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Australia in Style

Very, VERY excited to receive a copy of this incredible book produced by RM Williams Publishing in conjunction with The Tailor – Australia’s premier luxury travel specialist. 

I wrote two of the articles, and one of them involved a trip to Port Lincoln…immersing myself in the experiences on offer when you book a tour through Goin Off Safaris. Here’s some highlights:

Inside South Australia

I was  involved in a Brand SA project throughout 2016, sharing good news stories from the Limestone Coast for the Inside South Australia website.

Photo by Ockert Le Roux http://www.oxenburg.com

I was so lucky to have the opportunity to write about people I seriously admire, including photographer Ockert Le Roux, whose striking images are not only luring tourists to the region but inspiring locals to explore their own backyard. Brian and Benedetta Wagner from Wagner’s Rose Nursery at Kalangadoo, vegan cook Leah Franklin from ‘just frank’, and the uber successful Generations in Jazz music festival (which is on again from May 5-7, 2017) also feature on the website. 

The 90 x 40-metre tent housing last year’s 6000-strong crowd was the largest big top South Australia has ever seen.

Mundulla’s Sustainable Community

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tidier, more community-driven town than Mundulla on SA’s Limestone Coast. It’s total tree-change perfection, from the gorgeous sculptures awaiting discovery on the walking trail…

To the historic buildings…

And those idyllic farming scenes that look straight from a film set!

RT Images and I made this video as part of Mundulla’s national entry for the KESAB Sustainable Communities award. We also have some more good news stories on Tatiara towns coming soon!

Robotic Dairies – PIEFA Project

Over the last couple of years, I have been working on the production of a series of videos for the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) and Primezone in conjunction with creative agency Hello Friday. We have filmed at a cotton farm, a cotton mill, a piggery, a fish farm, a hydroponic herb grower, an organic apple farm, a woollen mill, a lobster factory, native bush foods growers, restaurants…the list is long!

It’s incredible (and exciting) to see how far technology has come; there was none of that getting up at the crack of dawn bizzo at the robotic dairy we visited in WA – unless, of course, you get a smart phone alert to say that one of the cows hasn’t come in to be milked.

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Do-it-yourself milking

Technician Robbie Nichols and dairy farmer Malcom Hick explain how it works…

Generations in Jazz – Mount Gambier

Mount Gambier in SA’s Limestone Coast is Australia’s jazz hot spot largely thanks to Generations in Jazz, and it’s my job to help spread the word. This spectacular annual event on the outskirts of the city made famous for its Blue Lake not only attracts the jazz legends of today, but the bright stars of tomorrow, bringing together up to 4400 of Australia’s most talented musicians, along with a growing list of global artists.

High school students from more than 100 schools around the nation compete in the Stage Band Awards, while highly coveted Jazz and Vocal Scholarships help to secure the musical destiny of individuals with enormous promise. And then there are the daily concerts – the sound inside the James Morrison big top pavilion, seating up to 6100 people in the middle of a paddock, is simply incredible!

The big top-style James Morrison Pavilion is the largest tent to have been erected in Australia for a seated audience, with more than 6100 chairs!

The James Morrison Pavilion is the largest tent ever to have been erected in Australia for a seated audience.

Australian music icon Kate Ceberano was a special guest at the 2016 event, and I interviewed her about her visit to Australia’s “jazz capital”. What a glowing endorsement!

 

Wagner’s Rose Nursery Video

Wagner’s Rose Nursery is one of my favourite places on SA’s Limestone Coast – pure heaven is a paddock of pretty roses surrounded by majestic gums!

It is impossible to leave this property uninspired – or empty-handed.

I recently finished producing this video which provides an overview of the business:

 

Labour of Love – Australian Period Home Style

Step back in time to Australia in the 1890s, and the bold era of boom style classicism design…

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Extravagance, exuberance and even recklessness were the order of the day, as the nation toasted a post-depression period full of promise. When you add love to the equation, anything is possible, as evidenced by this exquisite country mansion completed in 1896 as a wedding gift to a lucky bride. An entrance hall with removable doors should you wish to dance…

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Delicate hand-painted stained glass specially delivered from Melbourne, sash windows so high that you could step straight outside, plus many more fine details for this farmer’s wife-to-be.

