Mallee Park Football Club breeds outstanding AFL talent

Port Lincoln may be world-famous for its seafood, but the Eyre Peninsula city is also a major exporter of football talent.

Mallee Park is home to the nation’s most successful indigenous football club, producing 13 AFL players to date. The club’s honour board is a who’s who of incredible talent, with Eddie Betts, Byron Pickett, Graham Johncock, and Shaun and Peter Burgoyne among those to have worn the green and yellow vest.

“I was there every single day of my life growing up – to be able to play with your cousins, your brothers and your best mates was everything,” Shaun Burgoyne tells Brand SA News.

Mallee Park Football Club in Port Lincoln is renowned for exporting AFL talent.

Now a four-time premiership player who has notched up 360 AFL games over 19 seasons at Port Adelaide and Hawthorn, Burgoyne still rates Mallee Park’s first Under 17’s flag among his sporting highlights.

“It was a pretty exciting time for me because I was 11 years old and got to play with Byron Pickett and my older brother Peter, who were both five years older than me, and then in 2004, we all played together in Port’s first AFL premiership,” he says.

Formed in 1981, the Mallee ‘Peckers’ have also claimed 16 senior flags – although club president Jack Johncock tips the tally would be higher if they didn’t keep losing players to the big league.

“We would have won probably another 10 if we had all of our boys home,” he grins.

So is there a secret to the Peckers’ success?

Crows star footballer and former Peckers player Eddie Betts, centre, trains with the team in Port Lincoln.

“If I knew the secret I’d get some more AFL players!” Jack laughs. “The reality is that the indigenous community is football-mad; as soon as the kids can hold a footy they’re kicking it around, and they pick up the skills pretty quickly. Indigenous kids are renown for good hand-eye co-ordination and peripheral vision, and they’re very athletic. Put all of that together with a bit of fitness and they come out alright.”

Leonard Wells, the nephew of Collingwood midfielder Daniel Wells, is widely considered the next Mallee Park draft prospect, with Ronald Carbine junior also showing star potential.

“Every year, some of our kids go across to our SANFL zone club Norwood, and with a bit of luck we’ll get another few playing AFL,” Jack says. “The best thing about it is that they don’t forget where they came from – they always come back to visit.”

Mallee Park Football Club Under 11 2018 Premiers … could it be the next generation of AFL talent?

Jack’s own son, former Adelaide Crows defender and all-Australian, Graham Johncock, returned home after 13 AFL seasons and coached the Peckers to two premierships in 2015 and 2016. Other players remain heavily committed at the top level, and their old Mallee Park teammates are their biggest supporters.

“Shaun Burgoyne has played 360 AFL games, Eddie Betts just clocked up his 300th, and four of the boys have played at the highest level representing Australia,” Jack Johncock says.

“They’re personal achievements, but they’re also the club’s achievements and we’re really proud.”

The Mallee Peckers play their first game for the season against Marble Range on Saturday, April 27.

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Port Lincoln’s tuna industry explores further export markets

South Australia’s bluefin tuna industry – often recognised as Port Lincoln’s greatest seafood success story – is increasing exports beyond its key market of Japan.

Industry spokesman Brian Jeffriess says that while Japan will remain the southern bluefin tuna’s main export market in the long term, the industry had recently increased its trade to Korea and China.

“Most of the tuna – 98% – is going to Japan, that was until about five years ago,” says Brian, CEO of the Port Lincoln-based Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association.

“Since then we’ve increased our exports to Korea and China considerably and we’re hoping to achieve a higher level this year – about 5% of our total exports – but for all premium tuna producers in the world, countries like in the Mediterranean, Canada and the US, Japan will certainly remain the main market for a long time.”

Southern bluefin tuna is highly sought after in Japan and consumed as sashimi, a delicacy consisting of usually fresh, raw fish sliced into bite-sized pieces.

The southern bluefin tuna is a prized saltwater giant.

“Sashimi is a tradition, they (the Japanese) have been accustomed to very high-quality tuna that most countries just haven’t had access to,” Brian says.

“It’s a buoyant economy in Japan so demand is very strong, so there’s no reason to think that market will reduce. The problem for us is having an over-dependence on a single market and a single currency because we get paid in yen.

“That provides challenges every year, so we have diversified into Korea and China and we hope to take that even further in the next five years.”

Brian says the domestic market for southern bluefin tuna is also increasing.

