Top 10 South Australian Christmas traditions

Some Christmas traditions can only be experienced in South Australia. Where else would you find the kind of nostalgia the West End Brewery Christmas Lights evoke every year?

And forget handfuls of cherries. Thanks to our Adelaide Hills orchardists we eat the favourite Christmas fruit by the bucketload, leaving our lips stained purple throughout the rest of summer.

We camp out at Elder Park in the hot sun to get a top spot for the carols, and we pile in the car and head to Lobethal, feeling just as impressed by the twinkling lights as we did when we were a kid.

Christmas in SA is full of events, markets, activities, and traditions that carry on through generations. Here’s a few of the oldies but goodies you’d be a Grinch to miss.

1. Lights of Lobethal

The small Adelaide Hills town of Lobethal is pretty sleepy, except for in December.

Much of the town decorates its businesses, shopfronts and houses in twinkling lights and Christmas arrays creating the largest community lights display in the southern hemisphere.

It’ll take a couple of hours to get around the whole town, and be sure not to miss Bill and Peg Chartres’s house on the hill of Christmas Lane. Yes, Christmas Lane. The Chartres’s have been displaying lights since the 1980s, with lights, toys and figurines scattered throughout their property.

2. West End Brewery Lights

A child must not reach adulthood without viewing the quirks of the West End Brewery Christmas Displays on the banks of the River Torrens in Thebarton.

You’ll find a nativity scene, a ferris wheel, a water wheel, and Santa and his reindeers among other festive characters and displays.

This free community event is popular with young families, with the lights turning on at dusk each evening until the end of December.

The West End Brewery Lights are a must-visit at least once for every South Australian. Photo by Clive Boyce.

3. Carols by Candlelight 

A classic event for Christmas carol lovers, the annual carols event in Elder Park is the perfect place to belt out festive favourites.

Families serious about the QBE Insurance Carols by Candlelight will arrive early in the day to snag a spot as close to the stage as they can, settling in with picnic rugs, snacks and oodles of enthusiasm.

Brand South Australia has once again partnered with QBE Insurance Carols by Candlelight to offer one lucky person the chance to win a festive hamper full of local products to the value of more than $5000. Enter here.

4. A South Australian seafood feast

Spencer Gulf king prawns, Coffin Bay oysters and southern rock lobster – there’s no shortage of seafood offerings here in SA.

When you buy local seafood you’re supporting SA’s sustainable seafood and aquaculture industries. Ferguson’s Australia, Cappo Seafood, and Angelakis Bros are just a few local names who will sort you out in the seafood department.

Fresh local seafood is a must at Christmas. Photo courtesy of Adelaide Central Market.

5. Beach cricket

Wearing off that seafood feast by playing a good old-fashioned game of beach cricket is almost a Christmas rite of passage in SA. Our state has some of the best white sandy beaches in the country, from the Eyre Peninsula along to the Yorke Peninsula, and Fleurieu.

Many of our coastal towns come alive during summer and especially around the holiday period. The livelihood of their businesses relies on the festive season trade – another reason to keep it local and holiday in your own backyard.

6. Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt

Not yet a longstanding tradition (as it’s only been around for about six years) this European-style Christmas market in the German town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills is well on its way to becoming an annual favourite.

Held in the town’s main street, the Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt brings the magic touches of a European Christmas market to Australia, allowing visitors to wander beneath twinkling fairy lights, shop for handicrafts and enjoy a glass of Glühwein.

The Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt is on December 14–16.

7. Santa’s Magic Cave

Everyone has at least one embarrassing photo of themselves as a child with Santa.

The jolly man in red can be found at the Magic Cave at David Jones, Rundle Mall, where little ones can put in their last-minute wish lists and pose for that classic shot to be cherished for years to come.

The Magic Cave is a bit of an Adelaide icon, launching in former department store John Martin’s in 1896. Aside from Santa and his elves, other fairy tale characters and other glitzy displays can be explored.

8. Victoria Square Christmas tree

You probably won’t find a Christmas tree taller than this one. The giant Christmas tree in the heart of the city in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga will dazzle with thousands of lights once it’s officially switched on at 8.30pm on December 1.

