The ‘Mall’s Balls’ as they are fondly known by local Adelaideans, are an iconic landmark in our CBD pedestrian mall. I’m sure many a tryst has been made to ‘meet by the balls’. Officially, the four metre tall stainless steel sculpture is known as “The Spheres’. With a diameter of 2.15 metres, it has been sculpted by Bert Flugelman. The Mall’s Balls have loomed large since 1977.
Another more mobile Adelaide icon is Johnny Haysworth who was a regular visitor to Rundle Mall. He could be seen striding down the mall in his white gumboots toting a koala backpack. I remember the first time I saw him. Curious, I asked if anyone knew who he was and what his story was. No-one seemed to know much about him other than he walked around the city – a lot. And always wore white gumboots along with assorted colourful and eye-catching outfits. You could not help but notice him.
Over the last couple of years Johnny has not been seen around Adelaide much at all. Apparently he has moved back to his roots in the Clare Valley, a wine growing region 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. The original inhabitants of this region are the Ngadjuri people. I wonder if they are John’s people too. In his own words:
Born in Adelaide and grew up in a small town north of Adelaide called Clare in the lovely Flinders Ranges in South Australia, Australia. This is a portrait about my life, the journey so far and trying to express what I would like to express and perhaps trying to make or do just that. Fashion is one of my favorite interests along with sport, cars, women, wildlife etc! I have and will always dedicate my life to the Lord Jesus Christ & I believe in equality, peace & fairness for everyone and everything so there is respect there for people from every walk of life and also nature. I try and be myself but I try and do the right thing in life as well. If you decide to visit this facebook site or page temporarily and then move on because it’s a big world out there then all the best in your journey in life, so welcome. John
Seeing this video about Johnny has taken me on a trip down memory lane. The Clare Valley is a beautiful part of our state. Many long years ago we spent a weekend touring and wine tasting with friends at some of the delightful, boutique wineries that were scattered around the valley. One of the more unique places is theSevenhill winery. It was established by Austrian Jesuits escaping religious and political persecution in the early 1850’s. The winery, still fully functional, has had seven winemakers, the current one being Jesuit Winemaker Emeritus, Brother John May, SJ. Aside from sacramental and altar wines made as naturally as possibly with minimal winemaking intervention in conformity with the requirements of ecclesiastical authorities under Canon Law, they also offer a selected range of other wines. Having sampled some, I can safely say they brew a fine drop.
On the grounds is the above beautiful old church,St Aloysius. Built from local stone, it has the only crypt below a parish church in Australia, providing the final resting place for 41 Jesuits. The College building, South Australia’s first Catholic secondary school (1856 – 1886) is now home to the local Jesuits and also hosts special retreats and programs. The grounds that surround these buildings are beautiful, with many walking paths and places to rest and be still.
Skillogalee is a name I have never forgotten. It has such a lilt to it. And an interesting history. We wound our way along a narrow, twisting dirt track through the eucalypts, flowering wattle trees and other native fauna to get to our destination. Set in the middle of the Australian bush of the Clare Valley, the main sales area was a quaint, tiny stone cottage originally built by a Cornish miner. John Trestrail, together with his wife and 17 children ran a mixed home farm there. Given the size of the cottage, I cannot begin to imagine how 19 people could squeeze into it! This boutique family business had not been open long when we visited. I can remember having to bend my head to walk in the door. The sales area was so small that five of us filled the space. We had a delightful, rustic and tasty lunch there, in the middle of the bush. These days they have a restaurant and operate a B&B. And I expect the road is in better condition than back then. I can’t help but feel a sense of loss at ‘progress’.