“The domestic market is quite small and the reason for that is there are so many other tunas available to restaurants on the east coast, but some of our farmers are trying very hard to penetrate the domestic market,” he says.

“Last year was the best year we’ve had, it was about 220 tonnes to the domestic market. Five years ago it was 40 tonnes, so it’s growing all the time.”

The Australian tuna industry farms about 8500 tonnes a year with 99.9% of it heading overseas, worth $150 million.

Sashimi is a delicacy popular in Japan.

“When you turn that into total income to the region and jobs it’s very substantial and by far the largest aquaculture export in Australia, and it’s consistent and growing,” Brian says.

“It (the tuna industry) certainly underpins the Eyre Peninsula economy … the official figure is about 850 jobs in the industry itself and another 1000 at least … if you look at the hospitality industry in Port Lincoln, a lot of it – the marina, the hotels, the accommodation – was developed on tuna money.”

Southern bluefin tuna is farmed by fishers who travel out to the Great Australian Bight to catch the species in a purse seine (net). Over two weeks the tuna are slowly towed to static ranching pontoons off Port Lincoln.

The tuna are fed sardines – an industry in itself that is the largest tonnage fishery in the country – and once grown, the majority of the harvested tuna is processed and shipped directly from Port Lincoln. A smaller amount – about 10% – is chilled and flown to Japan, where it can land within two days of processing.

Australia’s main competitor in the Japanese market is Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Malta, however, SA has the logistical advantage of a shorter airfreight time to Asia.

“Obviously to fly big fish from there (the Mediterranean) to Japan is expensive and challenging at times,” Brian says.

“Ours is quite simple due to the credits of the transport agencies that exist in Australia. People don’t realise how efficient Australia is in terms of a lot of things; transport, processing in factories, people here really do work hard.”

Port Lincoln’s southern bluefin tuna story dates back to the 1960s and ’70s, when the unregulated fishery was booming. But by the late ’70s the industry was warned that the species was being overfished and in 1984, fishermen were issued quotas to prevent exploitation of the industry.

With the wild catch quota cut by almost 70%, hardworking migrant fishermen in Port Lincoln revolutionised the industry to ensure the fishery could survive, by moving away from poling individual wild fish and towards tuna farming.

Many of Port Lincoln’s pioneering tuna fishers have since gone on to establish leading seafood enterprises, including German Hagen Stehr and Croatians Sam Sarin and Tony Santic, turning the town’s fortunes around.

Brian was brought in to head the tuna industry association in the late ‘80s, bringing with him vast business experience in various highly regarded roles. He says the performance of Port Lincoln’s overall seafood industry on a global scale is “remarkable”.

“Prawns, mussels, oysters, and now with abalone farming as well, the potential growth is remarkable and Port Lincoln will be the centre of it,” he says.

“It’s not just because of the environmental qualities, it’s the people. You can have a lot of positive driving factors like the environment, transport networks, things like that, but it’s the people that make successful businesses.”

Today, six countries are part of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, with catch allowances increasing in recent years as stocks recover.

Industry in focus: Trade and Investment

Throughout the months of January and February, the state’s trade and investment industry will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is in a prime position for trade and investment opportunities as we have a 24-hour connection to international markets and a prime reputation for our premium products and services.  Read more trade and investment 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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Port Lincoln cinema saved from closure

When Port Lincoln woman Angela Perin heard that the town’s only cinema would close its doors on December 31 last year she saw an opportunity to save the much-valued community facility.

The Port Lincoln cinema had been run by youth social enterprise, Youthoria, under community organisation West Coast Youth and Community Support (WCYCS) for almost a decade.

But due to a lack of funds, Youthoria announced its looming closure causing disappointment among locals as the next closest cinema is three hours away in Whyalla.

“When the board announced that it was going to close the cinema I hoped that someone would grab it up and give it a new lease on life. But that didn’t appear to be happening and the community was really upset,” Angela says.

“I have two kids, aged 12 and 13, and we can’t imagine the town without a cinema. So I did what I’m always telling others to do and that is do something about it. I had a chat to my family we decided that we’d do it.”

Rudi Perin takes charge of the popcorn machine at the Lincoln Cinema.

As an employee at WCYCS, Angela was familiar with the running of the Youthoria cinema and had worked alongside  the youth group that took over the theatre in 2008.

She is now running the cinema as a family business, purchasing the cinema equipment from Youthoria and leasing the 90-year-old theatre building from the Port Lincoln Council.

