The Mall’s Balls, officially known as (The) Spheres, is an Adelaide sculpture of iconic proportions.
Locals use it as a meeting spot, the easiest location to navigate without having to think. When friends organise to catch up, they say, “Let’s meet at the Balls!” and that’s that.
It’s only natural that we would choose to start here for the majority of our walking tours, so everyone gets that local experience!
So what makes these two silver steel balls special?
Well, it’s always been thought-provoking. It was a Modernist, abstract piece when it was unveiled in Rundle Mall in 1977. And people were excited by that. In the words of Australian television’s most unique characters Kath and Kim, it was “noice, different, unuuuusual”.
It quickly became an important part of Adelaide’s changing face in the 1970s – a time when our cultural heritage as an arts capital was blooming. We were shaping ourselves in a fluid way, much like the smooth curves of the Balls, trying to break conservatism that had grappled the city for a long time. In years following, the play on words available from the sculpture has allowed Adelaide to toughen itself up. The city really does have balls.
For generations of Adelaideans, the sculpture is still something that stands out – any decent promotional photo of Rundle Mall/Adelaide in general has it right in the middle. And, while in decades since, Adelaide saw a return to that conservatism, the newest wave of revitalisation is breaking those shackles once more.
Getting travellers to meet at the Mall’s Balls actually means so much more than just meeting at a noticeable sculpture. It’s meeting at a place of culture, a place of changing attitudes.
How else would you want to start a walking tour?
Come walk with us and find out more on either our daily tips-based Adelaide walking tour, or a private tour, where you’ll get more in-depth information without the crowds.
And let us know your Mall’s Balls memory in the comments!
Missed last week’s post? Read about how taking a walk with us breeds harmony.