And the 2018 Regional Showcase winners are …


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By Melissa Keogh

Our Top 15 finalists were an impressive bunch. Now the votes are in and the winners of Brand South Australia’s Regional Showcase program have been announced.

The Tumby Bay Progress Association took home the People’s Choice Award for its efforts in transforming the Eyre Peninsula seaside town’s stunning silo mural.

Another volunteer-run community group, the Brinkworth Progress Association, won the Community Award for its hard work in recent years to improve facilities in the quiet Mid North town.

The Business Award went to Eyre Peninsula power service company Cowell Electric, a bust to boom company employing more than 100 people across its Cowell and Olympic Dam sites.

Individual success stories from across regional SA were celebrated at Brand South Australia’s annual statewide celebration evening on October 26 at one of the state’s hottest new attractions, the multimillion-dollar Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.

The Tumby Bay art silos. Photo by Robert Lang Photography.

The remaining 12 finalists were also celebrated for their achievements in business success, innovation, and community spirit.

More than 200 people travelled to Tailem Bend from all corners of the state, including the Riverland, APY Lands, Adelaide Hills, Mid North and Eyre Peninsula.

Finalists included Port Augusta business Max Cranes, inspiring Limestone Coast restauranteur and Afghan refugee Hafeezullah Haidari, and outback ambulance volunteer Susan Pearl from historic mining town Blinman. Click here to read the Top 15 stories.

“I’d like to thank everyone who was involved, including the nominees, our team of journalists, the finalists and winners as well as the general public for reading the stories and voting,” says Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen.

“Of course, this special program would not be possible without the support of the councils, sponsors and each of our partners, in particular, our major partner and sponsor Primary Industries and Regions SA.”

Red earth and blue skies at Cowell Electric’s Olympic Dam site.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, congratulates all winners and finalists.

“The stories of this year’s showcase program have really reflected the vital role that our regions play in the state’s economy and wellbeing,” he says.

“There are so many positive stories to uncover throughout SA, and the Regional Showcase does just that – sharing and celebrating the achievements of our regions across the state, and the world.”

ABC radio presenter Spence Denny hosted the evening. The three winners were awarded the iconic glass pear trophies which are synonymous with regional excellence and endeavour.

Brinkworth Progress Association members lay engraved pavers in time for the town’s 125th anniversary.

Community Award – Brinkworth Progress Association

This local community group is a prime example of volunteers working together for the better of their people.

The Brinkworth Progress Association in the Mid North has worked hard in recent years to beautify the town, raising money for the upgrade of visitor amenities, attractions, camping groups and walking trails.

Brinkworth has suffered a population drain in 2011, with local numbers dropping from 401 in 2006 to just 188 in 2011. But it crept back up in 2016 with 285. Could it be the efforts of local volunteers drawing people back in?

Business Award – Cowell Electric

This Eyre Peninsula business manages power stations and distribution networks, providing 2400 customers in 13 remote towns with electricity.

The business was formerly run by managing director Sue Chase who is stepping down and handing the Cowell Electric reigns to fellow regional company Ahrens.

Cowell Electric has overcome economic hardship in the past, as it faced liquidation in 2000 until Sue stepped in and steered a huge turnaround.

People’s Choice Award – Tumby Bay Progress Association

Earlier this year Tumby Bay unveiled its stunning artwork painted on the town’s giant grain silos.

The Tumby Bay Progress Association ran the project which has since become a major tourist attraction.

Painted by Argentinean artist Martin Ron over five weeks, the artwork joins a number of other works that have popped up on silos across country SA and Victoria.


HOLD UP! That’s not it for Regional Showcase. We’re always on the hunt for a good yarn, regional success stories and examples of country folk going above and beyond for their community.

Submit a story idea for the 2019 Regional Showcase, and give an individual, business or organisation the recognition they deserve.

Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

Major Partner

Primary Industries and Regions of South Australia (PIRSA)
Program Partners

Bendigo Bank
Dr Jones & Partners
Uni SA
Seniors Card
Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Education Foundation of South Australia
Statewide Super

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