Wednesday, 12 May 2021 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 5403/04
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:55): Today, I would like to talk about an event which was held recently to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the SA Autumn Garden Festival at the Clare Showgrounds. This event is part of South Australia’s Autumn Garden Festival program and has grown tremendously at Clare since its inception 10 years ago. As I said, this is South Australia’s premier garden festival. I can remember vividly discussing the opportunity with the committee at the time and thinking,’ Yes, this sounds very good, but how can a small community such as Clare be able to hold an event of this magnitude?
‘ How wrong was I.
This event has grown from the first year when there were lucky to be 600 people and just 25 sites on a magnificent and massive bit of ground. However, the event for the 10th anniversary— which adhered to the relevant COVID-19 management plan—was very well attended with people coming from across South Australia, which was very good for the local community, businesses, tourism and the image of the Clare Valley.
The vast number of stalls ranged from those with several species of plants to a great variety of food stalls. The event this year was opened by Geoffrey Fuller, past CEO of the Nursery and Garden Industry of South Australia, who was also at the very first event. The festival offers a great series of garden expert talks from the accessible stage and has much to offer and discover for young and older gardeners, such as demonstrations to showcase your garden and how to grow plants.
The special guest this year was Costa Georgiadis, from ABC Gardening Australia, and also cook and sustainability advocate Rebecca Sullivan. Rebecca was sharing her tips and tricks for cooking with native food, and Rebecca Paris, from the Australian Native Food Co., was making a crunchy crocodile salad and Golden Gaytime. I must admit that I did not try the crocodile salad.
This year, for the Welcome to Country there was something very different—a very beautiful ceremony from the Saddleworth early learning childcare centre. Saddleworth is a very small community in the Clare Valley. The children formed a circle displaying the various attributes of our Aboriginal heritage.
However, the credit for the longevity of this event has to go to a very dedicated small committee that has been in place since its inception. As mentioned earlier, the very first event with a very small attendance could have been a deterrent for the committee to just say, ‘It’s too hard. We cannot do this.’ However, with their determination and persistence, this event has reached its 10th anniversary and is now known across not only South Australia but all of Australia.
Although many dedicated community people have been part of this great event since its inception, there is one person who was singled out very clearly by Geoffrey Fuller in his opening speech, and that was Cheryl Koglin. Cheryl has been the event coordinator for all these years. Not only has she been part of this group but she has also been on several other community groups giving her time very graciously and always without any concerns—and I am not saying that everything would have gone without a hitch.
Regional South Australia faces many challenges with economic issues, but it should also be
acknowledged that regional South Australia can and certainly does carry out very professional and sustainable events. Publicity of these events in regional South Australia not only gives publicity that we do exist but also gives very welcome exposure to the lifestyle that is available for people who are living in metropolitan Adelaide.
In closing, in regard to this year’s event, there was a very memorable moment when I was talking to Costa from ABC Gardening Australia. A small child came up to him and asked if he could grow a money tree. As he bent down, he explained, ‘Yes, but we need to plant a seed there, water the plant and see what happens.’
Alongside this child was a gentleman with a bag that contained a small plant, and the child started to look through its foliage to see if there was any money on the plant. Costa looked at me as if to ask what he should do. I gave Costa a $2 coin that he very quietly and discreetly placed near the stem of the plant. The child found it and was so excited that he took the coin and raced back to tell his parents he had found the money tree.
To our amazement, he came back and looked through the small plant again. As this search did not reveal any more money, I very discreetly placed another coin in the foliage and the child found another coin. Again, he raced back to his parents to tell them about this great discovery.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, his parents live in Port Pirie. They have seen me since and wanted to know where they could find the money trees, as the child keeps asking his parents to purchase numerous plants with a view to their becoming these money trees. It is good for the nursery in Port Pirie, but it is certainly not good for the parents.