Thousands of jobs for SA as BAE Systems wins $35 billion Future Frigates contract

Thousands of South Australian jobs have been secured in coming decades with BAE Systems announced as the winning tenderer of the $35 billion Future Frigates program.

The UK defence giant beat fierce competition from Spanish and Italian rivals to design the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of nine highly-advanced ‘Hunter class’ global combat ships.

The Future Frigates contract is Australia’s largest peace-time warship building program, with construction of the fleet set to begin by 2020 by ASC Shipbuilding.

The program will create about 4000 Australian jobs, including 1500 at ASC at the Osborne Shipyards in northern Adelaide.

In addition to the 1500 local jobs, another 600 jobs will be created in the development of the Osborne South shipyards.

Five-hundred Australian businesses, including 100 SA businesses, will be in the Hunter class supply chain.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in Adelaide today for the announcement, told ABC Radio Adelaide that the government-owned ASC Shipbuilding will become a subsidiary of BAE throughout the build.

“What this will mean is that the Commonwealth Government will retain its sovereign share in ASC at all times,” he said.

“BAE will take responsibility for ASC during the period of the program to go right through into the 2030s, then the Commonwealth will resume ownership of ASC.”

BAE System Australia’s head of industrial strategy Sharon Wilson and I Choose SA ambassador told Brand SA News in February that the Future Frigates program would be the “envy of the world”.

SA Premier Steven Marshall says the state is now “unquestionably” the centre of naval shipbuilding in Australia.

He says many local businesses in the supply chain will win a share in the historic investment.

“This $35 billion program will deliver unprecedented economic benefit to the SA economy, with over 100 businesses already pre-qualifying with BAE to be part of the project,” Mr Marshall says.

He says significant challenges exist in ensuring SA has the skilled workforce necessary to deliver the project.

“That’s why more than 20,000 additional work-based apprenticeships and traineeships will be created in SA over the next four years …” Mr Marshall says.

“Apprenticeships are vital to building a skilled supply of workers for industry and this has never been more important as we move to a more diversified economy and to capitalise on major, long-term national defence contracts awarded to SA.”

The SEA5000 ship will be considered one of the world’s most advanced warships, and will be able to be used in non-warfare roles such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The Hunter class will enter service in the late 2020, replacing the eight Anzac frigates which have been in service since 1996.

Aside from BAE’s Sharon Wilson, ASC’s Jessica Caston was also an I Choose SA ambassador for shipbuilding and defence. Watch her story below.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]


Port Lincoln students prepare for aquaculture workforce

Eyre Peninsula students will have access to hands-on training in the aquaculture industry through a partnership between the Port Lincoln High School and TAFE SA.

The joint initiative will allow senior students to enter the workforce earlier, with students able to complete a Certificate II in Aquaculture in Year 11.

By Year 12 students can then complete the units from the Diploma of Aquaculture at school, before completing the one-year diploma in six to eight months after graduation.

Students will then be equipped with the skills to enter the workforce or go on to study marine biology and aquaculture at Flinders University.

Previously, students were only able to complete the Certificate II at school before waiting until finishing school to tackle the diploma.

The majority of training will be undertaken at the Port Lincoln High School’s aquaculture training facility.

Port Lincoln is regarded as the seafood capital of Australia and is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the southern hemisphere.

Photo: PIRSA.

TAFE SA aquaculture lecturer Brent Smith says with continued growth in seafood demand domestically and globally, it’s more important than ever to ensure the future aquaculture workforce has the highest level of skill and training.

“More than 2/3 of the state’s aquaculture workforce is employed in the Eyre Peninsula region alone,” he says.

“There is strong demand for workers on tuna, mussel, oyster, kingfish and abalone farms as well as many more in hatcheries, processing, marketing, transport and other related activities.”

Students will learn a range of skills including filleting fish, feeding, handling and harvesting stock, developing an aquaculture breeding strategy and various other maritime skills.