On January 3 the movie theatre was revived under a new name, Lincoln Cinema, welcoming 200 movie goers through its doors and continuing the tradition of watching holiday blockbusters on the big screen.

“The community has been so supportive, people have come from Tumby Bay, Cummins and Cleve,” Angela says. “The support has been overwhelming.”

The Lincoln Cinema will close from January 29 until the end of February to undergo minor renovations, with Angela hoping to expand the candy bar to create a more welcoming coffee spot and meeting place for visitors.

The Port Lincoln cinema, originally known as Flinders Picture Theatre, was established in 1929. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures, Granola.

She says the cinema is an essential facility for regional youth as it offers them a safe place to meet and socialise.

“Going to the movies is an experience,” she says.

“You can watch movies at home but going to the movies with friends and family and seeing something on the big screen – there’s nothing like it.”

Longstanding SA movie theatre company Wallis Cinemas is the booking agent for Lincoln Cinema, which Angela says will screen some of the summer holiday blockbusters including Mary Poppins Returns.

The movie theatre on Hallett Place in Port Lincoln was established as the Flinders Picture Theatre in 1929 by Mrs R. L. MacGregor.

An article in the Port Lincoln Times newspaper on Friday, September 6, 1929, reports on the ceremony where the foundation stone was laid.

The article states, “It was recognised that a theatre of the class that was being built was essential to the progress of Port Lincoln. The hope was expressed that the venture would prove a success”.

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Tasting Eyre Peninsula seafood luxury in a chef’s house

Kris Bunder figured the best way to show off Eyre Peninsula’s elite seafood was to invite visiting media and chefs into his home and show them how he cooks it.

An ecstatic reaction to this impromptu promotional event, conjured a few years ago, has convinced Kris, the chef and owner of Del Giorno’s – a popular dining institution on Port Lincoln’s foreshore – that such an engaging and intimate culinary event represents the next lofty level of experiential tourism for visitors to the lower Eyre Peninsula.

Now, by creating Del’s Private Kitchen With Kris Bunder, this experience has been made available to the public.

Del’s Private Kitchen With Kris Bunder overlooks the Port Lincoln marina.

Structured as a seafood masterclass and private dinner in Kris and Brenda Bunder’s waterfront home in the Port Lincoln marina, it places the unique flavours of the Eyre Peninsula in the context of where the seafood is caught.

“When people come to Port Lincoln, they want to taste all of the seafood that this place is famous for – although most wouldn’t be confident enough to buy and cook for themselves,” says Kris.

“We’ll do it for them, so they can relax and enjoy it as guests in our home. We love showing off the best that Port Lincoln can offer in food, setting and hospitality.”

The Bunders have long been pivotal figures and innovators in Eyre Peninsula’s culinary scene. When Kris and Brenda started Del Giorno’s Cafe and Restaurant on the Port Lincoln foreshore in 2004, it was difficult for any diner in town to order fresh fish caught by local fishermen.

Some of the premium, fresh South Australian seafood that guests enjoy at Del’s Private Kitchen.

The expensive marine harvest used to be exclusively shipped for export, until Kris pleaded with local mates on tuna boats to provide him with a few fresh-caught bluefin.

Once local tuna finally arrived on the plate at Del Giorno’s, it sparked an instant positive reaction, and prompted Kris to shine a light on the provenance of fresh local seafood by listing all his suppliers on the menu.

The same suppliers provide Kris and Brenda’s home kitchen with fresh, seasonal fare that focuses on extravagance and quality – bluefin tuna, Coffin Bay oysters, Spencer Gulf King prawns, Kinkawooka mussels, Hiramasa kingfish, and the option of southern rock lobster and green lip abalone, which Kris prepares three ways (sashimi style with lime juice and olive oil, marinated then pan seared, and steamed).

Chef Kris Bunder shares preparation and cooking techniques for some of the best produce the Eyre Peninsula has to offer.

Even more important than enjoying the taste of such exotic fare is learning correct techniques of how to prepare and cook each ingredient, which Kris says is a blind spot in the home cooking skills of most people.

Therefore, Kris demonstrates how to shuck oysters from the shell (“the only way to eat them,” he insists), through to carving tuna sashimi-style, stuffing and baking a whole kingfish and cleaning and de-bearding mussels.

He then cooks everything in front of his guests while they enjoy quality wines and beverages, before everyone settles at the table for an extravagant seafood banquet.

