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Newsletter 65 October 2, 2017

Hello Farina Supporters

Following is an overview of this year’s volunteer programme.

Attached is a general overview of the 2017 volunteer works at Farina.

This is late to reach you this year. Our apologies but this year personal issues have had to take precedence.

Thank you to the members who have advised me that there was a programme on SBS recently about the building of an outdoor wood fired oven.

It is still available on SBS on demand, “The Gourmet Farmer”, Season 4, Episode 6 features Denis Benson who is one of our members.

The whole programme is quite interesting but if you are only interested in the segment which features Denis and his wife, June, it starts about 8 ½ minutes into the programme.

Rob has been doing a great job with our website, frequently adding information, photos etc. I hope our members visit it often! He has just set up a page where you can have your say, make comments – whether good or bad! This can be found in the main menu under the drop down menu “Where is Farina” then “What people are saying”.

This will be my last year as your “newsletter person” – I would like to stand aside after the completion of the volunteer period next year. If anyone is interested in taking over from me then please let me know. I will be available for ongoing support as long as it is needed.

Regards… Cathie

The 2017 Farina programme overview.

No single year in our decade of volunteer activity at Farina should be seen as more significant than any previous programme, as each has been a building block on which successive programmes have been built. However, the 2017 program is a most visible “standout” for reasons described below.

With each year we have had approximately a 25% growth in volunteer registrations. We expect about a 10% drop out rate due to a long pre-booking time. Some of that is offset by spontaneous volunteering on-site from campers. This year we received 123 registrations numbering 220 volunteers.

Whilst the programme is normally planned as an 8 week event (the visitor serviced period), it was extended this year with set-up crews prior to the programme commencing and with the Patterson’s house final lock up requirements completed following the programme.

In addition the high visibility vests this year for all volunteers made a stunning impression on visitors, identifying the extent of our team and encouraging visitor/volunteer interaction.

The 2017 program has “raised the bar” several notches across the whole Farina spectrum with outcomes such as: –

Patterson’s House was created from foundations to Stage One lock–up in 9 weeks!

Stonework and Streetscape:

The Transcontinental Hotel: received urgent foundation structure attention to enable its survival.

Exchange Hotel: Structural safety issues resolved plus further development of room layout.

Discovery of an above ground bakery near the Exchange Hotel site.

Angels Rest: Original pug and pine structure. Preliminary site clearing work prior to rebuild, unearthed a cellar complete with “treasure”.

Old Police Station: Further excavation and room layout definition carried out.

Cemetery and War Memorial: Extensive grounds maintenance at the cemetery and a re-work of the War Memorial approach path from the campground.

Wells number 1 and 2: A total “facelift,” plus maintenance of all walking trails, including cleaning up around most of the buildings.

Railway Bridge: Walking planks were re-fixed and made safe.

Operations Centre:

The roof cover was extended over the external cyclone yard enclosure and equipment stored securely.

There was further internal workshop and storage development.

A servery was installed between kitchen and Bay 2.

The underground bakery received a new ceiling extraction fan and upgraded lighting.

Bakery, Café and Merchandise Facility:

Servicing volunteers, campers and tourists, the teams manning these facilities provided, as always, a “cream on the cake” experience to the site activities happening elsewhere and, of course, this is our primary fundraiser.

This location provided even more interest with the Patterson House activity happening alongside as well as the work on the old Police Station and the Angels Rest.

Maintenance and Gofer teams: These again daily serviced all work sites, fixed all that “broke” and prevented others from breaking! Also worked on new innovations and installations.

Our Workforce:

It is hard to find words to thank and compliment the individuals who, often for continuing programmes, have contributed their existing skills and lent a hand where needed. You are the reasons that the Farina Project has progressed to where we are today.

Each programme new faces appear, sometimes at the point of crisis, and say “Can I do that for you?”

This years special people are:

Pre-program: Ian Ritchie, technical support to Steve. Peter Davis, also pre-program through AutoCAD technical design, and later 4 weeks technical direction on site management, with special attention the electrical installations.

Tim, Leanne and Simon Paine, complete with Bobcat, Excavator and tip truck. Tim spent almost 6 weeks on site assisting and leading in various roles on Patterson’s house and other site works.

Ivan Schmocke, an Adelaide registered builder, ceased business in Adelaide for one week and transferred his 4 man team to Farina for week 5. This was a very generous contribution. They put in place the walls, ceiling and roof structure for the new building.

First timers. Steve Bennett and his Yarra Valley 4WD club “chippie” mates dedicated themselves in week 8 to constructing the East and Northerly verandahs to Patterson’s house very successfully.

Johnno Johnson and his Dimboola clubmates did a repeat performance on a range of stone, brick, and other trade activities during week 5.

Fun Weekend 17-18 June:

The fun weekend included the cricket match, the John Bell service and the Anglican Church Service. The cricket match was very well patronised with “Farina” beating “The Rest of the World” (helped by a late rule change! )

The bakery teams and Anne provided an excellent supper. On the Sunday the John Bell service was conducted at the War Memorial.
The Anglican Church Service with the Rev. Trevor Briggs was held in the afternoon. Both functions were well attended and are an important contribution to the programme.


In the later weeks of the programme a substantial cash donation for a storm water rain tank was provided by a volunteer family. This was gratefully received and this has now been delivered and installed to catch rainwater over the coming year.

The $126,000 grant for the Patterson’s House received from the SA State Government required a contribution from the FRG of $63,000.

Early advice to our supporters in March advised we needed to raise $40,000 to cover our contribution. An instant response (thanks to all those donors, large and small) reduced the deficit by $10,000 pre-programme.

A combination of tight cost control, a small carry over of funds from 2016, an increased tourist flow and other donations from numerous sources, enabled us to maintain a positive cash flow.

Visitors during the eight week programme strongly supported the “buy a bag of cement “ fund raising and were very generous with direct cash contributions. The bakery/café/merchandise programme, was successful again this year managing a 35% increase in turnover. Thanks to Laurie and his team of volunteers bakers..

Having Committee approval to proceed with the programme, we were aware at an early stage that a very tight cash flow situation would exist as the Government component of the grant ($63,00) is paid retrospectively. This required stringent management, as building suppliers require pre-payment before delivery.

Your executive monitored this very closely. Both Patterson’s building and the concurrent 2017 trading programme were managed without any restriction to either activity. The last grant reimbursement of $22,000 is due in October/November.


This report highlights people who have made special contributions to the 2017 program, but it is the regular volunteers who are the mainstay of our works. These volunteers turn their efforts to anything asked of them, be it weeding, wood collecting, maintenance, baking, cleaning the campsite, stonework, moving rocks, selling merchandise or servicing all of the equipment that we own.

Your Committee congratulates and thanks all involved in the 2017 program.

We had a great and productive year.