‘Malls Balls’ a gift to Adelaide

By Lauren Ferrone

It’s the iconic stainless steel monument in Adelaide’s central retail precinct, but who exactly is behind gifting the city with its ‘Malls Balls’?

Unknown to many, Hindmarsh Building Society – which became Adelaide Bank before merging as Bendigo and Adelaide Bank – commissioned the 39-year-old monument and donated it to the City of Adelaide

Rundle Mall

We spoke with Joe Formichella, Bendigo Bank State Manager SA/NT, who shares the story behind the bank’s historic gift to Adelaide and explains how it’s a symbolism of the commitment to South Australia.

INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: There’s no doubt the Malls Balls has become a popular meeting place for many South Australians. Can you tell us a bit about Hindmarsh Building Society’s role in bringing the monument to Rundle Mall?

JOE FORMICHELLA: It was actually a gift to the City of Adelaide to mark its centenary in 1977, and I don’t think many people know it was the Hindmarsh Building Society who gifted it to city. It’s somewhat of a symbol of our bank’s history and commitment to South Australia, as well as to its arts and culture.

INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Would you say the bank’s presence in Rundle Mall goes beyond the Malls Balls, particularly with the opening of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s headquarters in Rundle Place a couple of years ago?

JOE FORMICHELLA: Most definitely. We’re in the heart of the city’s business and retail precinct in Rundle Mall. When the merger between Bendigo and Adelaide Bank happened in 2007, there was the plan to retain the head office in Adelaide.

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Rundle Mall’s Balls was a gift from Hindmarsh Building Society to the City of Adelaide to mark its centenary in 1977

INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: What was the reason to keep the head office in the city, particularly choosing Rundle Place as the location?

JOE FORMICHELLA: We definitely have a strong connection and investment in South Australia. In 2014, we opened the purpose-built 11-storey office tower which brings together more than 1,000 staff from across the Group. Similar to the bank’s donation of the Malls Balls, many people aren’t aware we have as many staff in the office tower as we do. It means we’re able to bring about 700 visitors to the city of Adelaide every single day, so it just adds to the vibrancy of the city itself, but also helps support many of the retail businesses here.

INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: While there’s that strong connection to the Rundle Mall precinct, how is Bendigo and Adelaide Bank committed to the rest of the State?

JOE FORMICHELLA: We continue to have a unique model here at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank for our retail networks in the city, but also a number of community banks in rural and regional areas to help those communities thrive and prosper. Over the past 17 years, the community bank model so far has reinstated about $14 million into the local community, supporting not just the retail industry, but many groups, projects, and sporting clubs. South Australia is part of who we are; we certainly look to continue to invest in and support local communities where we operate, as well as keep our presence growing with a history that dates all the way back to the donation of the Malls Balls.

Things you may not know about ‘The Malls Balls’…

– They’re actually spheres… not balls!

– The spheres stand at 4 metres tall and 2.15 metres in diametre.

– Austrian-born visual artist, Herbert Flugelman, created the spheres, as well as other well known Adelaide stainless steel monuments like the Adelaide Festival Theatre’s Tetrahedra.

– Boilermaker, Graham Sandell, spent two months polishing ‘the balls’ in 2014.

Inside Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s city head office, and its commitment to South Australia

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