Awards keep pouring in for Prohibition Liquor Co

Small batch gin producer Prohibition Liquor Co has scooped more than 20 awards across the globe in the past two years, but it was a recent gong awarded here in Adelaide which had its co-founders feeling most nervous.

Prohibition scored a gold and bronze medal at the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards in Adelaide earlier this month, just a day after taking two gongs on the other side of the world.

Its Original gin won gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition while its 69% Bathtub Cut gin took silver.

This year’s competition hit a record 2253 entries from all corners of the world.

Prohibition Original Gin, Meaghan Coles Photography.

“San Francisco is a huge event with thousands of entries, so a great one for us to collect gold and silver medals,” says Prohibition co-founder Adam Carpenter.

“But in a way I was more nervous about the event here in Adelaide.

“We’ve won more than 20 awards all over the world in the past two years, but this is the first time we have been able to enter an event in our hometown Adelaide.”

The inaugural Tasting Australia Spirit Awards attracted 166 entries from 63 distilleries across Australia.

The Grove Distillery (WA), White Light Beverages (VIC) Adelaide Hills Distillery (SA), St Agnes Distillery (SA), The Craft & Co (VIC) took out the top honours.

Meaghan Coles Photography.

Prohibition’s other half, Wes Heddles, says the San Francisco and Tasting Australia wins highlight how world class spirits are being made here in South Australia.

“We’ve won medals at every awards show we’ve ever entered,” he says.

“It’s been a bit of a dream run for Prohibition since early 2016 with our first win in the Melbourne International Spirits Competition, followed by Hong Kong, New York, London and Las Vegas.

“A double gold last year in Las Vegas was a huge moment for us too, and the fact that both gins have been recognised all over the world shows that we are on the right track with the product and the ability to expand our export markets.”

The Gilbert Street distillery door and tasting room. Meaghan Coles Photography.

In December 2017, Prohibition opened Adelaide’s first CBD distillery door on Gilbert Street, offering gin flights to visitors.

“We have over 60 gins on the shelf and we can tell you a unique story about all of them,” Adam says.

“This is just not a Prohibition gin house, it is a true SA and Australian craft spirit showcase – many of which we have been given by the makers with the story to share about what makes them unique too.”

The distillery door and tasting room also offers local craft beers, wines and local produce, including antipasto plates and gourmet toasties.

Meaghan Coles Photography.

Prohibition’s gin is still contract-distilled at Applewood Distillery in Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills.

However, Adam and Wes say they plan to have a still operating at the Gilbert Street location to supplement production by the end of 2018.

“We already bottle and distribute from Gilbert Street, but it won’t be long until we have a beautiful still running, for additional production here,” Wes adds.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Mt Gambier volunteers helping cancer patients cope

A volunteer-driven support group in Mount Gambier is helping cancer patients and their families deal with the daily pressures that come with a cancer diagnosis.

Securing accommodation or travel expenses when travelling to Adelaide for appointments and providing food and petrol vouchers are just some of the small ways the Mt Gambier Cancer Support Group has been lending a hand over the past 37 years.

The group, consisting of unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time to fundraising and to supporting cancer patients, has been around since 1981.

Established by the late Rhonda Phillips, former director of nursing at the old Mt Gambier Hospital, the support group has helped dozens of Limestone Coast locals doing it tough.

Mt Gambier Cancer Support Group members fundraise throughout the year to help support locals and their families deal with the challenges that come with having cancer. Photo courtesy of The Border Watch.

Chairperson Lorraine Musgrove has been a part of the community group for almost three decades and says such support groups are essential for regional towns as many patients must travel to Adelaide for treatment and appointments.

“We give the clients lots of information, where to stay and how they can get to treatment in Adelaide and it makes the world of difference,” she says.

“Adelaide is a five-hour drive away and for some people, they aren’t used to going to the city, can’t drive or haven’t any relatives down there. So it can be a huge challenge and very daunting.

