South Australia stories

Port Elliot residents urge local towns in the region to nominate now! 

Nominations now open for Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017 

With the search on for Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, South Australia’s inaugural title holder, Port Elliot, is encouraging other dairy towns to nominate.

However, if no other options emerge, the team behind Port Elliot’s original bid is keen to have another go at the title.

One of the driving forces behind Port Elliot’s success, Colin Ekers, says that carrying the title was so good for the town he’d like to do it again.

“Of course we’re encouraging other places to nominate, but we’ve got other dairy projects we could do if we could keep the title,” he said.

“We still think we’re LEGENDAIRY and could do even more to promote dairy.”

Port Elliot used its LEGENDAIRY Capital grant to enclose a verandah at the Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum to celebrate 100 years of dairying in the region, displaying the history of different dairy breeds, fibreglass cows and old dairy equipment.

The Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum, a sub-committee of the show society, put together the submission and Mr Ekers says it brought the community together.

“I believe it put Port Elliot on the map,” he said. “It brought us together and made people think a bit more about our history.

“We’ve got the schools involved and we fly the Legendairy flags on special occasions. It’s absolutely worth going for.”

The museum is open Thursdays and Sundays and attracts a lot of positive feedback from visiting groups. 

“It’s been great way to profile Port Elliot’s long dairy history,” Mr Ekers said.

Dairy SA Regional Manager Verity Ingham strongly encourages any communities with a dairy presence to nominate for the LEGENDAIRY Capital. 

“It’s a really good opportunity to get community projects off the ground to celebrate their community and the dairy industry,” Ms Ingham said. “It could lead to a playground, a community event or a museum like Port Elliot and at the same time it’s good for the profile of the area.

“No town or community is too small to nominate and we can’t wait to find out who will be the South Australian LEGENDAIRY Capital for 2017.”

Dairy Australia is calling on people across Australia’s eight dairy regions - Gippsland, south west Victoria, the Murray region, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Subtropical region - to nominate their town for the prestigious title by sharing stories about what makes their town LEGENDAIRY.

One finalist from each of the eight regions will receive $2,500 to invest in a community project, and one of those towns will then go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500. 

Nominations are open until 5pm on 10 April 2017. 

For more information on Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital program, and to nominate, visit www.legendairy.com.au/nominate

Is your town the next LEGENDAIRY Capital of South Australia?

Is your town the next LEGENDAIRY Capital of South Australia?

South Australia produces more than 500 million litres of high-quality milk each year and has a long history of high productivity and quality dairy produce.

That’s why Dairy Australia is calling on people across South Australia’s dairy region to nominate their town as the next LEGENDAIRY Capital by sharing their stories and highlighting the way their town embodies the LEGENDAIRY spirit.

Launched in 2015, Dairy Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital program celebrates regional communities around the country by highlighting how dairy farmers contribute to their town, their industry and the Australian economy.

Dairy Australia program manager, Suzi O’Dell, said the program recognises the strength and resilience of hard-working communities and the vital role dairy farmers play in building the social fabric of their towns. 

“Dairy farmers - and people working across the dairy supply chain – are at the heart of hundreds of Australian regional communities,” Ms O’Dell said. 

“In 2015, Port Elliot, was named the LEGENDAIRY Capital of South Australia. Now we’re back on the road looking for the next Capital of South Australia which could also become the overall LEGENDAIRY Capital of Australia for 2017.”

Locals from each of Australia’s eight dairy regions in Gippsland, south west Victoria, the Murray region, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Subtropical region are encouraged to nominate their town for the prestigious title by sharing stories about what makes their town LEGENDAIRY.

One finalist from each of the eight regions will receive $2,500 to invest in a community project and one of those towns will then go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500 to put towards their community project. 

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), a not-for-profit organisation working towards enabling communities to build their social capital and economic resilience, is supporting Dairy Australia on this program. 

Natalie Egleton, Chief Executive of FRRR said: “Every day, farmers juggle the demands of their operations with the needs of the local community. The LEGENDAIRY Capital program celebrates this commitment by pulling together as one, and finding ways to build robust communities that will endure and prosper.