Port Lincoln High School aquaculture teacher Chris McGown says the partnership with TAFE SA will give students the basic skills needed to work in the industry or pursue further study.

“We have a massive aquaculture industry on our doorstep – most of the town is employed in some way through aquaculture,” he says.

“There are oysters, abalone, and tuna farms as well as factory workers – there is an abundance of opportunities and students haven’t previously had access to this sort of pathway.”

According to the Department of Primary Industries and Research SA (PIRSA), the aquaculture industry is one of the largest primary production sectors in the state.

The majority of SA’s aquaculture farming lies in the coastal waters of the Eyre Peninsula, while 81% of the state’s regional aquaculture workforce is employed in the region.

For more information visit the TAFE SA website.

Want to know what it’s like to work in Port Lincoln’s seafood industry? Check out the I Choose SA video below!

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Adelaide innovation firm finds solutions in the digital age

Digital innovation firm Enabled Solutions began as a two-man, home-based operation and is now celebrating almost 20 years in the game.

The Adelaide business and its team of 16 designers, software developers and business consultants, has taken on clients as close as down the road and as far as around the globe.

Over the past two decades it’s built relationships with some of South Australia’s most renowned businesses, helping bring them into the digital age by developing apps, software and digital experiences.

In 2016, Enabled celebrated a successful development with Adelaide-based Coopers Brewery involving the world’s first fully automated home brewing machine.

Through the BrewArt home brewing kit, home brewers can monitor their batch anywhere and at any time via a smartphone app.

Enabled also marked its place in the digital innovation space through its works with a string of other local companies, including Seeley International, Clipsal and the RAA.

The southern suburb-based agency developed the RAA’s app, myRAA, removing the need for members to carry a membership card and allowing benefits and competitions to be more easily accessed.

Enabled Solutions CEO Grant Hull says Adelaide’s size makes for great networking and business opportunities.

He also says the city is a perfect breeding ground for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs and that it’s becoming increasingly renowned for the sector.

“There is a tremendous amount of opportunity wherever you are in the world, but in SA there has always been enough work for us at Enabled,” Grant says.

“There seems to be a reputation building in SA and it’s reaching a point of substance.”

Adelaide’s brightest thinkers, budding entrepreneurs and innovation leaders are set to bring their ideas to the table in July through the city’s Entrepreneur’s Week and Hybrid World.

The Enabled Solutions team at the Malvern studio.

Grant co-founded Enabled Solutions with a university classmate in 1999 with little more than a desktop computer.

Their client base grew, as did their reputation for being one of the first movers in app development and mobile technology.

Grant’s brother Craig joined the business after some time and Enabled has since gone on receive a number of accolades in the tech space.

Recently, its internal culture book won an award of excellence in Corporate Communications Category at the 2018 Communicator Awards.

Grant also has strong ties to SA’s three universities, the University of Adelaide, UniSA, and Flinders University.

For the past four years he’s been a lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s annual Australian Tech eChallenge, which allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and potential investors.

Grant says partnering with the state’s universities is not only a way for him to “give back” but also allows him to search for the next generation of potential employees.

“When you head up a business, you’re passionate about your own team, but you also think about how you can bring more great people on board, and working with the universities is one way to do that,” he says.

“Also, when you’re working with large businesses they don’t want you to play with their business, they don’t want mistakes.

“So (by working with universities) you can experiment with what works and what doesn’t – it’s a proving ground.”

Grant says many local entrepreneurs and tech-start ups launch their businesses in Silicon Valley in the US which is regarded as the global tech hotspot.

“A number of people go to Silicon Valley and raise enough capital before realising that rent is through the roof,” he says.

“There are opportunities here in Adelaide. I think we’re doing quite well here in SA. We’re self-sufficient inventors.”

Header photo: Enabled Solutions co-founders Grant Hull, left, and Craig Hull.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Women’s and Children’s Health Network chief settles in for monumental chapter

The Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) has entered a crucial chapter in its 140-year history, and UK-born health professional Lindsey Gough is excited to watch it unfold.

