Last Wednesday, my mum and I caught a bus and a train to the suburb of Alberton where the main character in my book, Brad, spends his childhood. We walked around for a couple of hours so I could get a 'feel' for the place and I took some photos. I was looking for houses, school, local footy oval and corner store that Brad frequents while growing up in the 1980s.
Alberton was quite different to the picture I had painted in my head so it turned out it was a good idea to visit the place for authenticity purposes. It is one of the older suburbs of Adelaide and has older style homes with such tiny front yards that the front door almost touches the fence. Apparently it used to be a bit dero 20 odd years ago but now the yuppies are moving in and seeing these old homes as a renovator's dream. The streets near the railway line are quite narrow but widen as you move further away. It seemed mostly to be a residential area because all I could find was an IGA, a fish and chips shop, a chemist and a deli. The old corner stores stand empty and the streets are lined with jacaranda trees. Overall, Alberton reminded me of Melbourne, Victoria Park and Mt Lawley all in one.
Although I was happy with the time I spent there and the photos I took, I can see that parts of the first thirteen chapters of my book will have to be my imagination. Obviously I can't get inside any houses or schools but I did find taking photos a helpful exercise because I struggle with descriptive writing unlike Tim Winton who takes about 20 pages to describe a beach!
At least I can say I've been to the place now!
It had a playground next to it.
Potential Brad house number 2.
The streets of Alberton.