It’s the city’s Christmas centrepiece and with Victoria Square redeveloped in recent years to include more public furniture and greenery, it’s a place you can hang around and take in with sparkling delight.

The tallest Christmas tree in Adelaide can be found in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. Photo by Clive Boyce.

9. Christmas pageants

Christmas pageants and nativity scenes have been around for donkeys’ years and nearly every town has one. It’s a time when the glue guns get a real work out in the making of impressive of Christmas floats and homemade costumes.

Local businesses get on board, as do local schools, sporting groups and community organisations, parading around town and down main streets to kick-start the silly season.

The man in red always makes an appearance and the bitumen is always covered in chalk drawings by the end.

Aside from the big pageant in Adelaide in November, Christmas pageants roll out across our larger metropolitan suburbs to the smallest of country towns.

10. Adelaide Central Market 

This thriving hub is one of the country’s largest fresh produce markets, and right before Christmas it gets crazy.

The stalls are packed with local produce including fruit and veggies, cheeses, meats, seafood, baked goods, smallgoods and other treats needed for your festive household celebrations.

December through to February is the time for stone fruit including juicy, plump cherries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries that will make for the perfect Christmas pavlova. The market’s opening hours are extended in the lead up to Christmas, check out the website for more information.

Header image by Clive Boyce of Photo Morsels.

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.

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Adelaide will always be home for The Superjesus’ Sarah McLeod

Adelaide-born The Superjesus front woman and rock goddess Sarah McLeod rose to the heights of the Aussie rock and roll scene in the ’90s, helping to pave the way for young aspiring female artists to follow.

An inductee in the South Australia Music Hall of Fame, the four-piece was formed in Adelaide and in 1998 released whopper album Sumo which was released worldwide, went double platinum and won best rock album at the ARIA Awards that same year.

Twenty years on and lead singer Sarah tells Brand SA News she will always have a soft spot for the city that started it all.

“I love flying home to Adelaide to see Mum and my school friends,” she says. “My first pit stop is Asian Gourmet in the Adelaide Central Market for a laksa – it’s actually the best.”

“I adore the Adelaide hills. My mate Susie and her husband Andrew own Bird in Hand Winery, I love to go up there and roam around the vineyards with a glass of their Nest Egg Chardonnay”.

Sarah reflects on her crazy career journey and where it all began.

Superjesus frontwoman Sarah McLeod and Stuart Rudd.

“Mum worked so hard to send my sister and I to St Peter’s Girls’ School, and all I wanted to do was work at the stock exchange,” says Sarah, who initially envisioned herself as a stockbroker, in Michael J Fox The Secret of My Success kind of style.

Finishing school and attending Flinders University she welcomed the need for some reckless behaviour. So she booked a trip to Bali with the girls.

After a few drinks and some Dutch courage, Sarah jumped on stage – her first time ever performing in front of an audience. Wearing baggy shorts, a Stussy t-shirt and green bumbag (standard Bali attire) she grabbed the guitar and belted out a tune with an Indonesian cover band. The place went bananas and people were buying her drinks all night.

Following the unexpected audition, the band had her playing every night. They even invited her to play in Jakarta in front of 200,000 Indonesians. Tempting as this was, Sarah declined, flew home, quit university and started a band.

“I’m a huge believer in swinging on the first pitch, perfection is boring and making mistakes was the fastest way to learn,” she says.

Fast forward a couple of years, which included developing nodules – a throat condition affecting her ability to sing – Sarah began working in a surf shop while her voice healed. She practiced guitar riffs when trade was quiet, and it was here that the first band Hell’s Kitchen was born.

“Our first gig was at the Crown & Anchor, then we managed to get a gig at The Synagogue (now Mary’s Poppin). We rode on our push bikes and stuck posters up all around town,” Sarah says.

“From there we did The Austral and The Exeter. I’ve always loved those two pubs. Since then we’ve done Fowlers, The Gov, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and the Thebby.”

