Striking silo art and an iconic giant galah announce the half-way mark driving from Adelaide to Perth – along with the entrepreneurial, creative spirit of a town of Aussie battlers in Kimba.
This entrepreneurial spirit is evident in the town’s rejuvenating main thoroughfare where a swag of new projects revitalise empty stores.
Video: Jordan Agutter
There is a sophisticated Workshop26 collective selling handmade candles, soaps and antiques to help farms diversify their income while a new business hub plans to take its payroll and human resources skills to farms throughout Australia.
This is a town with a ‘can do’ attitude. When students wanted to study agriculture at the local school, the community pulled together, donating fencing and expertise to make it happen.
“Kimba has 22 projects on the go which really is a standout when Kimba has a 1050-1080 district population,” Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula chief executive Dion Dorward says.
Significant investment is being made in improving farming practices and work is underway to create a grain hub to slash transport costs and build capacity to clean grain onsite so farmers can demand more premium prices.
The town has been named the nation’s kindest town, South Australia’s most sustainable, and has innovative ideas like creating free camping to encourage the ‘grey nomads’ to stay and volunteer to fill worker shortages.
Years of drought are taking their toll on locals, but the community works hard to provide mental health services and is overhauling its medical centre in a bid to attract new doctors.
“We don’t sit around and complain, we take action, in many cases funding and designing solutions to problems ourselves,” Mayor Dean Johnson says.
The Agricultural Town of the Year Award, proudly presented by the Government of South Australia and Solstice Media, highlights the vital role that agriculture plays in the regional landscape – being the backbone of most regional communities.
This year the program received 70 town nominations and over 5,000 votes to help determine the Top 5 finalists for the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year Award to be revealed on Friday, 26 February.