South Australia in 2018 – a year in review


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By Cat Lever

Get out your sparklers, 2018 is drawing to a close. The Earth has almost orbited the sun for yet another term, and while South Australia might be just a tiny speck on this great planet of ours, plenty happened in our much-loved state.

Let’s take a look back at what happened in SA this year.


The year kicked off with the Adelaide Strikers cricket team winning the 2017/18 Big Bash League, defeating the Hobart Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval by 25 runs.


McLaren Vale Foodland IGA (Romeo’s Retail Group) was awarded the coveted title of Australian International Retailer of the Year at the 2018 IGA Global Rally.

Global movie giant Technicolor announced a $26 million visual effects centre in Adelaide, set to create 500 new jobs.


The 2018 Adelaide Fringe broke records generating a near 20% increase in visitor expenditure to $29.5 million, and $90.6 million in gross economic expenditure for SA.

The Liberal Party took over government, welcoming Steven Marshall as SA’s 46th Premier.

Kytons Bakery turned 80 and celebrated by baking half a million hot cross buns over Easter.

Happy 80th birthday Kytons! PHOTO: Alice Boorman.


We backed severe weather ravaged orchards through the Hailstorm Heroes campaign after a severe hailstorm in 2017 wiped out much of the crops, making our growers suffer as fruit hit the shelves this year.

Stretching 7.77km long, The Bend Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend is the world’s second-largest permanent circuit, and it made history in April by holding its first ever motor sport event, the Shannons Nationals Round 1.

Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula became home to its own silo mural, taking 430 litres of paint and 400 hours of work to create the giant stunning artwork. The creation earned the Tumby Bay Progress Association the People’s Choice Award at Brand South Australia’s 2018 Regional Showcase Celebration Evening.

The mural took five weeks to complete and 430 litres of paint. PHOTO: Robert Lang Photography.


Port Augusta-based business Max Cranes welcomed the largest telescopic crane in the southern hemisphere to its fleet. The $10m telescopic mobile crane has a capacity of 1200 tonnes allows Upper Spencer Gulf business to expand its capabilities in construction and maintenance of wind towers across the country.

The 1200 tonne crane is the largest in the southern hemisphere.


One of Adelaide’s most iconic landmarks, the GPO Exchange building, set new benchmarks in sustainability and smart technology for city office towers as it continued a $250 million redevelopment which aims for six Green Stars.

Thousands of SA jobs were secured in coming decades when BAE Systems was announced as the winner of the $35 billion Future Frigates program.

A $330 million expansion of the Adelaide Casino –including a luxury hotel – was announced; the largest private sector investment in Adelaide’s history.

A $165 million expansion for Adelaide Airport was also announced – the airport’s largest infrastructure upgrade in more than a decade.


South Australians rose early to catch a glimpse of a rare ‘blood moon’, the longest lunar eclipse this century.

The Art Gallery of SA appointed its first female director in its 137-year history.


We made it to the New York Times thanks to a Mexican restaurant in Salisbury! The publication touted Taco Quetzalcoatl one of the best representations of Mexican food in Australia.

Adelaide was ranked as the eighth healthiest city on the planet by online home rental platform, Spotahome.

Adelaide-born professional road racing cyclist Rohan Dennis obliterated the opposition to take gold at the UCI Road World Championships in Austria.


The next chapter of the Holden site began with German energy giant Sonnen choosing the former car factory as the centre of its home battery manufacturing operations.


Life was reinstated to the much-loved Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in the Adelaide Hills with to a Western Australian couple, who packed up and relocated to Mylor to reinvigorate the national treasure.

Decorated chef Jock Zonfrillo’s Rundle Street fine-dining restaurant Orana was named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year in the prestigious Good Food Guide awards.

Adelaide United Football Club won the FFA Cup Final, defeating Sydney Football Club 2–1.

It’s rare, it’s temperamental, it stinks, and South Australians were completely fascinated by it. Yes, it’s the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s Corpse Flower, which bloomed for 48 hours and attracted thousands of visitors.

The iconic Violet Crumble chocolate bar began production in Adelaide after South Australian sweets maker Robern Menz acquired the brand from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé earlier in the year.

Phil, left, and Richard Sims from Robern Menz.


Adelaide hosted the Great Wine Capitals annual meeting for the first time since joining the exclusive global network, and our wine regions were showcased on the world stage as about 100 wine industry heavyweights descended upon the state for the event.

Mt Gambier music teacher Scott Maxwell of Grant High School was awarded Music Teacher of the Year at the ARIA Awards, Australian music’s night of nights.

Fashionistas made room in their wardrobes as global fashion giant H&M opened its doors in the redeveloped Rundle Mall Plaza.

Cave diver and anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris was named SA Australian of the Year, after his crucial role in rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave this year.

The world’s most unusual cellar door, the d’Arenberg Cube, took out the coveted International Best of Wine Tourism Award at a gala dinner as part of the Great Wine Capitals annual meeting.

The four storey, $14 million glass-encased steel and concrete structure was inspired by Rubik’s Cube.


Everyone pulled out their Christmas jumpers as temperatures barely reached over 16C for what was the coldest December day since 1968.

British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta continued to make a household name for himself this year as he invested in the town of Whyalla. The biggest coup came in December when the steel magnate shared plans for a “mega” steel plant and the Whyalla Council anticipated its population to explode from 22,000 to 80,000 in the next 10 to 20 years as the regional centre embarks on an ambitious upgrade to the steelworks and local infrastructure.

In what was arguably SA’s proudest announcement in 2018 was Adelaide winning the bid to host Australia’s first dedicated space centre. Lot Fourteen (the old Royal Adelaide Hospital) was named as the home for the the new Australian Space Agency.


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