At the 1994 Adelaide Fringe Festival, two guys wearing black sunnies (who were big in the music business) loved what they heard and signed the rock group on the spot. The band had a solid sound, new management and bookings were rolling in.

Three of the four The Superjesus members Jason Slack, left, Sarah McLeod and Stuart Rudd.

Just before their first performance at the 1996 Big Day Out, they had a last-minute epiphany and changed their name to The Superjesus. Warner Music jumped at the chance to have them on board alongside fellow ’90s rock legends Regurgitator.

Armed with a level of filthy determination, The Superjesus toured the USA in a 12-seater Ram, which they later left trashed and dripping oil in the Warner Music car park before they flew home.

They released full-length studio album SUMO, a huge success which hit gold before it reached the stores. But after playing in London at a food and wine festival, the group lost its spark, returning home and going their separate ways.

Sarah went on to live in Sydney with then boyfriend, Chris Joannou of Aussie rock royalty band Silverchair, but recognised a total shift in focus was needed. She then moved to Melbourne and changed her tempo.

“I wanted to live simply and fight for every dollar, I wanted to live and die by my sword,” she says.

Sarah also moved to New York and remembers riding a motorbike daily along the Brooklyn Bridge to an underground recording studio to play guitar riffs over every rap album the studio pushed out. She then returned to London, this time collaborating with dance music producers.

Now Sarah reflects on Adelaide’s music scene and says it’s gone from strength to strength, helped by booming small bars staying open later.

“There are so many amazing bands coming out of Adelaide,” she says. “I love Southpaw, they’re a rad blues rock band. I feel like we put in 110% to compete with east coast bands.

“I think Adelaide supersedes Melbourne with its music community. I’m thrilled UNESCO designated Adelaide ‘A City of Music’.”

MJP Studio a showcase of quality craftsmanship in our city

Crafting timeless pieces that are made to last is at the core of South Australian furniture designer Matt Pearson’s studio in Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs.

The craftsman is behind MJP Studio, maker of handmade and one-off designs that are manufactured from high quality materials with precision and passion.

Matt has an eye for refined style and a drive to make use of SA’s local supplier base wherever he can, and says Adelaide’s strong support networks allow the small but strong craft and furniture industry to flourish.

Matt Pearson in action at the Hendon-based MJP Studio. Photo by Lewis and Wilson Photography.

“The thing about Adelaide is that people support each other, they support good design and culture, they give back, and that instils confidence in me and my business,” he says.

“Supporting local is incredibly important and it’s something I’m doing in my business as well, I use local suppliers as much as I can. If local businesses expect people to buy local then they should be supporting local too.”

Matt strives to craft furniture pieces “to be woven into the fabric of the family home” but also builds custom designs for commercial and retail markets.

The Husk chair features Australian Wool-blend fabric. Photo by Heidi Wolff.

He encourages consumers to see the value of investing in high-quality locally made products and not fall victim to “high turnover consumerism” where furniture is mass manufactured and likely to be thrown away – not repaired – if broken.

He says a market of consumers who choose well made and sustainable bespoke pieces does exist, helping to sustain not only his own business, but the industry as a whole as the effects trickle through.

“With low cost furniture, if it breaks people will just throw it away, whereas if you’ve spent time with a furniture maker along the process you become connected to the maker … good furniture is made so it can be repaired,” Matt says. “A lot of contemporary makers push that and it’s always something MJP Studio has always done.”

His playful yet sophisticated works are made from high quality, locally sourced timbers from Australian and American origin, while leather and Australian wool also works their way into the fabric on some pieces, such as dining chairs and armchairs.

MJP Studio’s coffee table, the ‘Crossover’. Photo by Heidi Wolff.

Matt is originally from Sydney and moved to Tasmania in 2011 to complete a Bachelor of Environmental Design with Honours at the UTAS School of Architecture and Design, majoring in furniture.

He had heard of SA’s renowned craft and design hub JamFactory during his time at university and ended up applying for a coveted associate position within its furniture studio.

Matt was successful in gaining the spot at JamFactory in Adelaide and worked under the guidance of furniture designer Jon Goulder before going on to have his own studio there for one year.