“Knowing we can help make their journey a little easier in whatever way needed it very rewarding for our group.”

The Mt Gambier Cancer Support Group funds taxi fares and other travel expenses and assistance by hosting a number of fundraising activities throughout the year.

Its biggest fundraisers are the Kevin Sporer Country Music Afternoon in June, two major raffles, and manning the gate at the local footy club’s junior matches.

Local businesses also pitch in, Lorraine says.

“We are very lucky and we can’t speak highly enough of the businesses and the community for all their donations to the group,” she says.

Support group member Joan Osmond, left, and chairperson Lorraine Musgrove alongside the wig cabinet. Photo courtesy of The Border Watch.

About two years ago the cancer support group established a wig cabinet at the Mt Gambier Hospital’s oncology unit, allowing women who have lost their hair to chemotherapy to borrow a new hairstyle for a while.

Support group volunteer Jeannette Breda says women can lend the wigs, caps, beanies and scarves at no cost.

“We started having wigs donated to us by women who didn’t know what to do with them once they finished their journey with cancer,” she says.

“So we had a wig cabinet built for us at the oncology unit where women can donate their wigs once they didn’t need them anymore.

“Cheap as Chips also donated the mannequins so we can display the wigs in the cabinet.”

Over the years the group’s fundraising initiatives have helped it purchase surgical instruments and even a chemotherapy chair at the local hospital.

Assistance has also been given to the Cancer Council’s Adelaide lodges at Eastwood and Kent Town.

The support group consists of about 20 volunteers who meet once a month at the Naval Association’s Mt Gambier clubrooms.

“If you go around the room with our members, you’ll find that they have all had family members with cancer and we’ve supported them through that journey,” Lorraine says.

“Unless you’ve been down that road, you don’t fully understand a cancer patient’s needs.”

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New face at the helm of Adelaide’s historic Popeye

Adelaide’s renowned Popeye river cruise business is taking a new lease on life.

The Popeye, which has entertained thousands of locals, tourists and even royalty over the past 83 years, is being handed to the next generation.

Owner Tony Shuman has owned The Popeye since 2011 and is now handing operations to his daughter Bianca, 23, who is injecting “refreshed energy” into the business as its new managing director.

The Popeye managing director Bianca Shuman unveils the brand’s new logo.

“Bianca is the new generation, she has new and hip ideas, a fresh feel and I can’t compete with that,” says Tony.

“It’s her turn, she’s got the smarts.”

The Popeye fleet includes three boats that take passengers along the River Torrens between Elder Park and Adelaide Zoo, and has long been considered a treasured family outing for many South Australians.

The boats also host functions, parties and high teas put on by fellow SA business, Lady Green’s High Tea.

Bianca says she hopes to introduce new stops along the river, including near the weir and Adelaide Oval to make the most of crowds attending AFL games and major concerts.

A stop is also in the works at The Popeye shed and Lounders Boatshed Café near Victoria Drive.

Approval is being sought for a permanent liquor licence while an online booking system has also been introduced.

Tony Shuman, left, has owned the small business since 2011 but plans to head into retirement.

A new logo and branding concept was inspired by the “art deco” style of the 1930s, when The Popeye was launched in Adelaide.

“The whole feeling with the new logo was keeping it modern but also going back to the start in the 1930s,” Bianca says.

“We would like to have that reflected in the style of our staff uniforms as well. To dress up a bit would be nice.”

Bianca says that while The Popeye has become an Adelaide icon, she wants to see more people on board.

“The Popeye, it’s very Adelaide and people almost don’t notice it because they’re so used to it going past every day. It would be great to get more people on,” she says.

“It’s about half tourists, half locals on board at the moment. During school holidays there’s a lot of kids and young families, and grandparents taking grandkids to the zoo.”

Zoos SA CEO and I Choose SA ambassador Elaine Bensted, left, with Bianca Shuman and her mother Lidija.

