Ariah Park Community celebrated being named the Crown Lands – Community of the Year (population under 15,000), in the 2011 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
The Awards Program was presented by PRIME7 and the Commonwealth Bank and recognised groups, business, individuals and communities who play a vital role in enhancing the social, environmental and economic prosperity of rural NSW and the ACT.
The award summary described Ariah Park as being a small village of 350 residents in the Temora Shire situated in the Northern Riverina. It has struggled with the drought of the past decade, and with ever larger farms and corporate farming and declining rural population, there is a never ending battle to survive. Despite this, the Ariah Park district is known as a very good mixed farming area, and a number of well known sheep studs are based here. The Ariah Park Central School caters for K-12, and has modern facilities like Video Conferencing linking them with neighbouring schools.
Established in 1968, the Ariah Park Community Projects Committee maintains a dual role in their local community by acting as a Community Progress Association as well as the local Chamber of Commerce. With strong community support, the Community Projects Committee continues to look for ideas in which will promote Ariah Park to a wider audience and make it a viable district to attract tourism and stimulate economic growth.
For many years, Ariah Park has been known as the “Town of Wowsers, Bowsers and Peppercorn Trees” while also being the “Birthplace of Australian Bulk Grain”. It is situated on the crossroads of the Mary Gilmore Way and the Burley Griffin Way.
In 2010, the community established its own website to increase tourism for Ariah Park and have also become members of Riverina Regional Tourism, and participate in outreach programs such as the Canberra Leisure and Camping Show. The Community is now improving signage around their area to encourage tourism to Ariah Park, and producing their own tourism brochures to promote the local community. In 2011, the Community was successful in obtaining funding from the RAS Foundation to build a Camp Kitchen and improve facilities at the Camping Ground.
After their one and only Ariah Park Café was shut for eight months in 2010, the community got in and raised $130,000 from the local community to purchase and upgrade the business. In 2005, they purchased the old Billard Rooms Complex, and converted it into an Opportunity Shop and Local Museum.
In 2007, they started a program of renewing the town’s shop verandahs and putting the 1920’s heritage signage above the buildings. In 1999 and 2006, the Community built a number of senior housing self care units with the aim of keeping residents in town as long as possible. They are maintaining and upgrading the Broken Dam Heritage Area, with extra signage and designated walks, while the community worked hard to get a Lawn Cemetery established. In April,2011, a “Girls Shed” group was established at the CWA Rooms , while a Mens Shed group is also now underway
A number of local events and projects like the Ariah Park B & S Ball, the Mary Gilmore Festival, Heritage Weekend, Op Shop Volunteers, and Community Catering help put many thousands of dollars back into the Ariah Park Community to keep it going.
The Temora Shire Council has been of great support to the community with a main street upgrade to save the precious peppercorn trees in 2004, and also the maintenance of the streets, parks and sporting fields. The Committee hopes to continue to be a link and voice for the community between the Temora Shire Council and the local residents to ensure requests and ideas can be passed easily onto the council.
The other two finalists in the Community of the Year Award were Morundah with their Opera in the Bush, and Deniliquin with their Ute Muster and Plains Festival. Ariah Park was also a finalist in the Business Development Organisation Award Category where there were pipped by the Nelson Bay Chamber of Commerce. There were 330 submissions for the eight categories in the Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
The winners were announced at this year’s NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards Gala Awards Presentation Dinner at the South Tweed Sports Club in Tweed Heads on Saturday 5th November. The Ariah Park Community was represented by Helen and Nigel Judd
Ariah Park Community received a $5,000 AwardSaver Account thanks to Commonwealth Bank and a hand crafted glass trophy.
The Awards are proudly supported by The Land Newspaper, NSW Department of Trade and Investment, the Local Government and Shires Associations and Sirromet Wines.
In the heart of the NSW agricultural belt, Temora Shire is a sanctuary rich with heritage and resources.
From golden beginnings to high flying achievements, Temora has spread its wings to become more than just another country town. Known for its internationally acclaimed aviation museum in a district of agricultural excellence...