Where everybody knows your name

People of Adelaide


Posted on 14 Oct 2019

Adelaide-born Tania De Masi has, like others, spent time away from the city through her adult life. Coming back though has bought with it a clarity around what she loves most about the city - a place that, in her own words, has heart. Here she shares her recollections of returning home.


As a young adult in Adelaide, that thought - 'where everybody knows your name' - used to horrify me. My desire for independence and anonymity was as strong as craving an association with a place that was perceived as desirable. A place where I was familiar, therefore characterised a place that was small, insular and clingy.

Flash-forward 25 years and that whole concept has shifted. I like walking along streets and recognising parts of my life, places where I grew up, explored, had experiences and learned to be me.

Despite living away for longer than I’ve lived here, I still refer to it as home. It’s familiar yet not entirely the same - and it’s for that very reason that I was able to return, all these years later, unquestionably older, somewhat wiser, and entirely appreciative of the fact that Adelaide has remained true to its unique roots.

Cocktails at madam hanoi

cocktails at madam hanoi.

West Park Lands

the leafy west park lands.

Sym Choon Lane street art

creative laneways - east end street art.

The city is compact, accessible, not small. Boutique is the word usually applied to reflect places that are small in stature when there isn’t anything to really say about them. There is however plenty to say about Adelaide.

I love how clean it is, how you can watch the sun setting with a blaze of rich orange between the buildings as they funnel away to the horizon. I love that you can see the hills, diffused by distance as you stand in the heart of the city and I love how quickly I speed away my commute, reading on the train.

I love that the Adelaide Central Market remains the best market in Australia, and I’ve shopped in many; from Paddy’s to Prahran, South Melbourne to Footscray and even Queen Vic has nothing on her aunt for accessible variety, history and community.

It’s a city filled with faces that wear their heritage with pride, a place that’s bred supermodels and haute couture, where horsepower and history complement the other and laneway bars sit cheek to jowl surrendering none of their individuality.
Tania De Masi

There’s dining intimate enough that a chef acknowledges a newcomer, yet significant enough to snatch the nation’s Best Restaurant title.

The previous mantel of a town; conservative and backward has well and truly been shrugged off and what has emerged is a city; innovative, creative, welcoming and natty. It’s honest, uncompromising and opportunity-rich, a place people choose to go. As someone who left for somewhere that offered possibilities, it’s that same inducement that’s brought me home.

My brow furrows when I think that progress might bring with it a flashy popularity, that the very essence that attracts me will be twisted into a bland assimilation. Thankfully in my more lucid moments, I realise that won’t happen, this city has way too much heart.

While it is developing a broad if not quirky notoriety, the once defensive position is no longer the default. No longer compelled to justify what it has, it seems that the world has finally caught up and is doing the job of spruiking for us.

Article by

Tania De Masi

Tania De Masi

Tania is a creative director who crossed back over from the dark side and lives by the beach with her partner and puppy. Her quest for a quiet life is habitually interrupted by a fierce passion for creative integrity and sampling the spoils of the city’s west end. She reads voraciously, does not discriminate when it comes to food, has an enviable veggie garden where she works to maintain her zen and is tackling the art of baking - using her colleagues as official tasters much to the disappointment of her partner’s sweet tooth.


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