Goodwood & Unley – Exploring Old Adelaide

Unley House
Okay, I did go to Adelaide to spend some time at the Fringe, however instead of spending Friday afternoon wandering around the CBD looking at what was on offer, I decided to jump on the new electric train and wander around the backstreets of the inner southern suburbs. Despite not seeing the buskers performing in Rundle Mall and visiting the Garden of Unearthly Delights before the crowds arrived, a trek from Goodwood to Unley was still quite a pleasant day out. Anyway, I did want to get another video of the electric train so I could post it up on Youtube for the benefit to the followers that I seem to have collected (and maybe I should start watching some of their clips – then again I really don’t have that much time).
And this was supposed to be an express

Anyway, as I have done with some of my other travels by foot, I’ll post a map of where I went (though this time I cheated a bit and caught a bus along Unley Road) and talk about some of the places that I went by numbering my stops (or even if I didn’t stop, at least rabbit on about the place). So, first of all, here’s the map:

Map of my travels

One of the things that I do like about walking through some of these older suburbs is that you are almost taken back in time to the early twentieth century when many of the houses were lived in by the working class, not that early Adelaide was a working class city. Mind you, a lot has changed since then and like many of the inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney, this part is Adelaide is also becoming gentrified (though you won’t be paying as much for a house here as you would be over there). Anyway, here are some photos of the houses in the area:

Unley House 02Goodwood House 02
Unley House 01Goodwood House 01


They probably thought I was some sort of property developer

It is still quite interesting looking at the different styles of houses, even in similar areas of the same city. In the inner suburbs of Melbourne many of the houses are single story and joined onto each other, where as in Sydney many of them are two, even three, story terrace houses. However here in Adelaide the old houses of the inner suburbs have a lot more space and are somewhat larger, though as I moved over into Unley the houses became smaller, but they were not packed together as they were in Melbourne. I guess this had a lot to do with Light’s Vision in that the city of Adelaide was to be built so that there was space, as opposed to being all crammed in together as was the case with many of the cities in Europe (where space is at a premium).

Anyway, enough of the houses and let us visit some of the places that I passed on my afternoon stroll.

1) Royal Adelaide Showgrounds

It seems like every city, and in fact every major town, has something akin to the showgrounds. Okay, the original idea of the Royal Show was for the farmers to bring their best animals to the city to have them judged, however over time it has blossomed into an annual event which includes famous rides such as the Mad Mouse and a plethora of showbags that are filled with sweets and other useless junk. I still remember as a kid (and even the occasional times I came here as an adult) seeing families walking around the place lugging more showbags than they could even expect to carry with two hands. Mind you, it is not just the Royal Show that has brought me here as I have been here on other occasions, such as raves, and even university exams. While I only walked past the showgrounds this time I could see that they were preparing for another music festival – Future Music.

Godwood Park Hotel
Certainly not my best photo

2) The Goody 

Well, after a short walk from the railway station (through the side streets of course because the other route simply took me past a huge block of flats) I arrived a this pub which doesn’t really bring back all that many memories because I haven’t really been here all that much. From what I remember I came here once after an exam to have some drinks with friends, and I came here another Friday night because I hadn’t really been here all that much. Anyway I decided to stop in for a drink (because that is what I generally do when I come to a pub – though not always) only to discover that it was pretty empty – probably because it was 11:00 am on a Friday morning, so obviously people weren’t finishing work all that early, even though it was the Fringe.

Capri Theatre
I’ve seen some interesting films here

3) Goodwood Village

A short walk south along Goodwood Road, just across the tramline, brings you to what I would call Goodwood Village. It is a quaint little suburban shopping strip that seems to have changed very little since the early days (or at least the 1950s, because it really does feel like the old charm of the place has changed very little). The thing that really stands out about the place is that the developers haven’t moved in, knocked down all of the buildings, and set up some modern shopping centre. In fact, other than a Subway a little further down the road, you won’t encounter any of those shopping centres until you hit Cross Road (I know because I used to live down there).

