By Melissa Keogh
We brought you the story of the outback cop and her gang of joeys, seaside bakeries and teenage entrepreneurs.
More than 100 of our 2018 Regional Showcase stories, written by our pool of regional journalists and shared here on Brand SA News, have uncovered tales of success, creativity, and overcoming diversity.
Now we bring you the Top 15 Regional Showcase articles, decided with the help of you – the general public – as well as program sponsors, local councils and Regional Development Australia (RDA).
All pockets of regional South Australia have been covered, from far north in the outback down to the Fleurieu, over to the east on the Limestone Coast and stretching to the west on the Eyre Peninsula.
The Top 15 stories are now in the running to win one of three 2018 Regional Showcase awards, announced at an annual celebration evening on October 26 at The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.
One of the accolades, the People’s Choice Award, has been decided by your votes – 5500 of them – throughout the month of August.
The Business and Community awards judged by program sponsors, local councils and the RDA, will also be announced on the night.
Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen says this year’s program is shaping up to be another success.
“The number of votes received shows that people are passionate about the great work happening in our regions,” she says.
Tickets to the celebration evening are on sale now. Visit www.regionalshowcase.live.
TOP 15 REGIONAL SHOWCASE FINALISTS
Port Augusta-based business Max Cranes is reaching new heights with a move to welcome the largest telescopic crane in the southern hemisphere to its fleet.
The mobile crane will allow the Upper Spencer Gulf business to expand its capabilities in construction and maintenance of wind towers.
Max Cranes, co-founded by Mark Kuhn in 2002, has experienced upward growth in its workforce in the last 18 months as the infrastructure, mining, energy and resource sectors in SA surge forward.
Max Cranes Brinkworth Progress Association
This Mid North community group has worked hard in recent years to beautify the sleepy town of Brinkworth, raising money for the upgrade of visitor amenities, the town hall, camping grounds, playgrounds and walking trails.
Brinkworth had a population of 401 people in 2006, plummeting to just 188 in 2011, before creeping back up to 285 in 2016. Could it be the efforts of local volunteers drawing people back in? Read the story.
Carolyn’s Chemo Caps
Strathalbyn woman Carolyn Mugford is behind Carolyn’s Chemo Caps, special headwear for women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.
In the past five year’s she and her team of volunteers have made and delivered 10,000 chemo caps to oncology units in hopsitals across SA and VIC.
Carolyn made her first chemo cap in 2011 to hide her bald and sensitive scalp while undergoing cancer treatment herself. Read the story.
C3 Church Adelaide Hills
The Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt, run by the C3 Church Adelaide Hills, has drawn 90,000 visitors to the old German town’s main street to enjoy a European Christmas market atmosphere.
Now in its seventh year, the Christkindlmarkt held every December is run by volunteers. Read the story.
Clare Valley Enterprises
Clare Valley and Barossa Enterprises is the largest regional employer of people with disabilities, with its workers constructing custom made wooden labelled boxes for the wine industry.
Now the Clare Valley side of the business is looking to double its output and its workforce, following the opening of a new workshop there. Read the story.
Eyre Peninsula business Cowell Electric has managed power station and distribution networks for decades, providing thousands of customers in more than a dozen remote towns with electricity.
Cowell Electric has gone through ups and downs in its time, but in 2016 celebrated a major win – a $20m State Government contract to supply electricity within the APY Lands.
Recently, it was reported that the business has been taken over by local engineering and construction group Ahrens with managing director Sue Chase leaving the company for which she had helped create new fortunes. Read the story.
The Goolwa Bakery on the Fleurieu Peninsula is chasing new ventures by preparing to export its pies and pasties to Asia.
Owner Ben Hage will send batches of pepper pies and pastries to Singapore in 2019, and is also in discussions with a Singaporean grocery retailer.
It’s a big move for the country town bakery which has fed hungry locals and tourists in Goolwa for 105 years.
This family-owned business in Booleroo Centre in the state’s Far North is striving to help fire up the local economy by expanding its services and supporting job creation.
While two mechanic workshops and two bank branches have shut their doors in the past five years, Flinders Machinery has helped pick up the slack, extending its workshop to allow for servicing of the town’s vehicles.
It also takes on a small number of apprentices. Read the story.
Naracoorte man Hafeezullah Haidari runs a small Indian restaurant in Naracoorte. He came to Australia in 2013 after fleeing persecution in Pakistan.
He has rebuilt his life in the South East, and aside from running the restaurant, he gives back to the community that took him in by cooking free meals for the local CFS during bushfires, and also trains local students in hospitality.
Little Local Co
The Little Local Co coffee shop in Tailem Bend has finally brought good coffee and homemade baked treats to the transforming town.
Run by Amy and Neil Chinsami, the couple are preparing to open a second Little Local Co establishment along the main highway soon.
They draw inspiration on their Aboriginal and Fijian backgrounds, incorporating ingredients such as wattle seed from the Coorong and Raukkan areas into their cold brew. Read the story.
Paulett Wines in the Clare Valley established its Bush DeVine Café and planted a native sensory bush garden to create a point of difference.
The family-owned business not only knows how to make a good drop, but they also incorporate native bush tucker produce into the café’s dishes.
The extension of their business cafe has also allowed them to support youth employment. Read the story.
Renmark teenager Nathan Woodrow runs his own clothing label, Ryde Clothing, inspired by his love for skating, mountain biking, and wake boarding.
It took one magazine interview for word to get out about his label a few years back and now Nathan has sold more than 1000 units across the country.
He sketches the designs himself before screen printing them onto fabric from his home studio – a shipping container in the backyard. Read the story.
Susan Pearl from the Far North town of Blinman is an example of selflessness at its best.
Susan is the historic copper town’s first responder, meaning that if there is an accident or medical emergency, she’s the one on scene until an ambulance crew arrives.
Susan is also rostered on in Hawker and Port Augusta, and splits her time between the medical services and running tours at the Blinman Heritage Mine. Read the story.
Tumby Bay Progress Association
The Tumby Bay Progress Association celebrated the unveiling of a stunning artwork painted on the town’s giant grain silos in April this year.
Painted by Argentinean artist Martin Ron over five weeks, the mural has become a tourist attraction and joins a number of other silo artworks that have recently popped up across SA and VIC.
The progress association ran the project, officially launched in conjunction with the Colour Tumby Art Festival. Read the story.
Senior Constable Tiffany Greig
Senior Constable Tiffany Greig is stationed at the most remote police station in SA, 1200km from Adelaide in the red sandy town of Murputja in the APY Lands.
It’s not unusual to spot a rescued joey in the back seat of her patrol vehicle, as Tiffany takes in injured wildlife and is also followed around by a pack of cautious yet friendly wild dingoes.
Tiffany is also a bit of social media star with thousands of Instagram followers and once appearing on Channel 10’s The Project. Read the story.
We’re still on the hunt!
Just because the Top 15 has been announced doesn’t mean our story gathering is finished!
Regional Showcase is ongoing and we’re on the lookout now for more cracking regional yarns for inclusion in next year’s program.
Got an idea? Click on the link below to put forward your story suggestion.
Got a good story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>
These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:
Header image courtesy of SATC, John Montesi, scenery along RM Williams Way, Clare Valley.