Matt says he made the decision to remain in SA because Adelaide “ticked all the boxes”, with MJP Studio now settled as one of the city’s high end furniture manufacturers.

“Aesthetically, my style is influenced by Scandinavian design and contemporary Australian architecture and I think that comes from my training in Tassie,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

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.

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Agostino & Brown craft timeless pieces for much-loved spaces

From historic Adelaide Hills hotels to trendy metropolitan eateries and regional distilleries, Sam Agostino and Gareth Brown’s timeless furniture pieces can be found in popular places throughout the state.

The furniture and interior designers are behind custom furniture label Agostino & Brown (A+B) and are strong believers in the power of using high quality materials, while employing skilled South Australians to make the goods here in Adelaide.

“Our focus is making furniture in Adelaide where we can supply a national client base,” says Sam Agostino.

“We make everything in South Australia, we also work with other local makers and manufacturers to keep the making business local in SA.”

Aside from Sam and Gareth, A+B employs at its workshop in Wingfield four highly skilled furniture makers who have more than 70 years’ of experience between them in crafting handmade furniture.

The label’s showroom is based in Adelaide’s CBD where Sam and Gareth will meet with clients, usually interior designers after classic yet stylish timber pieces developed in strong consideration of the environment.

A+B’s work can be found in award-winning projects including the redeveloped Crafers Hotel which took out Best Hotel in Australia this year, as well as in the Stretton Centre which won Best Architecture Award in 2016 and at the Stirling Hotel which took the gong for Australia’s Best Restaurant in 2016.

Sam Agostino and Gareth Brown of Agostino & Brown. Photo by Mark Brake.

A+B works are also scattered around bars, restaurants and retail spaces including Twenty Third Street Distillery in Renmark, the Adelaide Central Market, Mitolo Winery, Angove Winery, the Feathers Hotel pavilion, and the Morphett Arms Hotel, among others. Other clients include Bendigo Adelaide Bank, Origin Energy, Westpac, Jones Lang LaSalle, RAA, Beerenberg, Monash University, Hub Australia, Qantas, and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“Having our furniture in beautiful public spaces designed by the most amazing interior designers and influential business entrepreneurs is most inspiring for us,” they say.

“We feel proud seeing our products being used by the general public and the great thing about using natural materials in our products is they tend to wear in not out, so they get even better with use. We welcome people looking for these same quality customisable furnishings in their own homes.”

Hub Australia Melbourne by Hassell Studio Adelaide, photo by Rachel Lewis, featuring A+B’s Woodsi table and olive stools.

Sam and Gareth started their working lives on differing career paths, they hadn’t yet met each other when Sam studied interior architecture at the University of South Australia, and Gareth worked as a chef in Adelaide before heading to Europe to broaden his culinary repertoire.

Gareth ran restaurants in the UK and France for many years before deciding it was time for a change, deciding to study traditional handcrafted furniture making in Bristol.

In 2007 he headed home to Adelaide, taking a spot as an associate in renowned craft studio JamFactory, and deciding SA was home once again.

During her studies, Sam had worked with designer and curator Khai Liew at Augusta Antiques, home to extremely rare and old Japanese, Danish, Australian and French pieces restored by hand.

Once she had graduated university, she worked as an interior designer at Adelaide graphic and interior designer company Enoki, and fast realised the difficulty in sourcing locally-made products.

It was while working for Enoki that she met Gareth, and later the two decided they would work well together and that making furniture from Adelaide was a viable venture.

Twig House by interior designer Allison Pye, photo by Lisa Cohen featuring A&B’s Tambootie table in custom colour finish.

Their business was registered in 2010 and soon after they began designing their first product, the Fig stool, a classically shaped solid American oak and Australian pine piece that “set the tone for our style”.

“Our furniture style is simple, functional and practical with a clean aesthetic,” Gareth says.

“It is always custom made with the highest quality of finish and construction and an environmentally conscious design process. We simply solve problems in manufacturing and the availability of good furniture. We respect our craft, value craftsmanship and enjoy the process of making objects that will last a lifetime.”

