even call it that) there is very little buzz and you can get a big house with a garden for $ 4000 per month. Even tho' I am sure the advice and opinion people had of the place was right for them, it didn't fit into my frame of reference at all ! In Korea we paid US$ 6000 per month for a luxury apartment, no garden, the city was nearly 4 times bigger and it was gorgeous with loads of parks, has well structured highways, 24 hour shopping throughout the city, excellent crowd control and of course one of the best subway systems in the world...In comparison Sydney is not even a 1st world place. :thumbdown: Even though it does have nice elements as well, I have not found it to be the paradise people had made it sound like. So it's all relative to what you are comparing it to and to what you like, need and want to surround yourself with.

I found the following that you might find interesting. Best thing would be to go and have a look for yourself, as frame of reference plays such a big part in our opinion of things. Good luck and please keep us posted on what you find !




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You will probably find as many opinions as there are people about most places. However, I know that Adelaide seems to polarise people quite a bit - people who love it, love it a hell of a lot, while those who hate it, can't wait to see the back of the place. Some of this, I believe, is perpetuated by the fact that Adelaide seems to be a bit of a "poor cousin" in Australia. Its one of those places which it's almost a national sport to knock. :P

I would say the Bloemfontein analogy is very close. Bloemfontein is one of those places which is frequently knocked, yet hugely loved by those who live there and most of those who move there. It's one of those places which young people leave as soon as they possibly can for Cape Town, Durban or Joburg, then return to almost without fail later when they decide to settle down and have kids. It's a brilliant place to raise children and one of those places which has a real sense of community. All of this is true of Adelaide as well. I would say, having lived in Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Bloemfontein (I tend to block out my years in Vanderbijlpark like an experience too traumatic to recall! :) ), I would say Adelaide to me is a combination of Bloemfontein (all of the above things mentioned) and Pietermaritzburg (architecture and Jacaranda trees) with the climate, native plants, food and arty lifestyle of Cape Town...

I feel that it is important to mention though that what suits one person will not necessarily suit another. Just because we LOVE IT :ilikeit: here and feel right at home and it suits OUR lifestyle and ambitions, doesn't mean at all that all other people who move here will love it as well. I would say it is definitely not for the city-slicker types who like a 24 hour clubbing lifestyle, nor for those who like the touristy buzz and theme park type entertainments of somewhere like Florida or the Gold Coast (I hear, not having been there myself ;) ). There is nothing wrong with not adapting to a specific place or even not liking it and moving on ... we are all human, unique and different and what revs my motor, might not rev yours.. if you know what I mean :lol: .

I sincerely hope that those who have had bad experiences of Adelaide or haven't liked it there will post openly about their thoughts and this will not end in a PM discussion behind the scenes and people's backs, as is so often the case. :thumbdown: I think it is very important that all points of view should be represented.... :whome:

EDIT: Oh, I've just read the link SS posted above. That made me remember one other thing - Adelaide does have the BEST coffee we have ever tasted, consistently and at a variety of different places. Believe me, we have travelled around a bit and visited a fair few places, cafes and restaurants (admittedly, mostly around Europe...) and only once before, in Greece, have we had coffee this good ....:blush:

Edited by Annette
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As part of my work I travel to all major cities in Australia, very often Melbourne and Sydney. I can honestly say I am glad to leave them both far behind when I fly home to Adelaide. Yes, it is a large country town, I like that. It is quiter than most cities, I like that, there is however plenty to do, depending on what you like of course. Melbourne has the worst weather, 4 seasons in a day, traffic to who knows where. Sydney is far to hectic for me thanks, rat race. Dont get me wrong, I like them both, but is small doses. I like the more relaxed laid back lifestyle of living here in Adelaide, other might prefer the larger faster pace of other cities. Blue collar city ? Firstly that is not entirely correct and even if it was, so what ? That type of comment comes normally for people with the typical South African materialistic mentality I am sorry to say. They need to take a drive up the Barossa, or to Cape Jarvis, or to any of the beautifull beaches before making such harsh comments on little or no information. Each to his own, this place works for me, if it does not work for you, feel free to live where it works for you. That is after all why we came to this great country, to be free to live wherever we choose. Nou maak dan so.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for everyone’s opinions and comments. Although I’ve never been there, I am almost convinced that I will love it!