Tony Shuman and his wife Lidija have also run the paddle boats (small watercraft propelled by foot pedals) along the river since 1991.

He says past customers have included Madonna, Michael Bublé, English comedian Russell Brand and international tennis champions.

Over the years Tony says he has faced many business challenges as new infrastructure around the riverbank precinct takes shape.

However, he says the CBD’s growing population means more people are out and about.

“There are more people living in the city, the city itself has had real population growth over the last 20 years,” Tony says.

“It’s more of a university city as well – younger people out there doing things.”

The Popeye cruises along the river in March 1954. PHOTO: State Library of SA, B 74433/78.

Popeye 1 was launched on the River Torrens in 1935 by Gordon Watts.

Popeye 2 came along in 1948 and three new jarrah hulled boats were introduced some time later, taking the fleet to a total of five.

Keith Altman took over the business in 1962 and also introduced the paddle boats to the river.

Popeye 5 hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip during their visit to Adelaide in 1977. PHOTO:

In March 1977, The Popeye had a brush with royalty when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip took a trip during a visit to Adelaide.

In 1982 the wooden boats were replaced with three new fibreglass models and officially launched by then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

The Popeye, which was officially declared an official State Heritage Icon in 2011, employs 14 people.

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Whyalla’s steel saviour to deliver keynote at energy conference

For the first time in its five-year history, Australia’s peak industry event for energy storage will be held in Adelaide, with Whyalla saviour and steelworks boss Sanjeev Gupta among keynote speakers.

Next month’s Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition (AES 2018) will give participants a first-hand insight into projects transforming South Australia’s energy sector. It will be the first time the event is held outside of Sydney.

The conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre will feature a keynote presentation from chairman of GFG Alliance chairman and SIMEC ZEN Energy, Sanjeev Gupta.

Last year the British billionaire saved the troubled Whyalla steelworks, later renaming it Liberty OneSteel.

SIMEC ZEN Energy chairman Sanjeev Gupta.

He then revealed plans to build 120-megawatt/140-megawatt-hour battery in Port Augusta, supporting a new solar farm at the Whyalla steelworks.

The battery will be larger than fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s 100MW/120MWh battery in Jamestown.

AES 2018 will also give delegates the chance to learn more about SA’s leadership in the energy storage sector from companies such as Tesla, Redflow, Toshiba, Kokam, and ANT Solutions.

AES sales manager and conference program manager Sam Staples says the event’s move to Adelaide – Australia’s clean energy hotspot – will allow attendees to capitalise on what the city has to offer.

“Adelaide and SA have positioned themselves as national leaders in the push to modernise energy systems through the uptake of clean and efficient technologies,” he says.

“The state is well on its way to becoming 100% renewable and energy storage is the key to achieving this benchmark.”

Exhibitors will also have the chance to present their products and services in the heart of the exhibition floor, covering sectors such as agriculture, construction, education and government, finance, heating and cool, manufacturing, mining, power management and renewable energy system providers, just to name a few.

Last year’s conference and exhibition in Sydney was attended by people from New Zealand, Asia, the Pacific, North America and Europe.

AES 2018 also features tours in the Mid North at the Hornsdale Wind Farm Power Reserve which houses Tesla’s big battery, touted as the world’s largest lithium ion battery.

Attendees will also tour Adelaide High School, the site of a load shifting commercial battery installation and solar array by SIMEC ZEN Energy.

Tonsley Innovation Precinct will also be visited, as will Redflow’s Adelaide office and battery lab and the recently announced Highbury Pumped Hydro installation at a disused quarry in Adelaide’s north east.

For more information on the exclusive tours or conference register here.

The tours will be held on May 22, while the conference and exhibition will take place from May 23–24.

Interested in how SA is leading the way in renewable energy? Check out Brand SA News’ coverage within the I Choose SA for Renewable Energy campaign.

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Barossa Fine Foods rolls out big plans for 2018

Smallgoods producer Barossa Fine Foods is facing big changes in 2018, taking on another renowned SA business, undergoing a packaging rebrand and celebrating its 100-year-old family history.