Goodwood - Greek Orthodox Church
This church is frequented by the Greeks
Along with a couple of old churches, there are a handful of cafes and a few restaurants, as well as a bar. One of the restaurants I walked past reminded me of Don Don’s in Melbourne in that there was a line outside stretching down the road. No doubt, like Don Don’s (which I really should go to one day because if there is a line, no doubt the people waiting in the line really like the place – unless of course they are in the line because they see all of these other people in the line), the food is cheap, tasty, and pretty quick to prepare.
While I was here I decided to step into one of the cafes (Whisk,  for a cup of tea). I must say that the cafe was really nice and had a very homely atmosphere. It was funny watching this guy come in with his child and the child (who was probably about five years old), taking his wallet and placing his order (they sure do teach them young). They then sat in the bay window because, as he explained, his boy loved watching the trams go buy, and that was the only place you could see the tram (I’m really starting to like this kid).
Wisk Cafe interior
I really like places decorated as such.
Another place I should mention is the Capri Theatre. Okay, it may not be The Astor, but it does come pretty close. In fact they show a number of double features during their Cult Classic sessions (and a quick look on their website has them playing a Dirty Harry double feature, an Aliens double feature, and a Back to the Future double feature). I even remember going to one of these double features years ago with some friends from the Adelaide University Film Society (who also specialised in showing cult classics). They still have the piano sitting next to the movie screen and have been told by some of the older generation that they can remember the piano being played before the feature film would begin.
Goodwood Village Tree
I just had to post a photo of this tree

4) King William Road

After wandering around the village (and finishing off my cup of tea) I decided to plunge into the side streets and walk over to King William Road. So, I walked past quite a few old houses, through a park where children were playing and a council worker was mowing the lawn, past some more old houses and an old Church that has evidentially been purchased by the Christodelphians, and out onto King William Road in Hyde Park.

Goodwood Park
I didn’t think the council worker would be too impressed with me taking a photo of him

Anyway, there were a couple of places I wanted to visit on King William Road, one of them being a coffee shop, another being the pub (which I hadn’t been too before – but more on that later). Anyway, the coffee shop turned out not to be a coffee shop, but rather a bar (therefore Google lied to me). So I continued walking down the road until I found myself another place where I could have a cup of tea. It was then that I discovered why I don’t drink tea at coffee shops in Adelaide – it is because the water is disgusting. Mind you, to add insult to injury, they even had the audacity to charge me $4.50 for drinking tea made from Adelaide water (and if you know anything about Adelaide it is that their tap water is foul). Seriously, can’t they even use a water filter, even if they are way too stingy to use spring water?

Hyde Park - Spats Cafe
This wasn’t the cafe by the way – this one was closed

Anyway, as I continued my trek along King William Road it suddenly dawned on me the nature of this part of Adelaide – it is really classy. It is not trendy in the way Northcote or Prahran are trendy – rather it has more of an upper class atmosphere to it. It is one of the few parts of Adelaide that hasn’t been invaded by the chain stores, though many of the shops around here do carry a fairly high price tag. It does have the feel of some parts of Chapel Street though, especially when you move away from the area between Dandenong Road and High Street, which is mostly bars and clubs, to where the residents of Toorak do their shopping.

Hyde Park Tavern
The Toorak Tractors sort of give the game away

5) Hyde Park Tavern

Well, I don’t think I have ever actually been to this pub before, which was one of the reasons that I came down here. Mind you, I’ve never really graced this part of Adelaide all that much (except when I was driving one of my ‘girl friends’ home). They do (or did) have a really cool video store down here called Kino, which had a huge collection of cult and foreign films (and I believe I even joined as a member). However, once again, I only ever went to that video store a few times, and only when I lived in the area (not in Hyde Park, but a short drive away). As for this pub, well, I’d never had a reason to go here before because it was never on my friend’s radar and we never selected this place for a meal, or even a few drinks.

So, I decided to rectify that, and well, I can’t say that there was anything all that impressive about this place. However, instead of writing a review on the pub here (because I do that on other sites – I’m just sharing a story of my travels through Goodwood and Unley) I’ll simply say that I had a beer (and they do have craft beers on tap, but then again this is Hyde Park so I’m not surprised) and then continued on my journey.

Unley - The Cremorne
Yep, that’s right – another pub

6) The Cremorne

Okay, now that I have marked the third pub on this post you are all probably thinking that I am an alcoholic. All I’ll say is that I like visiting pubs, especially pubs that I have never been to before, and since I also post reviews up on True Local, I have found that pubs (and coffee shops) are some of the best places to review, namely because you can get a good impression of a place simply by ordering a drink and spending fifteen minutes inside reading a book.

However the Cremorne is hardly a pub that I am unfamiliar with, having been here a few times. I believe my first excursion here was years ago when my friend wanted to get a carton of beer and this was the closest pub to where we lived (which in fact it wasn’t, but he didn’t want to walk too far and we could catch a bus here). However, I became a bit more regular when I started some evening courses at the Bible College of South Australia (which was just around the corner) so after work, and before class began, I would get off of the bus one stop earlier and come here for a drink (yes, Bible College students do drink beer, however I was only checking it out, not actually studying to become a member of the clergy).