If all goes well, my husband will get admitted as a Solicitor in Australia in March 2007. He must attend the admission ceremony in person and we are planning to combine the admission with a LSD trip and we will definitely visit Adelaide.

Can’t wait to see it for myself and I hope that we can meet up with some of you in Adelaide!

Thanks for you honesty!

Have a lovely weekend!


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I've been asked to chip in my two bob's worth.

I can't really add to what some folks have had to say about the place but I can give a recent historical background which may help explain the outlook some Australians (and others) have of this city.

South Australia was settled in Dec. 1836.

It began life as a "province" of New South Wales before gaining its own status as a colony in its own right a few years later by Act of Parliament in Westminster, London.

South Australia was different from any other colony in this part of the world.

It was begun as a "non-conformist" Christian colony to be populated by "landed" gentry . . . . . the Voortrekkers with their Calivnistic beliefs would have been ideal early settlers to this colony if only they had known the opportunity was available!!

A British colonel . . . . Col. William Light . . . . was commissioned to design and survey the whole city and outlying areas for settlement, making Adelaide a "planned" city with wide streets and built on a grid pattern with intersecting main roads every one mile apart, its deep surrounding parklands and gracious homes.

Townships throughout the colony were to be positioned every 10 miles . . . . as far as horses and stagecoaches could reasonably travel before needing to be changed.

It was the only colony in Australia NOT to bring in convicts from Britain and was philosophically opposed to the idea of Transportation whereby convicts were committed for 7 or 14 years hard labour in one of the Australian colonies for breaching one of the many laws, such as poaching a rabbit on a landlord's estate in order to feed your family for the day!

More recently, South Australia had been a leader in many areas of life such as in education and the arts throughout the 1960s and 70s.

When we shifted from Adelaide to Hobart (Tasmania) in Feb. 1981, my wife remarked how many years behind the Tasmanian education system was compared to the South Australian style of teaching.

In 1994, she said the same about the South Australian education system compared to Tasmania.

So . . . . . what had generated this reversal throughout the 1980's and 1990's??

Australia elected a Labour government in March 1983 under a bloke called Bob Hawke. He was an ex Trades Union leader and was even born in Bordertown, South Australia where his dad had been a Presbyterian minister.

There were three countries in the world with very similar economies in the early 1980's . . . . . Canada, Australia and Argentina.

Canada and Australia chose to change their economies and revitalise their competitive industries, forsake the older inefficient industries and allow the Reserve Banks independence from current government policy.

Argentina clung to the older industries and keep its institutions as they had always been without change.

Today, Argentina is bankrupt, its industries decimated.

Canada and Australia are both experiencing unprecedented booms.

South Australia was particularly hard hit in the readjustment phase throughout the 1980s. Many of the industries located in Adelaide closed and disappeared. Its mining industry was almost non-existent and people left in their droves for places like New South Wales and Queensland.

On top of this, the Sth Australian State gov't was a Labour gov't which hired a bloke called Tim Marcus Clarke to run the S.A. State Bank. The State gov't were hoodwinked into beleiving this bloke could pull the State Bank into a new period of prosperity. Tim Marcus Clarke however was just a slick talker, and the gov't didn't do its homework and look into the past companies he had directorship of.

In 12 months, Tim Marcus Clarke turned a profitable State Bank that had been operating for many decades into one of the biggest financial black holes in Australia's history.

A debt of $9 Billion was logged up on dodgy dealings and bad pay outs for other financial corporations that were teetering on bankruptcy themselves.