The main material used for their collections of tables, seating, storage cabinets and shelves, mirrors and lighting is solid hardwood oak sourced from ethically managed and sustainable forests in Australia and America. A+B also uses re-claimed timbers such as Oregon and Messmate, as well as quality leather, marble, stone and steel.

Sam and Gareth say design and manufacturing in Adelaide is of high quality and that the city is home to strong support among businesses.

“We feel part of an exciting, innovative and growing community,” Sam says.

“Adelaide is an amazing place to live and provides endless opportunities to work with prominent clients on superior projects.”

Header image: The Stirling Hotel by proprietor Sarah Matthews, featuring A+B’s olive stools and doughwood table.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

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.

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Give a gift that makes a difference this Christmas

‘Tis the season of giving, but instead of presents why not celebrate this Christmas with a gift that gives back to fellow South Aussies?

This festive season Brand South Australia is proud to show its support for some of the state’s leading charitable organisations by encouraging people to visit Shop South Australia and donate to its member charities and foundations.

Members of the public can visit Shop South Australia’s newly created ‘Donate to Charity’ category and choose from more than 40 of Brand South Australia’s charity members to gift a direct donation.

Shop South Australia is a free platform allowing users to link directly to the charity’s own website to complete their donation, enduring all funds go to the chosen foundation.

Donators can choose from charities across a range of sectors including animals, arts, children, community support, environment and health.

Brand South Australia’s general manager corporate partnerships, Nicola Martin, says the not-for-profit organisation is pleased to support its member charities this festive season.

“We have over 40 charities and foundations that are part of our membership program, and hope that people’s generous donations will help support the vital work that they do,” she says.

To donate to charity click here.


Membership and Sponsorship with Brand South Australia offers unique business opportunities to connect with significant South Australian businesses and industries.

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Global collectors blown away by SA glass artists

Glass artists from South Australia are gaining increasing global recognition as the state’s unique arts institutions help create opportunities on the world stage.

“When it comes to glass, on an international and national scale SA is renowned,” says Emma Fey from SA’s leading creative organisation Guildhouse.

She cites a group visit this month from Canada’s Corning Museum, revealing that Adelaide was specifically chosen for meetings with key glass practitioners over other cities in Australia.

Emma says that SA has “some really unique specialisations” that are a legacy of its strong teaching institutions created from the 1960s onwards.

She lists the likes of SALA Artist of 2018 Clare Belfrage who “has won a bucket load of prizes” and made several overseas visits representing her work this year among particularly prominent names.

Wakefield Press recently published a monograph Clare Belfrage: Rhythms of necessity exploring the significance of her contribution to contemporary international glass art.

Clare has maintained a distinguished practice for more than 25 years with her highly detailed blown glass making her one of the country’s most renowned designer-makers.

Clare Belfrage’s glass work, ‘A wash in greens’.

Then there’s the “extraordinarily talented” Nick Mount, whose work is represented in major private and public collections including state galleries and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

And Tom Moore, well-known for his maximalist style and is one of Australia’s most respected glass artists.

Emma from Guildhouse believes the rich relationships between institutions like Adelaide’s JamFactory “where Clare still blows hot glass in the studio a couple of times a week” build a strong arts community.

“It’s feedback we often get from larger cities, especially on the east coast of Australia,” she says. “In SA we’re small enough that the ecosystem is dynamic and there’s lots of collaboration.”

The former development manager at the Art Gallery of South Australia took over the reins of Guildhouse about 18 months ago.

Established in 1966, Guildhouse was originally known as the Craft Association of South Australia, and is a member-based organisation promoting and supporting the careers of living SA artists, art students, curators, installers and arts workers.

Emma has overseen the peak body reaching record membership numbers, growing 15% to 830 members during her time in the role.

The organisation also moved to the Lion Arts Centre among other contemporary arts institutions in the West End of the city during December last year with support from Arts SA – which also has led to a “huge increase in the number of people popping in”.

Emma says it’s all about “connecting artists with the outside world and letting the magic happen”.

She refers to the organisation’s Well Made website – created to showcase high quality and bespoke creative work in SA and to give buyers looking for unique work the opportunity to connect directly.