The Del’s Private Kitchen Seafood Masterclass, which costs from $150 to $230 a person depending on menu choices (for a minimum of four people), can be booked via the Del Giorno’s website, or emailing Kris directly at kris@delgiornos.com.au

The best part? Enjoying the seafood feast.

Header image features Brenda and Kris Bunder, owners of Del Giorno’s Cafe and Restaurant and its spin-off Del’s Private Kitchen.

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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.

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Eyre Peninsula craft brewery has a crack at oyster stout

An Eyre Peninsula craft brewing company has incorporated a Coffin Bay delicacy into its latest creation – an oyster stout which is believed to be the first for South Australia.

Port Lincoln’s Beer Garden Brewing is preparing to officially launch Angasi, which creator Mark Butterworth says will help showcase the region’s seafood industry.

Mark, a former chemical engineer, says oyster stout has been around for centuries but he believes he’s the first South Australian craft brewer to release the seafood-inspired beverage.

He describes the latest brew as a “relatively smooth, full bodied, English-style stout” with a “pleasant depth of flavour”.

The first batch was made from about 40 dozen Coffin Bay native Angasi and Pacific oysters.

The Angasi stout showcases Coffin Bay’s most renowned seafood – oysters.

Mark says the oyster stout doesn’t have an overbearing fishy taste and that “you won’t be picking oyster meat out of your beer”.

“The process is not too different to a normal brew that we do,” he says.

“When we boil the batch to sterilise the beer, that’s when we add the shucked oysters in a muslin bag, resulting in a smooth flavour.”

“It’s not meant to be drunk cold, but at about 5C-10C. As it warms up it releases a bit of the oyster flavour.”

Mark recently took four kegs of the Angasi to a beer festival in Melbourne and is preparing to launch it officially in Coffin Bay soon.

Beer Garden Brewing owners Janie, left, and Mark Butterworth with brewer Dan Treagus.

He says craft brewers are increasingly experimenting with interesting ingredients.

“There were beers (at the Melbourne festival) that had crushed up snails in it, there was one that tasted like bubblegum and another like Bertie Beetles,” Mark says.

“There are a few extreme ones out there and I guess ours is lumped in that category.”

Mark has been experimenting with oyster stout for some years, and in 2015 “gave it a crack” when he home brewed a batch with half-a-dozen oysters.

In December 2016, he and chemist wife Janie launched Beer Garden Brewing, a brewery that prides itself on sustainable practices and sourcing local products, including Eyre Peninsula grain.

The brewery began with just two beers on offer, and now the oyster stout is one of 10 soon to be slurped up by seafood lovers and craft beer aficionados.

While some might find a seafood-inspired brew unappealing, Mark says those who otherwise enjoy stout would take to the oyster variety.

“We have a coffee stout (brewed with local Eyre Roasted coffee) and people really enjoy that,” he says.

“We’re seeing tastes change on the Eyre Peninsula, people were mainly drinking mainstream beer but in the last 18 months we are seeing people take a liking to craft beer.”

Mark and wife Janie moved to Port Lincoln after working at the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs in the state’s Far North.

Longing for a sea change, the pair had family in Port Lincoln (Mark’s brother works in the oyster industry) and decided the coastal town was the perfect place to raise their three children and pursue their interests in craft brewing.

Visitors can take a tour of the brewery before relaxing with a pint in the beer garden.

The Butterworths are passionate about showcasing the seafood and tourism offerings of their region, and are also dedicated to remaining as environmentally sustainable.

“We have solar panels, we reuse all wastewater from the brewing processes on the garden and the spent grain goes to our head brewer’s cows,” Mark says.

“We want to have as low of an impact as possible.”

Beer Garden Brewing is facing a period of growth, with upgrades to the kitchen to accommodate for greater food offerings for visitors.

It is also upgrading the manual bottling equipment with a packaging line to allow for greater efficiency.

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Regional exhibition tackles stigma around men’s mental health

A local politician, a surfer, farmer and fisherman are just some of the men who appear in a photographic exhibition that aims to break the stigma around men’s mental health.

About 30 men from across the Eyre Peninsula have been snapped for the Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign, which aims to encourage men to talk more openly about mental health and life’s struggles.

Port Lincoln photographer Robert Lang took the portraits of the men in their ‘places of wellness’, from farms to fence lines, beaches, boats, cars and veggie patches.