The biomedical scientist-turned-health executive became the Women’s and Children’s Health Network’s new CEO just one week before it was announced that the WCH would undergo a monumental move to the world-class new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) precinct by 2024.

Lindsey, who has worked in Australia’s health system since 2009, says her top priority is to ensure the North Adelaide facility continues to provide the highest quality healthcare while the shift takes place.

She is one of 15 health experts appointed to a ministerial taskforce that is guiding the planning for the construction of a new WCH alongside the new RAH.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network CEO Lindsey Gough, left, with Tracy Carroll, A/Advanced Divisional Midwifery and Nursing Director, Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The taskforce will report back to the State Government on the capital cost, number of inpatient beds, types of services and models of care required by the end of 2018.

Lindsey says a co-location of the WCH with the new Royal Adelaide will mean better care for SA women and children.

“It will allow us to have new technology and state-of-the-art systems that we may not be able to put here because of the actual physical environment that constrains us,” she says.

“If we have a woman here who for whatever reason might need access to adult intensive care services, then that woman will be transferred to the Royal Adelaide.

“But if we’re closer to that hospital and in that precinct, it will mean we can transfer much more efficiently than we can now.”

A new WCH will be yet another huge phase in South Australia’s health system.

Last year the city celebrated the opening of the $2.3 billion new RAH, which joined a number of significant developments along North Terrace’s biomedical precinct.

This year is also a year of reflection for the WCH, which celebrated its 140th birthday on Wednesday, June 20.

Two nurses sit in Brougham Place gardens looking toward the Nurse’s Home of the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in approx. 1955. Photo: State Library of SA PRG 1712/3/30.

Established as the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in 1876, the WCH was the country’s first hospital to specialise in health services for women, children and young people.

Now, the hospital is part of a wider network, the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, which includes a string of family support, mental health, child protection, disability support and sexual assault services across the state.

The network employs 3500 people.

More than 48,000 women and children present to the WCH’s emergency department, while 4800 babies are born, and 230,000 outpatients receive care there every year.

Lindsey landed the top job just two months ago, bringing with her 36 years of experience in health care in the UK and Australia.

She began her health career as a biomedical scientist, spending her time in pathology labs, before completing a master’s degree in management and moving into mainstream hospital roles.

In 2009 Lindsey and husband Paul decided to emigrate to Australia after travelling Down Under various times and falling in love with the landscape.

Upon arriving here, Lindsey became the general manager of the RAH, before exploring other states and taking on executive roles at hospitals on the Gold Coast and in Western NSW.

But something about her time in Adelaide stuck.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network CEO Lindsey Gough.

“We always said we wanted to come back to Adelaide, it’s our Australia home,” she says.

“When this job (WCH) was advertised I knew it was the right one for me.”

Lindsey says working every day in an environment with sick children and their families can be “really hard”, but it is also rewarding.

The hospital is often visited by the Humour Foundation’s Clown Doctors who bring laughter to many sick children, while play therapists and dress up days also help to bring optimism to little lives going through the darkest of times.

Lindsey says it’s impossible to not be touched by the emotion at the WCH.

“When you’re going around the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, it does make you emotional,” she says.

“But even though I’m in a management role now, I know what I’m doing each day contributes to helping sick kids and their families.

“Walking down the corridors and seeing the smiles on people’s faces, that’s what makes it worthwhile.”

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

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Adelaide men’s swimwear brand catches eye of major online retailer

Temperatures might be dipping into icy figures as Adelaide settles into the thick of winter, but South Australia’s Jordan Kallios and Corey Decandia still have board shorts on the brain.

Less than a year into the trade, the pair’s online men’s swimwear brand Vacay Swimwear has caught the eye of Australia’s largest online fashion retailer, The Iconic.

Specialising in vibrant male swim shorts, Vacay Swimwear gathered popularity on Instagram before being picked up by the US and European markets.

