An airy, futuristic blue building that smells of new paint and is surrounded by, well, not a great deal just yet is the heart of Technology Park Adelaide. This is Australia's first research park and probably as visible a manifestation as there is of what park director Barry Orr calls a ''galvanizing national awareness'' of the country's need to regear toward new technologies. Some 60 percent of the main building, Innovation House, is already optioned, he explains. His map of the 200-plus-acre park is bright with yellow splotches indicating where potential tenants have options.
Workmen are preparing offices for tenants about to move in, and across the way, a plant is under construction for a firm that will produce consumer audio goods and also antennas.
The park is intended to counter the ivory-tower mentality that has been typical of Australian research organizations, says Mr. Orr.
He travels extensively across the United States, trying to recruit companies there. But he acknowledges that the park's best hope will be to woo local start-up enterprises. The park hopes to capitalize on Adelaide's technology strengths in defense, mining, and genetics.
''We are not going to lead the world in microelectronics,'' Mr. Orr says, ''but there are certain things we can do well: hybrid circuits, for instance, special designs, and maskmaking'' - essential components in microelectronics manufacturing.