“FRRR is pleased to be able to support Dairy Australia in this important initiative,” said Ms Egleton.

Nominations are open until 5pm on April 10, 2017. 


Milkman Des remembers halcyon days in Port Elliot: clever horses and friendly neighbours

Milkman Des remembers halcyon days in Port Elliot: clever horses and friendly neighbours

 

When Des Dent was a milkman, life seemed so much simpler.

Back in those good old days you could leave money in a billy can on the front verandah.

If the customers left you some letters to post for them, that was no bother at all.

And if you stayed too long having a yarn to a customer, your horse just might give you the hint and move on to the next stop.

It was a fun time from a bygone era, but the good times are forever etched in Des’ memory. 

For 47 years Des, and his father Roy, delivered milk to the Port Elliot and Victor Harbor regions in South Australia.

“Dad bought the milk round in Port Elliot in 1950,” Des said. “I started when I was about 13, when I left school.

“There were several dairies in the town back in the 40s,” Des recalled. “The two boarding houses had their own dairy and there was a chap who milked cows behind the congregational church right in Port Elliot.”

Des and Roy had their own rounds, each covering one side of the town. It was all with horses in the early days. The rounds would take each of them three or four hours and they’d also have to pick up milk from the dairies at night and in the morning. 

“People would hang their billy cans on the gate as near as they could to the footpath, with the money in it, and we’d then leave the loose milk in the billies,” Des said.

That honesty system worked well for a time. “We never lost a cent till around 1970, when money started being stolen. That mucked up household deliveries,” he lamented.

“We went to alternate days and had the customer hide the money separate to the bottle. It added a lot of time to the rounds but people didn’t like the idea of losing money so instead they’d go up the street and buy their milk.”

Around the same time Des and Roy leased several additional rounds in Victor Harbor and invested in a van. Des was sad to see the horses go but with four rounds and employees being added to the team they had little choice.

His first horse, Clippy, was a stand-out, though his last horse Mike wasn’t bad either. “I’d stop and talk to someone and Mike would just keep going to the next stop.

“Having a horse was like having a helper with you. They knew the round better than I did.”

Alongside local baker Ernie Willets, Des used to go to the Port Elliot camping ground for sales.

“Ernie would have a van and people would buy buns. They’d stick the buns under their arms and pay Ernie and the horse would delicately take the buns from them. She’d move up behind the van and nick them. I’d say Ernie, don’t park so close to me.”

There was no street lighting after 11pm in the early years and all deliveries were done in the dark. Clippy would spot the waiting billies, unseen by Des, and come to a quick halt, flinging him up into the milk cans in the front of the float. 

The horses were great, and the customers weren’t bad either.

“It was disappointing when we could no longer go to the houses,” Des said. “We had good relationships with our customers. Quite often they’d forget to turn their sprinkler off so we’d turn it off, or we’d take the paper in and put it on the verandah. Often people would leave letters in their milk cans for us to post for them. 

“When we first came over to Victor Harbor we used to leave crates of bottles just outside the door of shops, but we started losing milk then so we had to get keys to the shops. It became difficult and it was all wholesale in the end.”

The business didn’t have an official name until in the 1960s when they started cartoning and later bottling milk. “To do that, we had to have a name,” Des said. “We came upon ‘Lentara’, which is an Aboriginal word for early morning. We thought that was applicable.”

Des’ wife Marg became the “backbone” of the business after they married in 1960. Marg mostly worked in the background, but sometimes she had to come to the fore. “I used to get woken up in the morning because he’d run out of petrol or the tyre had gone flat and I’d have to go and rescue him,” Marg said. Originally from Adelaide, Marg met Des when she holidayed in Port Elliot with her friend and their horses. “I met the local milkman and that was it. I’m happy and it’s a beautiful place to live.”

The pair retired in Victor Harbor after selling the business in 1997, although they kept active providing horse-drawn wedding carriages.

Des remains connected to the dairy industry through his involvement in the Port Elliot museum and its plans for a display of 100 years of dairying in the area, a concept being supported by the recent success of the town. Port Elliot was named the Legendairy Capital of South Australia in 2015.


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