A finance company owing millions of $$$$$ was bought up by the S.A. State Bank, for example, only to collapse shortly after being owned by the State Bank. Other purchases and dealings began to come to light and eventually the S.A. State Bank had to be bailed by its owner . . . . the South Australian gov't.

The State Bank was sold in 1995 for only $4 Billion, leaving the remaining $5 Billion to be picked up by the South Australian taxpayer.

Tim Marcus Clarke got 4 years' gaol.

The South Australian community got underfunded schools, hospitals, roads, electricity grids, etc. for several years.

It's only now, with South Australia discovery of its vast mineral and gas reserves in the north of the State and the economic boom this will inevitably bring over the next 50 to 100 years that people are now positive about the future here.

The enormous royalites that the S.A. State gov't will receive and the boost in employment will generate a far more prosperous lifestyle for the average South Australian over the next 50 years at least with more funding for hospitals, schools, parklands, road infrastructure, highways, etc. to help improve the way of life here.

Being gloomy about Adelaide and saying it is a "dying" place and one of the "rust bucket" parts of Australia used to be true only a handful of years ago.

Today, if anyone were to look into the State's future outlook the saying would be . . . "Shut up! Belt up and Hang on!"

With revitalised industry locating in Adelaide and the coming mining boom it won't be hanging around for long.

However, looking other than at the economic benfits of this place, South Australia is the driest State (in the driest continent on Earth!)

Looking at a map of South Australia, 80% of the land area, which is north of a line from the top of the Spencer Gulf where Pt. Augusta lies, is in "marginal" land where less than 10 inches (25cms) of rainfall falls to enable crops to be grown. North of the that imaginary line is Outback . . . . cattle and sheep grazing countryside . . . .where the horizon just goes on and on forever. It is only nowadays being opened up to mining the discoveries are mind-blowing.

South Australia can supply all of Australia's future gas needs for the next 50 years.

40% of the world's recoverable uranium is being discovered . . . in an energy hungry world that is turning away from polluting coal and oil fired power stations.

Copper, Gold, Zinc, Lead are being found.

Olympic Dam, 90 kms north of the main Adelaide to Darwin highway will be the biggest open cut mine in the world. BHP-Billiton will scoop off 1,000,000 tons of soil a day, 365 days a year for the next 4 years just to get to the "good stuff" (uranium). . . . . that is without talking about the processing of the mineral wealth in the 1,000,000 tons each day.

These figures have never been talked of anywhere else in the world before and it's all going to happen right here in South Australia over the next few years.

South Australia has attractions that aren't in as plentiful supply as other parts of Australia however. Being so dry, anyone who loves Outback will lurv South Oz.

Its beaches are clear and golden, but not as warm as Queensland's beaches (we don't have dangerous jelly-fish for 6 months of the year though!), although they are still warm enough to swim in them like the Indian Ocean off George and Knysna.

It doesn't have tropical rainforest or mountains like the Drakensberg. The Flinders Ranges in the north of the State is the best rugged "mountain" scenery we can offer, being dry and very old geologically.

Other parts of Australia offer different scenery and more spectacular countryside, I feel, and it seems a long way to the "good bits" if travelling in South Australia, but there are wineries galore (we export more than 50% of all of Australia's wines) and the Arts are catered for well in Adelaide (We had Wagner's "Ring Cycle" performed here in Oct 2005), so if people's tastes wander to these things they can be enjoyed.

I do miss the variety of sport that other States offer. Perth and Melbourne both sports and events from Adelaide, but with Adelaide's increased wealth and influx of population over the coming years this may be changed. We may get our own Rugby Union (to play against the Western Force) and Rugby League (to play against Melbourne Storm) teams in the future. Who knows? Adelaide does have the best soccer team in Australia (Adelaide United) . . . . but that is a South Australian opinion only, of course.

