Urban Exploration (UE) is an activity where people explore unusual or interesting places in the city. Traditionally these include disused institutions (think hospitals, schools and power plants), tunnels and waterways, and derelict buildings such as factories.
There also is a closely related activity called rooftopping, where people gain access to the top of buildings (often at unconventional times) and take photos of spectacular views.
There may also be a component of territory marking such as with graffiti, while photographic images of visited sites are often enhanced to make the locations appear more dramatic or mysterious.
Most of the younger people who enjoy urban exploration prefer abandoned buildings, although I can't see why the possibilities can't be broader. Mysteries can be found in many urban areas, even outside the metropolis.
In fact some people in UE forums seem content to submit images of places that are not explored or abandoned, but the images are sufficiently unusual to capture the imagination.
Urban Explorers face many risks. Some of which include:
unsafe materials such as asbestos, industrial chemicals and other contaminants
electrocution from live wiring
drowning from flash flooding in drains
entanglements with the law for trespass
unsafe structures, tunnel cav-ins
disease from contaminated water, mould etc
police and security patrols
None of these are sufficient to deter many who have tried this pastime. Fortunately those who take the sport more seriously take significant safety measures with appropriate equipment and dress.
At least one website promotes a code for UE. Unwritten Rule: Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints"
There is at least one other unwritten rule - Don't ask where the site is. It is often explained away by saying that newcomers should research and find their own site. But it probably is more simply a desire to protect territory.
Hart's Mill was built in 1855 and is currently listed as an SA heritage site. However that listing has not prevented other buildings from being demolished, and the listing only applies to the stone/brick structure and not to the iron sheds which have significance too.
Although certainly no architectural masterpiece, these toilets have provided a source of shelter, comfort and relief to many over the years.
A council asset management report in 2008 claimed that these toilets were erected in 1992, although a simple look at the buildings would have shown otherwise. A quick troll though the National Library's Trove website shows that their likely age is between 60 and 100 years old.
Whatever their provenance (and they do look somewhat dilapidated now), they are scheduled for destruction imminently.
Can't believe I missed this article (although I think it's because it was published in Everywhere, not Adelaide). Great stuff Dave.
I've always been fascinated in Urban Exploration, especially around Adelaide. Unfortunately I don't think it's something I'll ever get into, as I wouldn't know where to start, and I don't own a sensible enough pair of shoes...