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The besotted groom wanted to leave a lasting impression, and the property remains as breathtaking as ever thanks to a couple of modern-day cupids who believed in the fairy tale. My story on this incredible country Victorian property appears in Volume 10 of Australian Period Home Style magazine.

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Profile on Rural Woman of the Year Sarah Powell

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Picture courtesy Outback Magazine

I was privileged to profile Australia’s Rural Woman of the Year, Sarah Powell, for the Dec-Jan issue of Outback Magazine.

Sarah came to the judges’ attention after developing a Champions Academy leadership program which promotes regional strength and resilience for future generations by creating a culture of mentoring within sporting clubs.

But friends and colleagues like Shelley Evans-Wild have known all along that she is a shining star: “She is an awesome communicator – so unassuming, yet she diplomatically presses buttons and is a troublemaker in all the right ways as she doesn’t shy away from the questions that need to be asked,” Shelley says. “You’re held to account, but it’s done graciously, and somehow you’re smiling about it. Who does that at her age? She is quite an amazing young woman – she is a lighthouse that doesn’t know she is a lighthouse.”

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Border Inn Hotel’s Rebirth – Outback Magazine

The ‘closed’ sign had been on the door of Apsley’s historic Border Inn Hotel for more than two years when a group of locals figured it must be their shout. While the small farming community in Victoria’s far west had adjusted to the loss of its general store and fuel station, the pub was a different story; the town was missing its social hub.

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Just over a year ago, a 23-strong syndicate of locals brought the 165-year-old business back to life.

“We didn’t know each other particularly well, and when you first get a group of people together, it takes a while to find where you belong, but we soon worked it out because it never would have got up and running unless everyone rolled up their sleeves and got into it,” says cattleman-cum-publican Noel Ogilvie.

“People ask how we make it work, but we have made an effort to make it work because we are passionate about it,” says fellow farmer-shareholder Simon Robinson.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

My story on this community-minded mob appears in the October/November 2015 edition of Outback Magazine. Amazing cover!!

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Flinders Merino – Outback Magazine

There are few similarities between outback South Australia and Hong Kong, but a group of wool growers have found a common thread by sharing the journey from the sheep’s back…

Source: Flinders Merino

Source: Flinders Merino

To the clothes rack.

Source: AWI Ltd

Source: AWI Ltd

During a field trip to Hong Kong, the Flinders Merino group was astounded to discover that the final year fashion design students at the Polytechnic University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing didn’t use wool in any of their garments, so they offered to sponsor one of their annual fashion shows in the hope of encouraging such an influential market to take on their product. The ‘Flinders Merino Australian Tour Scholarship Award’ gives winning design students an opportunity to travel from Hong Kong to the Flinders Ranges to experience the life of a wool grower in a journey beyond the bale.

Source: Flinders Merino

Source: Flinders Merino

“When we were over there, we recognised that one way we could make wool very desirable to use in fashion design was to tell the story of where it’s from, and by bringing them here, we can give them the whole story – the family, the sheep, big skies, big pastures – it’s a good story to tell.”  – Julia Clarke, Pamatta Station.

It’s a Crocodile Dundee-type tale triggered by drought; transport a group of city slickers to the bush, and watch them fall in love with the landscape by spinning the ultimate yarn.

Source: Flinders Merino

Source: Flinders Merino

My story on this unique ‘student exchange’ appears in the June/July 2015 issue of Outback magazine.

Source: Flinders Merino

Source: Flinders Merino

“And what always amazes me is that they are so overawed by it all; they all love a lamb, but it’s also the first time many of them have been in a rural area and we will often find them sitting close together – they’re so used to being in a city environment, and it takes a long time for them to understand that sense of space that Australia offers.”  – Julia Clarke