Unley Rememberance Gardens
We certainly like to remember things

7) Unley Remembrance Gardens

Initially I was simply going to catch a bus from the Cremorne, but then discovered that there was a bit more to Unley than simply a strip of franchised shops as far as the eye could see. So, I decided to walk down the road to remember one of my old haunts. One of them happened to be this park. The reason I say that is because I had a friend (who happened to be a girl, but she was not my girlfriend, despite us spending a lot of time together) who lived around here, so we would take the occasional walk through this park (usually to either get to the bus stop, or so she could go shopping).

This is a park dedicated to those who fought and died in World War I (and later World War II) so that we could speak English as opposed to German. In fact, it is really hard not to find a memorial, or a park, like one of these in Australia, especially if the town or suburb dates back to the early to mid twentieth centuries. Mind you, the newer the suburb, the less likely you are to find a memorial (you usually just find some really tacky piece of modern art outside the council chambers).

Another thing that tends to stand out about these places is that there is always a cannon sitting somewhere. Okay, the cannons (or should I say artillery piece, though I doubt that there is really any different, except that cannons are more prone to blowing up if not loaded correctly) generally don’t work, but I remember as a kid I always loved playing on them.

Sometimes I wonder if these memorials harken back to the Old Testament where God would tell the Israelites to set up memorials so that when their children would see them and ask them what they meant the older generation could then tell them the stories of the good things that God had done. However, I don’t ever remember asking my father (or mother) what those cannons meant, and sometimes I wonder, since these wars are getting so further and further into the past, that the true horror of the event is having less of an impact. In a way, these memorials were designed to remind us that never again do we want to go down that road (though as we are all aware, twenty years after the end of World War I Europe was once again plunged into a war much worse than the one that they had finished).

Unley Town Hall
I wanted to see this building

8) Unley Village

Next to the gardens you will come to the village, however there is now a large, modern shopping centre (actually, it’s not all that large, but it is still modern, and it is still a shopping centre) in the area, though it has been there for as long as I can remember. On the opposite side of the road you still have the old council chambers, and two churches (one of them Anglican and one of them a Uniting Church). Mind you, Unley Road is actually one really long shopping strip, meaning that you can walk from Cross Road to Greenhill Road (or drive) without actually seeing any houses. Some of the shops, or the buildings in which these shops are located, are quite new, others of them still hold that historic charm.

However, the reason I came here is because when I was standing outside the Cremorne I noticed that there were a few old buildings that I wanted to check out, so I wandered down here to do just that (not that I hadn’t been here before, it is just I wanted to see them again). However, I had been walking for quite a bit, so I ended up sitting at the bus stop to wait for the bus to take me to my next location.

9) Boho Bar

Okay, yes, this is another pub, but it is one of those pubs with which I do have a lot of memories. It is one of Adelaide’s trendier pubs, and has a really cool atmosphere inside. However I’ve also noticed that they were in the middle of renovations (they are setting up a rooftop deck for all of the smokers so they don’t have to pile out onto the streets, and so they can smoke their cigarettes and drink their beer at the same time). I do remember coming here for a friend’s engagement party, and also coming here for a few drinks at other times. In a way it is one of those bars that is quite popular with certain crowds, however tends to be hidden away because it is not in the centre of the city. Adelaide, unlike some of the other cities, does not have a huge nightlife strip outside of the Square Mile.

Leicester Arms
Last pub, I swear

10) Leicester Arms

This was my final stop before I made my way back into Adelaide so that I could visit the Fringe (well, actually, I had a few more stops, but I will say that I finished off here). So, after living some fond memories back in the Boho Bar I once again plunged into the side streets and meandered through to the Leicester Arms. In a way I preferred wandering through the back streets of Unley simply to look at the many old houses that line the streets (as well as taking numerous photos – though I did get some odd looks). I finally arrived at this pub, a pub that I had only been to once before, and that was after the first night of a Christian conference (see, I told you – Christians do drink beer). Okay, we were supposed to be up early in the morning, but we still wanted to finish the night off with a drink or two, so we came here, simply because it was just around the corner.

So, I knew it was time to finish off my trek through the inner southern suburbs of Adelaide when I received a call from my friend letting me know that he had finished work. Mind you, my journey around here wasn’t completed just yet because there were a few other places that I was planning on visiting, however for the purposes of my story, and the fact that I was to have a further adventure at the Adelaide Fringe that night, we will call it quits for now.

Creative Commons License
Goodwood & Unley – Exploring Old Adelaide by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.

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