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Published December 25th 2014
In 1924, an Adelaide Engineer designed a power line pole made of two steel joists held apart by a slab of concrete in the middle. The pole became affectionately known as the Stobie Pole, after its inventor, James Cyril Stobie (1895–1953).
But while this stobie pole has been extremely functional, it has often been considered as a blight on the landscape, with two actions taken to remove the blight. In most cases nowadays, power supply has gone underground and road lights have become more aesthetic. However in older areas where the cost of taking the power underground is too excessive, we have seen a proliferation of paintings occur on the trusty and long-living stobie pole. But where is Adelaide's most artistic stobie pole ?
Some people say that since the invention of the stobie pole, artists have been painting stobie poles. Well, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. What I think they meant to say is that after discounting the bus stop artists from TransAdelaide, State Transport Authority and the Municipal Tramways Trust, stobie poles have been painted for years.
From as early as the mid 1980's when Clifton Pugh painted Adam and Eve on a stobie pole in Prospect and created some national interest in the painting of stobie poles, this form of street art commenced. Since that time the stobie pole has been adopted by schools and community groups, and often painted to reflect a local theme or a nearby facility.
It's nice when they are placed near a bus stop while you are waiting. Don't think they are a distraction at all, it's great when you see kids involved with them as well. Especially in the Semaphore area.