Emma Fey from SA’s leading creative organisation Guildhouse says the state’s glass artists are renowned on a global scale.

There’s been a particular focus on strengthening the platform with Guildhouse last year winning a Google Adwords grant worth US$120,000 to spend US$10,000 per month on Google Adwords. The move has doubled Well Made website views, reaching up to 300 visitors a day.

It’s also seen an increase in enquiries resulting in commissions from the likes of Twentieth Century Fox to the City of Charles Sturt and The Gallery restaurant and bar on Waymouth Street in Adelaide. Emma says more than 50 artists now use the curated site.

“There are quite a few commissions coming through the website and we really want to grow that,” she says.

“We have a really diverse sector of artists working across all forms of visual arts practice – from the more traditional to new and experimental art.

“Some of the emerging artists are jaw-droppingly amazing. Likewise, we have an enviable cohort of accomplished mid-career and established artists that have chosen SA as their home and place of business – we are incredibly fortunate.”

Emma believes there’s been a gradual change among artists who look toward creating sustainable businesses, with Guildhouse supporting them through their website, workshops and funding opportunities.

“For a number of artists the language around marketing and understanding what they bring to the market place is something new, but it feels like that is changing,” she says.

“Still, the key thing I would say is that when it comes to succeeding, your work has to be excellent – the important thing is to have great work and from there anything is possible.”

Header image is of glass artist Clare Belfrage. Photo by Grant Hocking.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

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.

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Sweet export deal for SA-made chocolate icon

The iconic South Australian-made chocolate bar, Violet Crumble, will make its way from Adelaide and into the hands of American chocolate lovers as Robern Menz expands its export plan in the US.

A 20-ft shipping container holding 77,000 of the chocolate honeycomb treats will leave Adelaide for Los Angeles and San Francisco this week, following a deal between Violet Crumble’s maker Robern Menz and distributors British Wholesale Imports last month.

Violet Crumbles have been available in a small number of US outlets including Cost Plus World Market, Wegmans, Stater Brothers and 7 Eleven for more than 20 years, but Robern Menz has a strategic focus to expand internationally.

Inside the Robern Menz factory. Photo by Julian Cebo.

Fourth-generation family business Robern Menz, also the maker of the round chocolate apricot treat Fruchocs, acquired Violet Crumble from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé earlier this year, bringing ownership of the famous purple and yellow wrapped bar back to Australia for the first time in 46 years.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says the company is “thrilled” to be in a position to manage the expansion of the well known Aussie brand into international markets, including the US.

“The reception around our planned expansion in the US has been really positive; Violet Crumble’s unique taste profile and branding is really resonating with Americans, who want to know how they can buy it locally,” he says.

“It’s so rewarding to see the first shipment leave the factory and make its way into the hands of American consumers and we can’t wait to hear the reaction from many more Americans to something that Australians hold so dear.”

The Violet Crumble is known for its tagline ‘it’s the way it shatters that matters’.

Production of the Violet Crumble in Adelaide began in October, following a $4 million refit and extension of the Robern Menz factory at Glynde in Adelaide’s east.

The factory’s overall output was increased by 37% and 30 additional staff were hired to oversee production and management of the Violet Crumble.

Robern Menz is also celebrating for another reason this week, after becoming the inaugural inductee for the Consumer Award Legend at the SA Food Industry Awards.

The Violet Crumble chocolate bar has been around since 1913 when it was invented by Melbourne man Abel Hoadley.

It was made in Adelaide until 1985 before moving to Melbourne under Nestlé’s ownership.

Header image by Julian Cebo.

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.

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Café with a cause at Kangaroo Island Airport

Airline passengers touching down at one of South Australia’s most popular tourist destinations are now able to get their caffeine fix after a disability service organisation established its first social enterprise at the Kangaroo Island airport.

Not-for-profit organisation Mobo Group strengthened its presence in the state’s regions this week when it opened a café at the newly upgraded Kangaroo Island Kingscote Airport, providing employment opportunities for locals living with a disability.