The exhibition is travelling to venues across the Eyre Peninsula until October.

One of the men photographed is Michael Traeger, from the small town of Cummins, who finds solace while on the farm.

Michael, pictured above, tragically lost his wife Kirsty in a car crash two years ago, just months after the birth of their first child, Zac.

Michael Traeger says it was his wife Kirsty’s life ambition to remove the stigma associated with mental health. Photo by Robert Lang.

Kirsty was passionate about speaking up about mental health and often shared her own struggles with depression and anxiety.

She was instrumental in establishing Mentally Fit Eyre Peninsula in 2014 under her role at West Coast Youth and Community Support (WCYCS).

The Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign is an initiative of Mentally Fit EP.

Michael says carrying on Kirsty’s passion for helping others “means everything” as “it’s keeping a part of Kirsty alive”.

“It became her life ambition to help other people and remove the stigma around mental illness,” he says.

“A lot of people now know of the program (Mentally Fit EP) and know where to get help.

Dallas Waters of Wudinna is one of the men photographed for the exhibition. Photo by Robert Lang.

“When she got crook we had no idea what to do or who to talk to. Now the facilities that we have have changed a bit and we’re headed in the right direction.

“We’re giving people more knowledge, and everyone’s starting to talk about it more and have the conversation.”

Michael says the Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign aimed to break down the shame and embarrassment men might feel when talking about their feelings or sharing their struggles.

“Men are a bit more sheltered about what they share and there is that big stigma with blokes that if they do have a problem they don’t talk about it,” he says.

“We have lost a couple of young fellows over the years to suicide and no one was any the wiser as to what was going on.

“If women are struggling they’ll talk about it, but men won’t. Nine times out of 10 it’s a ‘toughen up’ scenario for men.”

Dennis Peck of Tumby Bay finds his wellness on the water. Photo by Robert Lang.

The idea of the men’s wellness exhibition was the result of a “2am brainstorm” of Port Lincoln woman, Jo Clark.

Jo is the CEO of WCYCS and says she believes mental health issues and suicide are not isolated to regional areas.

“The impact is deeper because of the isolation,” she says.

“Regional areas rely heavily on certain economic conditions … if it’s a bad year it’s felt far and wide.”

Not all of the men in the photo exhibition have had experiences with mental health issues.

Jo says that Mentally Fit EP often relied on the local community for funding, with Bendigo Bank and Ramsey Brothers stepping in, while the State Government has also provided funds.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar is another of the local faces. Photo by Robert Lang.

Michael encourages people to check in with friends, family and people in their community and ask if they’re OK.

“Instead of remaining quiet, if you do know someone who is struggling, have that conversation and show them that you care,” he says.

“All it takes is for one person to show that little bit of compassion and they might just save someone’s life.”

The Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign is showing at Cowell Institute from May 18–31 before moving to Kimba, Lock, Cleve, Elliston, Streaky Bay and Tumby Bay before finishing up in Port Lincoln for Mental Health Week in October.

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SALT Festival makes a splash on Eyre Peninsula

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the Eyre Peninsula to indulge in a collection of arts and cultural events next month when the 2018 SALT Festival makes its second splash.

Colour and creativity will be reignited across southern Eyre Peninsula towns, including Coffin Bay, Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln, from April 20–29 following a successful first edition in 2017.

SALT organisers say the 2018 festival, featuring more than 200 events, has attracted interest from international publication GQ France magazine with the event potentially appearing in an upcoming edition.

Sculptors Marijan Bekic, front, and Silvio Apponyi at the 2017 SALT Festival. PHOTO: Port Lincoln Times.

SA continues to build its relationship with France since French company Naval (formerly DCNS) was awarded the Future Submarines Contract to be carried out in Adelaide.

Adelaide also joins the French city of Bordeaux in being an internationally recognised wine region and member of the exclusive Great Wine Capitals Network.

The SALT Festival is hosted by volunteer group Southern Eyre Arts (SEA).

SEA team member Andrea Broadfoot says last year’s festival attracted more than 6500 people to the region, meaning visitors could enjoy the selection of world-class tourism offerings on offer along the peninsula.

“People are seeing the Eyre Peninsula as a world class destination,” she says.

“Nowhere else but the Eyre Peninsula can you enjoy such premium, fresh seafood, eat freshly shucked oysters on the beach and swim with sharks.”