Based in Adelaide, Jordan and Corey’s label recently received praise from The Iconic’s head of menswear, Tom Simpson, who says Vacay Swimwear ranks in his top five swim short brands.

“Vacay Swimwear is an amazing brand, it knows who it is and doesn’t over-complicate things,” he says.

“Possessing basic prints in amazing shapes with added details, it is a great price point and relates well to the typical Australian man.

“It was the guys that made me want to stock the brand. Every brand that I bring into The Iconic has to have a story.

“I met the guys and you could feel the passion and enthusiasm for the brand – that’s what sold it for me, and it just so happened that the product was amazing as well.”

Vacay Swimwear pieces feature bold prints and are named after some of the world’s most exclusive holiday destinations.

“We’ve both been avid shoppers on The Iconic and we have to pinch ourselves when we see Vacay Swimwear stocked among some of the biggest brands in the world,” Corey adds.

Header image features Corey Decandia, left, and Jordan Kallios.

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

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Streaky Bay’s Courela Clothing keeping shearers happy for 30 years

Enter a shearing shed anywhere on the Eyre Peninsula and it’s likely you’ll spot the Courela Clothing logo slapped on a shearer’s trousers.

The Streaky Bay business has been a shearer’s brand of choice for 30 years, with customers in the US, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Israel donning the South Australian-made gear.

Courela Clothing has come a long way from its beginnings in the 1980s in Kerry and Noel Johnson’s lounge room.

Kerry began making shearing clothes from home for her husband Noel – a former shearer also known as ‘Grub’ – while their young children were at school.

Word soon spread throughout shearing sheds about the comfortable and hard-wearing pants, made from breathable, stretchier ‘shearer’s denim’.

Kerry Johnson of Courela Clothing. Photo courtesy of the West Coast Sentinel.

“We would drive miles and miles to sell gear at regional shops and rural areas,” Kerry says.

“There wasn’t a lot around because there was no internet then. Thirty years ago you couldn’t just Google things, you had to use the Yellow Pages.”

The Courela Clothing line consists of three key pieces – shearing trousers, singlets and jumpers.

Made from a stretch denim cloth, the trousers are high-waisted and can withstand greater wear and tear compared to typical denim jeans.

“They are long-lasting and the fabric doesn’t catch prickles which can be in the sheep’s wool and perforate through normal fabric,” Kerry says.

“Shearers often pick up a sheep with their hands and the sheep rests on their legs as it is shorn, so there is abrasion on the inner legs all day.”

Kerry says the designs have evolved over the years, with Noel and her son often giving feedback on the clothing after being out on the job.

“They’d come back and say the fabric wears out here, and this needs to be fixed,” she says.

With the word about Courela – which is also the name of their family farm – having spread throughout the Eyre Peninsula, it soon became a well-known shearing clothing brand across Australia and overseas.

“Shearers travel overseas a lot, and that’s how the word spreads,” Kerry says.

“We have a local man here who has travelled every year to Italy for the last 25 years to shear.”

Kerry estimates that Courela Clothing has sold “thousands” of items over the past three decades.

A team of five staff work from the Courela workshop at the Johnson’s Streaky Bay property.

Noel also sells and repairs shearing tools and equipment.

While the rural town isn’t as renowned for shearing as SA’s Limestone Coast, Kerry says it’s still home to many mixed farms.

She is one of four daughters who all were taught how to sew by their mother from a young age.

Aside from handling a sewing machine, they also know how to work the shears.

“I wasn’t a prissy little girl, my dad taught me how to shear when I was about 12,” Kerry says.

“Shearers are a very diverse bunch, but they’re generous and really down-to-earth, hard-working blokes.

“It’s predominantly a man’s world, although not as much these days as there are many women shearers.”

The improving gender balance in the shearing industry was made evident this week when TAFE SA announced that a 25-year-old woman had become the state’s first female to complete a Certificate III in Shearing.