Barossa Fine Foods, which has a long-standing retail presence across SA, announced today it has acquired 58-year-old seafood brand Angelakis Bros.

The company says it has acquired an agreement with Angelakis, officially taking over on May 4 and continuing with no disruptions.

The announcement comes a week after Barossa Fine Foods revealed plans to overhaul its branding and packaging to celebrate the Knoll family history and prepare the name for “rapid national expansion”.

Fourth generation family member and Barossa Fine Foods development manager, Alex Knoll, says the company is looking to have a larger presence in the eastern states.

“We’re approaching 100 years since my great uncle, Andreas Knoll, first ventured into the area of smallgoods and started a dynasty that, through various iterations both in Germany and SA, is now Barossa Fine Foods,” he says.

“With this milestone looming – and with us looking to gain a stronger foothold in the eastern seaboard states of NSW, QLD and VIC – we thought it timely to refresh our branding, and at the same time, have a bit of fun by sharing our history in a series of light-hearted back stories featured on our packaged goods.”

The company says the rebranding will also drive a large push into the burgeoning markets of Asia, while stimulating the local economy, creating new jobs and offering current workers greater opportunities.

It is understood the new packaging will hit the shelves from May.

The new packaging will be on shelves in May.

It will have a “consistent look and feel” across its 100g sliced range of more than 20 products, its 300g cooked sausages, 500g fresh sausages, pâté, kabana and ambient products.

Alex says that while the family prides itself on being progressive, innovative and forward-thinking, upholding tradition was paramount.

“So, while the brand identity has evolved to more accurately reflect a thriving 21st Century business with strong family traditions, we remain true to our high-quality award-winning products and artisan production standards as well as sourcing as many local ingredients as we can,” he says.

Barossa Fine Foods’ origins date back to post WW1 Germany when 15-year-old apprentice Andreas Knoll mixed his first leberwurst at a small goods factory in Munich in 1924.

The Barossa Fine Foods family.

The brand we know today was born in the early 1990s when third-generation Franz and Barbra Knoll purchased an existing business of the same name in the Adelaide Central Market.

Barossa Fine Foods currently employs 250 people across nine retail outlets throughout the state and in Victoria and has almost 300 stockists nationwide.

With its factory based at Edinburgh North, the company has some 600 products from hams, bacon, sausages and other Bavarian treats.

Barossa Fine Foods also runs Standom Smallgoods and Schulz Butchers at Angaston.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Loxton’s humdinger of a burger bar

A funky burger bar which wouldn’t look out of place in Adelaide’s vibrant laneways is drawing in regional crowds and reinvigorating a local live music scene in the Riverland.

It all started when local couple Jarrod and Kylie Loxton renovated a vintage caravan, turning it into a mobile bar for weddings and private functions in 2015.

“We named it after my pop, Ted, because he was a bit of a character,” Jarrod says.

It all started with Ted, the vintage van.

Ted was soon followed by Ruby, a 1956 Carapark Caravan – complete with porthole windows and named after Jarrod’s grandmother.

They leased a shed off Mill Road in Loxton (yes, the couple’s surname is also Loxton), to work from while renovating the vans – that then turned into Here’s Your Beer, a pop-up themed burger bar in November, 2016.

“That went gangbusters,” Jarrod says.

Shortly after, the couple was approached by the Moorook and District Club with a proposal – the venue, about 30km down the road was struggling to remain viable – did Jarrod and Kylie want to take it on?

“It wasn’t part of the plan,” Jarrod says.

But they took it on anyway and Locky’s Place was born.

The business now has three components – the vans which appear at various events, Here’s Your Beer Burger Bar at Loxton and Locky’s Place at Moorook.

Inside Here’s Your Beer at Loxton.

“Our main objective was to create a job for myself, I’ve been in hospitality since I left school but always worked for other people,” Jarrod says.