I do enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Adelaide belying the fact that it has over 1 million in the city . . . . it seems much smaller . . . . but you can always drive thro' the city in the evening and watch Adelaidians enjoying their coffee "al fresco", sitting outside in the balmy evening air, while others stroll casually past on their way to the cinema or a show.

I guess that is what Annette missed so much in her 6 years of life in England after leaving South Africa. . . . a lifestyle, out of doors that is also completely safe and secure without harrassment anywhere.

Bringing up my three kids here and building my own house was possible in Adelaide (not so in Sydney!) without encurring enormous debt to allow me to retire at my age (55), so Adelaide does have benefits that aren't always on hand elsewhere.

You have to do your homework before committing to settle in a place, or life could be all work, no play! . . . and Adelaide is "affordable" for 99.99% of people.

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Hello Bob - Thank you so much for the well-thought out and researched post above. I'm sure it's worthy of publication!

We are really excited about our new life in Adelaide, starting in only 7 1/2 weeks :rolleyes:

The forseeable growth in infrastructure can only benefit our type of business, being welding supplies and related goods.

Regards, Bronwyn

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Hi Bob,

I agree with Bronwyn; thanks so much for the valuable post (…and the history lesson)! You are a wonderful ambassador for Adelaide and I can’t wait to visit Adelaide in March 2007!

In your opinion, what are the prospects for a solicitor in Adelaide? If all goes well, my husband will be admitted as a Solicitor in March 2007 and we are seriously considering Adelaide as an option for us to settle.

Thanks once again for the information.

Have a great weekend!


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I have already sent a PM to your hubbie, Stephen, so that we can talk over the phone about a number of issues that he may want to talk about.


I'd be happy to talk to your husband about the prospects of living in Adelaide if you PM your telephone number.

I have it in mind to hold a good old fashioned Aussie barbeque in December for you two families at my place and get a couple of the other troops up too. . . . I live on 7 acres in the Adelaide hills, so any kids can scream their heads off and no neighbours to worry about!

Will discuss details later.

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Thanks Bob,

excellent information as always.... :rolleyes:

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Hi Bob - A barbie would be cool! :ilikeit: I think Pippa will only be there on holiday in March though, but we are always game for a get-together and we definitely want to meet you all ASAP! We can have another one in March at our house then (Okay, we don't have a house yet, but we don't let such trivia put us off a party).

I wanted to mention to you & Annette and Marius, and anyone else in Adelaide - if you want anything brought over from these shores we can happily put it in our container. I am already bringing over a potjie-pot for a relative in Melbourne. Apparently she will fetch it in Adelaide, not sure how...

So if you think of anything South African you want, just drop me a line & I'll get it. Container should arrive by end January.

On my own list is a bigger potjie-pot (to feed our masses of new friends :unsure: ), a bread-pot and lots of lip-ice. I'm going to post a new topic asking for suggestions soon.

Bye, Bronwyn

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Hi Bob,

Thanks so much and oh wow, a Barbie sounds lovely, but we won’t be able to make it for December 2006 :ilikeit: . We are planning on visiting Adelaide in March 2007 and would love to meet you and the rest of the Forum-Adelaidians then!!!

Have a great week!


PS. I will pm you!

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  • 1 month later...

All summed up I think Adelaide depends on what lifestyle one enjoys. It is for this reason that you will get conflicting reports.

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  • 8 months later...

The company I have applied at, operates out of Adelaide. Reading through this thread sounds like Adelaide will suit me and my family just fine. Seeing that I grew up in the Free State and Northern Cape and stayed in Bloemfontein for 8 years, and some people compare it to a big Bloemfontein, it will do just fine for me thank you. (or so I hope...) :whome:

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Hi Renier,

We visited Adelaide in April 2007 and it is stunning :whome: ! Although we are going to Brisbane, Adelaide is definitely my 2nd choice! You will be happy there!

Good luck and all the best!

Bye, Pippa!

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