Kerry says one of Courela Clothing’s biggest achievements was its ability to survive in the manufacturing world.

“Our biggest achievement has simply been surviving as a small business, that to me has been the biggest challenge,” she says.

“It’s hard work, and we strive to keep our quality.

“Supporting small local businesses is so important because it means jobs for our towns.

“Plus, people know they’re getting something that is Australian-made.”

[mappress mapid=”265”]

Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

Major Partner[logooos_saved id=”5491″]Program Partners[logooos_saved id=”17589″]Major Media Partner[logooos_saved id=”5506″]

Hansen Yuncken continues Adelaide Casino ties through $330m expansion

National commercial building company Hansen Yuncken will revisit its history with SKYCITY Entertainment Group when it delivers a $330m expansion of the Adelaide Casino over the next two years.

The major builder worked on the original casino development back in 1985, a time when the Adelaide Riverbank was in stark contrast to the contemporary backdrop it provides today.

The significant expansion will deliver a world-class entertainment precinct and create 1000 construction jobs and a further 800 permanent positions upon its completion.

Set to feature a 123-room luxury hotel, new bars, cafés, restaurants, a 750-seat function space, VIP gaming facilities and a 1500-space car park, the development is the largest private sector investment in Adelaide’s history.

An artist’s impression of the new Adelaide Casino.

For Hansen Yuncken, the casino expansion will join a portfolio of other large infrastructure projects which have helped shape the city over the past 80 years.

State manager Mark Rosenboom says the company is proud to have an input into the development which is expected to draw high end tourists and attract more people to the riverbank.

“This project is going to benefit the city of Adelaide so much in terms of attracting tourists and bringing people into Adelaide specifically to be a part of this fantastic entertainment venue,” he says.

“It’s going to be a great boost for the state as a whole.”

Hansen Yuncken has begun construction on site, with works scheduled for completion in 2020.

The commercial building company is working predominantly with local contractors and suppliers on the 12-level building, managing its construction, logistics, quality and project safety.

Mark says the expansion will continue Hansen Yuncken’s 33-year relationship with the casino.

“We first worked on the original casino development back in 1985 and we’ve been involved in a number of upgrades since then too,” Mark says.

“Continuing the long history that we have with the Adelaide Casino is really important because our business is built on repeat clients and working on the same facilities and precincts over many years.”

While the Adelaide Casino expansion is the biggest project on Hansen Yuncken’s books at the moment, it’s certainly not the biggest in its history.

It was involved in one of the biggest, most expensive, and most significant builds in recent years – the construction of the $2.3 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which opened its doors in 2017.

Hansen Yuncken state manager Mark Rosenboom.

Hansen Yuncken was founded in Melbourne in 1918, opening offices around the country thereafter, including one in Adelaide in 1939.

Its first Adelaide project was the former Bank of NSW office building on the corner of North Terrace and King William streets and now housing 2KW Bar and Restaurant and Jamie’s Italian Restaurant.

Since then Hansen Yuncken has been responsible for the old David Jones building in Rundle Mall, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Bicentennial Conservatory, the 50 Flinders Street office tower, and the UniSA Cancer Research Institute, among others.

Mark says the key to Hansen Yuncken’s longstanding success in SA is the loyalty of the company’s staff and its ability to maintain long term relationships in the local market.

Hansen Yuncken was behind the construction of UniSA’s Cancer Research Institute.

“In some cases our project partners have gone over generations not just years,” he says.

“Being in Adelaide since 1939 means people understand that you’re here for the long run.”

Mark, who has been with Hansen Yuncken for 24 years, says it’s an exciting time to be a part of SA’s infrastructure industry.

“It’s an exciting time not just because of the volume of work that’s happening but the mix of private, state and federal investment,” he says.