“We’ve grown over the three years and now employ 13 people including our daughter and our two eldest sons.

“It’s lots of hard work but it’s pretty enjoyable.”

Here’s Your Beer has a ‘pop-up restaurant’ feel and features an eclectic mix of vintage/retro furniture – much of which has been sourced from local garage sales and is often recognised by patrons.

Meanwhile, down the road at Moorook, Locky’s Place has been renovated with an “industrial New York” theme, and features booths and polished concrete floors.

The Loxton family.

Both venues often feature regular acoustic performances while jam sessions are held at Locky’s Place.

It’s not only local musicians who are put in the spotlight at Jarrod and Kylie’s venues, but produce is sourced from the local IGA and the local bakery supplies the hamburger buns.

The beverage list boasts lemon coolers from the Arnold Brothers at Loxton, beers from the Woolshed Brewery near Renmark and ciders from Jachmann at Loxton.

While you’d expect a trendy bar of this type would be popular with a younger crowd – which it is – it’s also proved a hit with older generations.

“I cannot put a blanket over the clientele, older people make a good proportion of our customers,” Jarrod says.

“I think they like that it’s casual and different to what they would normally go to and they get a good hearty meal. They’ll often walk in and say ‘this is a pretty cool venue, are we old people allowed in?’”

Here’s Your Beer’s most popular burger – the Humdinger.

The burger bar menu is “pretty simple – we’ve added to it as we’ve gone along”, according to Jarrod.

It boasts eight burgers including the popular ‘Humdinger’.

“The kids in the kitchen created that one day – it has hash browns, onion rings and a beef burger – it’s become the most popular on the menu,” says Jarrod.

Header photo courtesy of Stephanie Thompson, The Loxton News. 

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No small success for MiniJumbuk

Naracoorte wool-product business MiniJumbuk’s managing director Darren Turner can’t seem to ever shake off his love for the Limestone Coast.

Growing up in the state’s south east, by his early 20s Darren landed a job as a sales representative for the fledgling MiniJumbuk business. Almost four decades later and he’s still there.

Darren is one of the faces that has helped lead the proudly South Australian company to becoming the country’s biggest manufacturer of woollen products, and one of Naracoorte’s biggest private employers.

“I’m very proud to have created a brand that has built on its reputation of quality,” he says.

“Being part of the MiniJumbuk story is something to be really proud of.”

Darren is Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA for Industry ambassador for the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.

With a workforce of about 70 people across both its Naracoorte factory and a facility in Adelaide, MiniJumbuk is one of SA’s strongest examples of a long-standing and successful SME.

Turning over $30m a year, its woollen blankets, quilts, pillows and other bedding have been keeping Australians warm for years.

MiniJumbuk’s managing director Darren Turner has been with the company for 35 years, driving it into a high-tech textile manufacturing future.

The high-quality, pure Australian wool is sourced from farms locally and interstate, while entire manufacturing processes are undertaken in SA.

It’s a unique success story considering the decline of Australia’s textile manufacturing industry over the years … so how did MiniJumbuk do it?

“In SA you do have an opportunity to stand out a bit more,” Darren says.

“I find that when you’re a bit smaller or you have the odds against you a little bit you have to work harder, think harder, be smarter and you have to work out ways of overcoming challenge.

“I think that makes a better business because it challenges you more and you get better outcomes. If it’s all too easy and you’re not being challenged, then you don’t improve.”

While MiniJumbuk hasn’t been without its challenges – such as the competition from cheaper Asian imports – its key to success has been upholding its levels of quality and authenticity.

“You either build something on price or you build it on quality and in order to stand out you need to stand for something,” Darren says.

“So we put a peg in the ground and we stood for high quality and best in class in terms of our product.”

Shearer Don Wray bought MiniJumbuk in 1975, making the company’s first woollen quilt.

Four years later and the business had secured a four-year contract with the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills making woollen quilts while continuing to handcraft woolly sheep souvenirs for tourists.