The yet-to-be-named café is currently serving hot beverages and small treats to visitors flying in and out of the the island, giving Mobo employees a chance to build social and vocational skills.

CEO of Mobo Group Andrew Ramsey says he is looking forward to witnessing the many benefits the café will create for employees, patrons and Kangaroo Island’s tourism industry.

Airline passengers order coffee at the newly opened café run by the Mobo Group at the Kangaroo Island Kingscote Airport.

Not only will Mobo employees be provided with employment, they will have the chance to receive barista training, develop their social skills through engaging with customers and will also become tourist ambassadors for the region.

“This new café will enable people living with a disability to be the best that they can be, by giving them the opportunity for sustained employment within the community as well as employment-related support,” he says.

“The café is our first business enterprise on Kangaroo Island and we really look forward to being an even greater part of the community and helping to support the tourism trade and those transiting through the airport.”

Although the airport café is the organisation’s first social enterprise on the island, Mobo Group is long delivered youth services, alcohol and drug programs and run the local Centrelink agency.

The new café complements the recently upgraded Kingscote airport.

“We hope that this will be the first of a number of social enterprises which can be developed on the island, building on the support that we already provide to Kangaroo Island residents living with a disability,” Andrew says.

Kangaroo Island Council CEO Andrew Boardman says the café will be a welcome addition to the airport, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar upgrade.

The State and Federal government funded the works, with the council also developing the project.

“The opportunity to leverage council infrastructure to create opportunities for all in our community is a key thrust in the design of the new facilities, and the council is looking forward to this initiative being the start of great things to come in this area,” Mr Boardman says.

Mobo Group employee Bec Davis restocks the beverages. Bec, along with fellow employees Carmel and Julie, were instrumental in bringing the café to fruition.

Mobo Group supports more than 200 people with disabilities in finding employment and engaging in employment-related support services across metropolitan and regional SA.

The organisation was formed from the merger of two disability enterprises, Hands On SA and Finding Workable Solutions and has a presence in regional areas of Berri, Brinkley, Goolwa, Totness, Mt Barker and Victor Harbor.

Mobo runs a number of business enterprises across the state in document destruction, firewood, food packaging, garden maintenance, mailing campaigns, packaging and processing services, product assembly, print finishing, sewing services and salvage shops.

It is a registered provider of NDIS services, and supports people with disabilities in finding a job, transitioning from school to work, accessing alcohol and drug awareness, and youth services.

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New state award to recognise top agricultural towns

A new South Australian award announced today will help showcase regional towns that are supporting and promoting the agricultural industry.

The SA Ag Town of the Year Award was announced on National Ag Day (November 21) by Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone during a visit to the Mid North.

The award will form a part of Brand South Australia’s 2019 Regional Showcase Program, which tells stories of success here on Brand SA News, highlighting the achievements of regional businesses, groups and individuals.

Local towns flying the flag for primary industries will be eligible for the new award, which highlights the vital role agriculture plays in regional communities. Guidelines for the SA Ag Town of the Year Award will be released in the near future.

Minister Whetstone says the new award is a unique way to acknowledge farming communities for diversity and innovation and to celebrate agriculture as a part of their social fabric.

“We want to acknowledge the positive impact agriculture has on regional towns and the flow on effect this has on a township, on community members and on the state as a whole,” he says.

“The Ag Town of the Year Award will also highlight how our communities can learn from each other and will enable them to grow.”

Minister Whetstone says primary industries generated $22.5 billion in the agriculture, food, wine and forestry sectors in 2016/17.

In addition to National Ag Day, today is also World Fisheries Day, highlighting the critical importance of global fisheries and ensuring sustainable stocks and healthy ocean ecosystems.

Join in and Thank A Farmer by using the hashtags #ThankafarmerSA, #ThanksafisherSA, #AgDayAU, #ichoosesa and #EatLocalSA on social media.

Regional Showcase stories are made possible by:

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Craft beers creating top brew of SA entrepreneurs

A heady mix of top South Australian creators of beer, gin and wine are about to launch a unique Adelaide Hills cellar door with two of the state’s leading chefs running the kitchen.