“It’s a good blend and that’s a good sign for the future.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Adelaide’s live music scene on show for Jam LIVE

From street art splashed across Hindley Street’s Jive to the Bert Newton shrine in Waymouth Street’s Grace Emily, Adelaide is home to quirky live music institutions that have stood the test of time.

This weekend, venues which have helped shaped the city’s live music scene will feature in a new local music TV show that gives viewers a front-row experience of live performances from across Adelaide.

Channel Nine Adelaide’s Jam LIVE will introduce new artists and showcase old favourites in a celebration of live music in Adelaide, a UNESCO City of Music.

Jive might be quiet and colourful during the day, but at night its walls vibrate with the boom as live gigs unfold before scores of music lovers. Photo: Jive Facebook.

Jam LIVE features venues such as The Gov, Grace Emily, Wheatsheaf Hotel and Jive, all of which are renowned for hosting live gigs, supporting established and upcoming musicians and adding culture to the city’s nightlife.

Radio personality Shanelle Franklin will host the show, which will air live performances by SA seven-piece rock outfit West Thebarton, as well as interstate favourites San Cisco, Dean Lewis, Josh Cashman and Boo Seeka.

“It (Jam LIVE) is designed to get people excited about live music and back into supporting local artists, touring artists, and the venues and festivals who put these artists on,” Shanelle says.

Jam LIVE host Shanelle Franklin.

“There are some great music programs which show video clips, but we are here to bring you the live performance, which is something completely different to what is currently on TV.

“We aim to showcase live music, be a fly on the wall, and capture magic for the viewer.”

Jam LIVE hits screens this Saturday (June 23) at 4.30pm on Channel Nine Adelaide and 9Now.

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

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Adelaide Airport set for $125m terminal expansion

Adelaide Airport will undergo a $165m expansion, creating 200 jobs at construction peak and significantly improving the international travelling experience.

The project – the airport’s largest infrastructure upgrade in more than a decade – will involve an overhaul to the main terminal, including an 80% increase in the size of the dining and retail precinct.

Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young says the expansion will provide a “seamless, connected experience from the time you drive into the airport until you board your aircraft, and vice versa”.

“Since we opened the existing terminal in 2005, our overall passenger numbers have increased by close to 50%,” he says.

“Our international passenger numbers alone have almost tripled over the same period.

“This extraordinary growth means we need to keep growing our existing facilities.

“While we still have sufficient capacity to meet future forecast growth in the number of flights, we’re reaching capacity within the terminal.”

An artist’s impression of the upgraded terminal, featuring a larger retail and food precinct and greater facilities for international travellers.

The upgrades are expected to significantly improve international arrival and departure areas including a second, longer baggage belt, more space for emigration and immigration processing, expanded security screening and a larger duty-free precinct.

The retail precinct will also undergo a complete refurbishment, increasing by 80% in size across domestic and international areas.

Other improvements include a new premium international lounge, Adelaide’s first international arrival and departure VIP facilities, and a relocation of the Virgin Australia lounge.

Work will begin immediately and be completed by 2021.

ASX-listed construction company Watpac – which has an office in Adelaide – is the project builder and will start on site in a fortnight.

Mark says 70% of materials used in the project and 100% of the labour force will be South Australian.

He says 200 jobs will be created during construction peak, with a further 600 retail positions created due to the retail and dining expansion.

The retail and dining area will increase by 80%.

Mark says the expansion could help attract more international airlines to Adelaide.

“We would like to see a direct service to the west coast of the US, but that is some time off as there is often a 5 to 7-year period of marketing,” he says.

Mark says the airport is also focusing on increasing its services into mainland China.

He says airports form an important basis for people’s travels.

“People really feel that an airport is the start of their journey,” Mark says.

“They use that visitor opportunity to experience a little bit of SA.”

The upgrade is set to be complete by 2021.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway, says the expansion is a vote of confidence in the SA economy and will help grow the state’s tourism industry.

“This redevelopment will enhance SA’s ability to attract more international airlines and accommodate an increase in the frequency of air services in the future – all of which will help grow our economy and support more jobs,” he says.