Darren says Naracoorte is a small, yet entrepreneurial country town.

By the mid ’80s the company was making its own brand of woollen mattress underlays, and before long was “doubling and quadrupling its turnover on an annual basis”.

In the late ’80s/early ’90s it wasn’t unusual to spot live rams being paraded through department stores, as MiniJumbuk spread the wool story,  its authenticity message and firmly cemented itself in Australia’s $3 billion wool industry.

Not long after joining MiniJumbuk, Darren bought a 20% share in the business before working his way up to general manager in 1996.

He has driven the company’s investment in high-tech manufacturing equipment and processes, including MiniJumbuk’s Airlight Technology.

“It’s a way of making the quilt lighter, but warmer,” Darren says.

“Cheaper quilts will feel quite heavy and will pack down and feel like a blanket after years of use, whereas ours will be light and fluffy.

“It’s unique to MiniJumbuk, no one else is doing it.”

In 2015/16 Darren travelled overseas with the support of the Industry Leaders Fund to attend the Global CEO course which he says led to a “significant improvement in the business”.

More than 80% of MiniJumbuk’s products are sold domestically, while a little under 20% is exported, mostly to China.

Darren says he is expecting exports to grow in the next three to five years to make up as much as 50% of the business.

But despite its worldly endeavours, MiniJumbuk’s commitment remains to the people in the South East community, with more than 60% of its annual turnover coming out of the Naracoorte plant.

“Naracoorte is a positive town, it’s quite entrepreneurial and offers a lot to business people,” Darren says.

“It’s right in the heart of the Limestone Coast and so it’s a good spot to raise a family. Naracoorte is the place I cherish and call home.”

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Tumby Bay silo art a giant splash of colour

It took 430 litres of paint and 400 hours of work, but Tumby Bay’s own silo mural is finally complete – and it’s quite the masterpiece.

The town’s giant grain silos, about 50km north of Port Lincoln on the Lincoln Highway, are now splashed with colour and show two young boys jetty jumping.

The 2200 sq m mural was painted by Argentinean artist Martin Ron over five weeks, with the project overseen by a sub-committee within the Tumby Bay Progress Association.

Tumby Bay now joins the regional towns of Coonalpyn and Kimba, which also have giant artworks sprawled across grain handler Viterra’s silos, helping to boost community pride and bring the small country towns back to life.

PHOTO: Robert Lang Photography.

The Tumby Bay silo mural will be officially launched on Thursday, April 19, on the eve of the Colour Tumby Street Art Festival.

Association member and silo mural project leader Dion LeBrun says local businesses are already reporting an increase in trade from visitors exploring the new attraction.

“We’ve had a huge increase in visitation, and businesses such as local cafés, bakeries and hotels have all reported a big increase in what they’re turning over,” he says.

“The Tumby Bay Bakery said they’ve never been busier except for in the Christmas and New Year period.”

Martin is unable to attend the official launch on Thursday, as he has already flown to Russia to paint a mural on a 15-storey building in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Argentinean artist Martin Ron. PHOTO: Robert Lang Photography.

The international street artist was assisted by Sydney artist Matt Gorrick. Both men were lifted up in cherry pickers to paint the high parts of the silos.

The project was funded through an $80,000 Fund My Neighbourhood grant.

Dion, a long-time Tumby Bay resident, says the silo mural is just one of the rejuvenation projects led by the progress association in the past 12 months to boost the town’s profile.

“We needed to give the town a difference, something to give us that extra hook to make Tumby Bay a preferred holiday destination,” he says.

“So halfway through last year we thought, ‘why don’t we throw a silo art in the mix?’ Other towns that have done it had really great exposure and it brought a lot of outside money into the town.”

Cherry pickers were used to help the artists reach the high parts of the silos.

The progress association sought advice on the project from a street art and mural studio in Melbourne and was put in touch with Martin Ron.

Martin then spent over a week in Tumby Bay, touring the town and looking over historical photos to find ideas.