“Lot 100 is being launched on December 8 and I’m getting married there next Friday,” Mismatch Brewing and group brand manager Leigh Morgan says.

The ambitious, all-in-one brewery, distillery, cellar door and restaurant just outside of Nairne will showcase produce from Mismatch Brewing, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Adelaide Hills Cider, Vinteloper and Ashton Valley Fresh.

The creators of the $4.5 million production facility and cellar door want it to be a memorable experience. From the entry gates to the sprawling 84 ha property, a driveway sweeps up the hill to a modern barn-style cellar door featuring raw timber and concrete, surrounded by 100-year-old gum trees.

Inside Lot 100 at Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.

Inside, the kitchen will be overseen by acclaimed chefs Shannon Fleming formerly from Orana and Tom Bubner from Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, Chicken and Pig – and there’s enough space to host weddings of 660 people.

Next Friday marks its first outing with 226 guests arriving to celebrate Leigh tying the knot with Adelaide occupational therapist Hayley Foreman.

“We won’t be honeymooning yet, I’ve managed to convince my beautiful soon-to-be wife we should escape winter next year instead, which gives me six months working with the team,” Leigh says.

It’s been a jam-packed few years for the co-founder of successful online wine company Vinomofo after joining forces with Mismatch Brewing head brewer and founder Ewan Brewerton full time earlier this year.

All will be revealed at Lot 100 on December 8.

Having launched in 2013 as a gypsy brewer using space in other facilities, Mismatch last year built its own brewery alongside the Adelaide Hills Distillery company famed for its hand crafted spirits.

Its first beer was completed in December 2017 and, in June this year, it took out the Champion Trophy at the prestigious Australian Independent Brewers Association Awards.

At Lot 100, Leigh says the team wants to create leading products but sustainably. There are solar panels and water from two onsite bores is put through a reverse osmosis system and any waste is used to irrigate surrounding orchards. Plans are also afoot to plant a market garden and hops for the brewing process.

“We’re doing this for our children’s children, if more companies think that way it’s going to be so much better for everyone,” Leigh says.

The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery in the Riverland is another craft brewery operating sustainably.

It’s a similar theme in the Riverland, where Tom and Sarah Freeman first opened their craft brewery, Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, in a 100-year-old shearing shed overlooking the River Murray in 2009.

At that stage, only five other SA businesses were operating in the niche market.

“Now I think there’s about 37 craft or independent brewers in SA alone and another 11 or more applications are with councils,” Tom says.

Wilkadene is 20km north of Renmark with a cellar door overlooking the picturesque river.

It’s 100% family owned with a focus on producing its beers and Utopia range of ales, cider, hard lemonade and the Rude Ruby, a grapefruit drink which the brewery produced 100,000 litres of last year. Its beverages are produced with zero waste, with wastewater used to irrigate the garden, there’s 40kW of solar panels installed and used grain is fed to the chickens.

Rainwater is also used to save on the River Murray with Tom saying as the brewery has expanded so too has the amount of roofs capturing water.

“We have a good relationship with our neighbours who have a packing shed, they give us water and we give them beer,” Tom says.

The Woolshed Brewery is located on the banks of the mighty Murray at Wilkadene.

Tom says ever-increasing consumer interest in craft beers has spurred growth at Wilkadene Station where he grew up before moving to study and work in wine marketing in Adelaide.

It was when his parents were looking to sell the farm and houseboat business that Tom and his wife Sarah came up with the brewery idea.

“I’d developed a real passion for the beer industry particularly the craft industry, and we’d always wanted to do more with the shearing shed,” Tom says.

Over the past seven years the business’s beer production increased by 80% per year and last year by a further 30%, with 70,000 litres of beer now produced on site and another 15,000 litres at other breweries.

Tom’s personal favourite from the Woolshed Brewery is the drop most sought after in the colder months, a dark ale made with locally grown and roasted wattleseed called Judas the Dark.

“We get the wattleseed from just down the road at Australian Native Bush Foods, it’s run by Mark Lucas and he was a wool classer here when I was a kid,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

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.

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Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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