The theme for the 2018 SALT Festival is ‘Anything is Possible’.

Feature events include a one-night only performance by internationally acclaimed jazz musician James Morrison and his Quartet at Port Lincoln’s Nautilus Art Centre.

Internationally renowned jazz musician James Morrison will fly to Port Lincoln in his personal plane.

Australian surf-roots-reggae band The Beautiful Girls will share their coastal sounds while Adelaide indie/folk artist Timberwolf and Port Lincoln’s own Luke Morris will also engage audiences.

Internationally renowned photographer Che Chorley will present Land Sea You Me in an immersive exhibition capturing the sights, sounds and images of a 5000km bike ride across SA.

Colour Tumby Committee – a sub group led by the town’s progress association – will present the inaugural Street Art Festival as a feature event within SALT.

Former climate change advisor to the Federal Government, Professor Ross Garnaut, will host the In the Zone Energy Futures Summit to explore climate change and renewable energy opportunities for the region.

A number of Australian and international comedians will also take to the stage including Aussie Jon Bennett and Toronto-based Amy Cunningham.

Luke Morris will be back in his hometown to perform at SALT.

The inaugural SALT Festival “far exceeded the expectations of the organisers” when a target of 35 events swelled to 100 events in 27 venues across seven towns.

“Events sold out, art sold out, people filled the streets and the venues, all expressing how inspired they felt by the contributions in the program,” says SEA chairperson Jack Ritchie.

“We are inviting visitors from Adelaide to enjoy a road trip or a short plane ride to attend 10 days of salty goodness.

“Over 900,000 people living in Adelaide haven’t visited Eyre Peninsula, and this is their chance to be part of something amazing in awesome April.”

The 2017 festival attracted recognition after being nominated for a Ruby Arts Award in 2017 for best community or regional impact under $100,000.

The Ruby Awards is an arts awards program celebrating the best of SA’s arts and cultural sector.

The SALT Festival website, by Port Lincoln creative agency Momentum Design, was also recognised as one of the world’s best websites in 2017 after taking out a CDAA International Web Design award.

For more information on the SALT Festival click here.

Header image courtesy of SA Rips.

Check out the below clip of the SALT Festival by Mark Thomas of Missing Link Media.

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Port Lincoln gives a toss for its fish throwing tradition

Fish don’t fly. Or do they?

Once a year in Port Lincoln, tuna can be seen hurling through the air for the town’s annual Tunarama – Australia’s longest running regional festival.

The Port Lincoln Tunarama will unfold this long weekend and organisers say enthusiasm for the three-day event isn’t dampening anytime soon.

About 15,000 people are expected to descend upon the Eyre Peninsula from January 26-28 to celebrate the festival and its highlight event – the tuna toss.

Tossing a tuna into the air is no easy feat. The world record is 37.23m.

Port Lincoln local Barb Davies is the Tunarama Festival’s committee treasurer and office volunteer.

She marched in the first Tunarama Festival parade in 1962 at the age of 10 and says the event continues to entertain thousands of people 56 years later.

“The whole foreshore will fill up and the town usually doubles in size,” Barb says.

“Tourists stay in nearby Coffin Bay, Tumby Bay and Cummins – people stay all over the place, so it’s a huge boost for the town and everybody benefits.”

The Tunarama Festival aims to highlight the significance of the tuna industry and features a schedule of other quirky traditions including the salmon and prawn toss, prawn peeling contests and sheep shearing competitions.

The tuna toss sees strong contenders hurl fish across the foreshore lawns in a similar style to hammer throwing.

While whole frozen tuna were originally used in the event, polyurethane replicas were introduced in 2008 to ensure seafood supplies weren’t wasted.

The tuna toss is only one aspect of the Tunarama.

Barb says competition is fierce among contenders.

“It becomes quite competitive, and we’ve had a father and son duo compete in previous years – Michael and Levi Proude,” she says.

“A lot of the time it only comes down to inches of difference.”

The world record is 37.23m set by former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin in 1998.

Despite its popularity, the Tunarama hasn’t been without its hurdles as last year the future of the event was in doubt.

But Barb says the community banded together to support the event and the benefits it brings to the region.

“This year we’re back on track,” she says.

“The amount of people who have come out of the woodwork to help has been great.”

The keg roll is another of the festival’s quirky activities.

The Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival dates back to 1962 as a celebration of the local fishing industry – the largest in Australia.