During this time he saw local kids jumping off the jetty and eventually made a splash himself on a hot day.

The mural was also inspired by a photograph snapped in 2014 by local photographer Robert Lang who captured two boys jetty jumping – a popular summertime activity.

Dion says the Tumby Bay silo mural was more difficult to paint than other silo works because the images ran horizontally across the structure, instead of vertically.

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

“Silos are very complex pieces of art with winding shapes and slopes,” he says.

“According to Martin we’ve really raised the bar for silo mural art because of the level of complexity involved in laying the image horizontally.”

Martin told The Port Lincoln Times that the Tumby Bay silo mural was the biggest one he had ever done.

The small farming town has a population of about 2600 people and is home to the second largest ageing population in SA, behind Victor Harbor.

Although Tumby Bay is renowned for good fishing and unspoilt coastlines, Dion says the town needed something more.

Colour Tumby Street Art Group members gather with Martin Ron at the silo mural. PHOTO: Robert Lang Photography.

“It’s a very slow town and businesses are finding it tough. So the whole idea was to give visitors to the town more to do,” he says.

A car park has been constructed near the silo, allowing for visitors to safely pull off the highway – which has a 100km/h speed limit – and see the silos from the “optimum viewing angle”.

The mural will be officially launched on April 19, leading into the Colour Tumby Art Festival from April 20–22. The festival will feature eight artists transforming building walls across town into works of art.

Head to the event’s Facebook page for more information.

Eyre Peninsula photographer Robert Lang with the photo he shot in 2014 that went on to inspire the silo mural.

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Living regionally no barrier to success for teen entrepreneur

Renmark teenager Nathan Woodrow might only be a few months outside of finishing high school, but he already knows what it’s like to run his own business.

The young Riverlander launched his own clothing label, Ryde Clothing, two years ago and has since sold about 1000 units across the country, the majority through online sales.

The brand is inspired by the former Renmark High School student’s love for skating, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and wakeskating, a sport similar to wakeboarding except the rider’s feet aren’t strapped to the board.

At the age of 15 Nathan suffered a knee injury leaving him unable to participate in the many sporting activities that usually kept him busy.

Searching for something else to keep him occupied, he started sketching designs for t-shirts, screen printing them from his bedroom and selling the items online.

He told no one of his entrepreneurial pursuits and it wasn’t until he was interviewed by music and fashion publication, TEO Magazine, that Ryde Clothing began to gain local traction.

“When I was at school, a lot of the sales would come from me walking around the yard at lunch time and selling shirts,” Nathan says.

“It’s really good that in the Riverland everyone gets around you.”

While at school, Nathan also held down two part-time jobs, saving his money to invest in the small business.

He now sketches his designs at home before sending them off to be refined by Queensland artist Tammen Willmott.

Once the prints are sent back to Renmark, Nathan screen prints the designs onto the clothing.

He originally began running Ryde from his bedroom, but it wasn’t until t-shirts began to clutter his family’s living room that he decided to move operations to a shipping container in the backyard.

“I might go for a skate and just think to myself about a design, then come home straight away and sketch something up until I get it right,” he says.

Ryde Clothing released a t-shirt design for the 2018 Riverland Dinghy Derby.

Ryde Clothing’s motto is ‘stay stoked’. Many of the designs are reflective of water sports enjoyed on the Murray River.

In 2017 Nathan was mentored by Bruce Mellett from Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland who helped him to seek local media attention, find local stockists and set business goals.

Nathan finished Year 12 last year and now splits his time between a part-time role at Renmark printing company Tri State Graphics, and running Ryde Clothing.

He says living in a regional town has been an advantage to his business rather than a detriment.

“A lot of people think that you can’t do something because you’re in the Riverland,” Nathan says.

“But being here gives you an advantage because the community always gets behind you, and with the internet, you can do everything you need to.”

Ryde Clothing will release its winter collection later this month.