“It’s certainly very encouraging to see private sector investment of this scale in SA and I would like to congratulate Adelaide Airport on this significant investment.”

Adelaide Airport processes more than eight million passengers a year.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Naracoorte is my home now

Hafeezullah Haidari had fled persecution in Pakistan when he came to Australia in 2013 with only $34 to his name.

Forced to leave behind his wife and four children, Hafeezullah, a member of Pakistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, sought asylum in Australia, 10,000km from home.

He settled in the small Limestone Coast town of Naracoorte and built a life “from nothing”, opening an Indian restaurant and harnessing a desire give back to the community that took him in.

“In my country it’s not safe for Hazara men,” Hafeezullah says.

“That’s why I came to Australia. It’s the best country in the world, and it’s a safe place.

“I arrived in Australia, and my friend lived in Naracoorte, he told me to come here. I had no work, I was thinking I’d search for how I’m going to build up my life, so I arrived in Naracoorte.

“I am from nothing. No money, no nothing. I decided that I wanted to open a restaurant in the town.”

Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte restauranteur Hafeezullah Haidari, left, with his brother Asmat Ullah Haidari. Photo courtesy of the Naracoorte Herald.

After settling in Australia for two years, Hafeezullah opened Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte, and set out to give back to the community that had embraced him.

Hafeezullah supplies Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteers with free meals and water during emergencies, and also trains and mentors local students and fellow migrants in the town.

He supports Naracoorte High School and Independent Learning Centre students, who mostly speak English as a second language, to increase their employability and build their confidence.

“Many students come through and go on to get a part time job,” Hafeezullah says.

“They learn good confidence and built up their hospitality skills.”

Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte volunteers, Fatima, left, Zahra, Sayed Kazimi, with owner Hafeezullah, and Kara Renshaw, Alannah Johnson and Lianni De Been were congratulated on their efforts. Photo courtesy of Naracoorte Herald.

Aside from hosting fundraising dinners, Hafeezullah provides breakfast for Naracoorte’s annual Australia Day celebrations, and is a member of the local Rotary Club.

In 2017, his story made it to TV screens across Australia when SBS World News aired a piece on his background and the restaurant.

Hafeezullah’s brother Asmat Ullah Haidari has also settled in South Australia and for the first time since 2013, Hafeezullah will travel to Iran in July to see his wife and children.

He says bringing them to Australia is too difficult due to immigration processes but he manages to stay in regular contact.

Hafeezullah is a trained chef, having worked in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Naracoorte Migrant Resource Centre co-ordinator Jenny Stirling says about 350–400 Afghans and Pakistanis currently call Naracoorte home.

She says people often detour to Naracoorte to enjoy fine dining at the Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte.

Hafeezullah, left, with team members from Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte, and 2018 Citizen of the Year Peter Flavel at this year’s Australia Day breakfast. Photo courtesy of Naracoorte Herald.

“His restaurant is noted for its excellence in service standards, quality of ingredients and standard of fare,” Jenny says.

“Hafeezullah Haidari is a self-made man who came to Australia with nothing but his skills and a determination to make the most of his opportunity to build a business and a life in Australia.”

It’s hard to find a bad review of his Indian-style cuisine, which he cooks from authentic recipes and fresh spices and ingredients.

“Indian (food) in Pakistan, the taste is the same – it’s a part of India and a part of Pakistan,” he says.

“Butter chicken is a top dish for Indian cuisine and it’s my favourite.

“Korma is also top of the menu. There are many choices in the restaurant, and a local wine list.”

Pearl Indian Cuisine Naracoorte supports many local wineries including Brand’s Laira, Penley Estate, Patrick of Coonawarra, Browns of Padthaway, and DiGiorgio.

[mappress mapid=”264″]

Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

Major Partner[logooos_saved id=”5491″]Program Partners[logooos_saved id=”17589″]Major Media Partner[logooos_saved id=”5506″]