The Farina Restoration Group has won the Elders Community Group Award for the Far North region in the Advantage SA Regional Awards for their tireless effort in restoring Farina, the old ghost town in South Australia’s Outback.
Victoria-based convenor Tom Harding and Project Coordinator for South Australia Peter Harris collected the award on behalf of the group at the presentation night hosted by Nicole Willis of Channel 9’sBuilding Ideas, on Wednesday 19 October at the Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy.
There were 23 entrants from towns in the Far North region and 313 entrants participating in the 2011 Advantage SA Regional Awards across the State’s seven regions.
The Farina Restoration Group was formed three years ago with the aim of stabilising, and where possible, restoring aspects of the historic town of Farina, and encouraging the public at large to embrace the history of the Australian outback town.
Tom Harding was instrumental in kick starting the restoration venture in May 2008 by cash donations from his Tag-a-Long Tour Group. Tom and others responded to Farina Station owner Kevin Dawes’ vision, and his desire to preserve the neglected history of Farina. The inland township, known to locals as Farina Ruins has been abandoned for over 40 years, albeit for the travellers passing through and stopping to take photos. Like many outback rail towns, Farina which is situated about 600 kilometres north of Adelaide, between Marree and Leigh Creek, was once a bustling, populated town.
For the last three years 60 volunteers from the Farina Restoration Group have reinvigorated what was an abandoned piece of South Australia’s history, and created a positive symbol for the surrounding areas to be proud of. Members are continuing to research and catalogue the history of the town. The volunteers come from locations across South Australia and Victoria and are mainly retirees and local community members, many of whom are indigenous youth. The retirees come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from professors to tradesmen who all add value to the project.
The Advantage SA Regional Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate and promote the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have made significant contributions to regional South Australia. The Farina Restoration Group received an exclusive Glass Pear Trophy, designed and handmade by Adelaide’s Jam Factory.