The event comprised a ‘blessing of the fleet’ from a local priest to bring a safe and promising season.

The event also included a parade and Ambassador Quest where local women would line up in hope of being crowned Miss Tunarama.

The beauty aspect of the quest faded and today the contest focuses on the contender’s ability to represent their town and develop personal growth.

Men were also included in the quest.

Despite the many traditions of the festival, it’s the tuna toss that has attracted the most attention, with contestants travelling from Japan to take part.

Thousands of people line the Port Lincoln foreshore for the event, which includes the popular plywood boat making contest.

The tuna tossing act itself pays tribute to the men who would unload the tuna from boats in the port by hurling them off the deck and onto trucks.

Barb has called Port Lincoln home for all her life and says it’s an “amazing place”.

“I went to the same school my father went to and now my kids and their kids are going there too,” she says.

“We have beautiful beaches and it’s a great, safe place to grow up.”

“My husband was a prawn fisher for 40 years and my son is in the oyster industry.

“Fishing has been the backbone of this town.”

For more information about the Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival visit the Facebook page.

Check out this compilation of Port Lincoln tuna tossing from the ’80s – 2010.

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Port Lincoln’s southern bluefin tuna is nation’s greatest seafood success story

Ask South Australian seafood industry spokesman Brian Jeffriess AM to describe the taste of a high quality southern bluefin tuna (SBT) and he struggles to find the words.

“It’s a spiritual experience – it’s that good,” he says.

After 30 years in Port Lincoln’s SBT industry, Brian’s fascination with the saltwater giants is yet to wear off and probably never will.

“Tuna must move one body length – an average of one metre – per second for 24 hours a day to wash enough oxygen over their gills to survive,” says the CEO of the Australian SBT Industry Association.

“It’s a very robust fish and we are lucky enough to have a top-class product here in SA.”

Brian Jeffriess, left, has been in the southern bluefin tuna industry for 30 years, watching the industry become a national success story.

SBT is SA’s largest single aquaculture product, with an overseas export worth $126m.

As the Eyre Peninsula’s most renowned seafood product, SBT is a large, red fleshed, sashimi grade fish that is highly sought after by the Japanese market.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Port Lincoln industry, which almost collapsed in the 1980s when the wild catch quota was cut by nearly 70%.

This caused major industry disruption, sending several local fisherman into receivership.

In 1988 Brian, a commodities specialist, was brought in to head the SBT Tuna Industry Association to help turn the fortunes around.

Southern bluefin tuna is a premium product on the Japanese sashimi market.

He came with vast business experience including various roles within the Department of Trade and Industry in Canberra, the OECD in Paris, and Mitsubishi Motors.

“In 1989 we decided to try this dream idea of tuna farming, no one had done it in the world but it was either that or bankruptcy,” Brian says.

“People never thought it would work, but there’s something in the DNA of Port Lincoln …”

SBT farming began in 1991 and was pioneered by first generation immigrants – most notably late Croatian Dinko Lukin.

Their innovative inventions saved the seaside town.

Southern bluefin tuna farm pontoons off Port Lincoln.

Now SBT is farmed by fishers who travel out to the Great Australian Bight and catch the species in a purse seine (net).

The fish are then carefully towed to ranching pontoons off Port Lincoln and fed sardines to aid further growth.

The sardine catch used to feed the tuna is the largest tonnage fishery in Australia.

“When the tuna are captured in the wild they weigh about 17kg each … they are towed to the pontoon over 15 days at one knot,” Brian says.

“The tuna mortality rate used to be 14% and now it’s only 1%.

“We taught the rest of the world to do it and we’ve gradually refined the process over the past 20 years.”

Once grown, 90% of the harvested tuna is frozen, while the other 10% is chilled and airfreighted.

Tuna rosettes at the Port Lincoln Hotel.

While more than 90% of SA’s SBT is exported to Japan, Brian says the domestic market is growing.

“The overall tuna industry is worth $400m and that’s understating it,” he says.

“The footprint of the industry on the Eyre Peninsula surprises even me.”

Living in Adelaide and travelling to Port Lincoln weekly, Brian was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the fishing and aquaculture industries.

He says there’s no better place to enjoy the fruits of the sea than the Eyre Peninsula.

“The whole natural environment, the beauty of the place and the climate is superb,” Brian says.

“Adelaide and Port Lincoln are very rare places in the world, there’s nothing in any European city like them.

“It’s as good as it gets.”