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Wallis Cinemas still making magic after all these years

Wallis Cinemas boss Lorna Wallis’ first date with the man who would later become her husband was sitting in the rows of the Capri Theatre, in Adelaide’s inner northern suburbs.

It was the late 1950s, a time when going to the movies was worth getting dressed up for, “gloves and all”.

Lorna, 79, can’t remember the name of the film they watched, but recalls the moment she dropped a box of chocolates Bob had bought her all over the floor.

“Buying a box of chocolates in those days was very expensive and I’d just opened them when I went to get one out and dropped the lot,” she says.

“Bob was very cross. I miss him terribly, it’s been 11 years.”

Wallis Theatres founder Hughie Wallis, second from left.

More than half a century later and Lorna is still walking the foyers of South Australian cinemas, carrying on the legacy of her late husband and the state’s movie man, Bob Wallis.

Bob was the son of Wallis Theatres founder Hughie Wallis, who opened the state’s first drive-in theatre, the Blue Line at West Beach, in 1954.

The opening of the Blue Line theatre sparked the explosion of drive-in culture in SA: teenagers piled into FJ Holdens, speakers hanging from car windows and kids munching on Chiko Rolls in the back seat.

In 1955, the Mainline Drive-In at Gepps Cross opened and is now the only one left in Adelaide.

Hughie died in 1994 aged 84, leaving Bob in charge. But when Bob himself fell ill and passed away in 2007, it was Lorna and their daughter Michelle’s turn to take over.

Lorna and her late husband Bob, son of Wallis Theatres founder, Hughie Wallis.

The cinema chain, now known as Wallis Cinemas, has been making South Australians laugh, cry and everything in between for almost 70 years.

“As long as people still come to the cinemas, that’s what we want,” Lorna says.

“There’s nothing like the big screen, I know there are big TVs now, but there’s nothing quite like a night out at the movies.”

Hughie Wallis had a fascination with photography and filmmaking and laid the foundations of his business when he began screening Hollywood films in community halls across Adelaide.

The opening of the Blue Line at West Beach in the ’50s sparked the establishment of a handful of other Wallis drive-ins and cinemas across metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA.

Its theatres included the Ozone at Glenelg, the Chelsea in Adelaide’s east, a cinema complex in Hindmarsh Square and of course, the Piccadilly in North Adelaide.

Lorna has fond memories of the old theatre, as she grew up around the corner on Childers Street, and would see a film there every Wednesday and Saturday night “with a group of young ones”.

The Piccadilly Cinema in its early days. PHOTO: Cinema Treasures, Brian Pearson. 

She says the Piccadilly Theatre was also Bob’s favourite.

“Bob loved going to the Piccadilly, his funeral was held there,” she says.

“They had on his seat, ‘reserved for Bob’, which was nice.”

Over the decades, the drive-in culture faded and the company closed many of its facilities.

Wallis now employs about 230 people across four cinemas at Mitcham, Piccadilly, Noarlunga, and Mt Barker, as well as the Gepps Cross drive-in. The business recently purchased the Deacons Cinema at Mildura.

Lorna says Wallis Cinemas’ success and longevity in SA as a small-to-medium enterprise is all down to its loyal employees.

“A lot of our staff have been with us for 40 years, so we have very loyal employees. You have to have good people around you. Bob always told me that you’re only as good as the people around you,” she says.

“The patron is number one and we believe in pleasant customer service and cleanliness in our cinemas.”

The Piccadilly Cinemas.

Lorna admits business is tough with competition from larger cinema chains and online streaming giants such as Netflix, causing Wallis to drop its ticket prices by almost 50% last year.

Nonetheless, she says Wallis Cinemas is proud of its SA heritage and its small-scale footprint.

“We’re family. We’re too small to go up against the big guys interstate,” Lorna says.

“I’m proud to be South Australian. I’ve grown up here, my family’s grown up here and I just think we’re a lovely little state.

“You get into these others that get a bit big, but I love it here.”

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