Town rebirth

The uplifting revitalisation of Uraidla in recent years is an example to other small communities – both within the Hills and across the country – which are struggling with decline.
Many people considered the town had lost a lot of its ‘buzz’ with main street businesses – including the hotel – closing their doors.
Some residents felt as though Uraidla had become a ‘dormitory’ suburb with many inhabitants travelling to Adelaide to work and, as a consequence, viewing their town as a place where they slept … not where they lived.
Thankfully a glowing ember of community spirit still existed and a group was formed to inject ideas, energy and passion into the town.
The ensuing transformation has been remarkable with the town winning the best dressed award at this year’s Tour Down Under cycle race and last week being announced as a joint winner in the Best Regional Main Street Award with Kapunda.
There had always been an underlying community spirit in Uraidla with the town boasting successful football, netball, tennis and bowls clubs and hosting a highly regarded show and sustainability fair.
The Imagine Uraidla committee has harnessed that energy and the town is now home to a revitalised award-winning hotel, a bakery, craft brewery, cafe and pizza bar.
Other projects are still in the pipeline, including a facelift for the town’s Institute and the potential for local music festivals, and smaller interest groups are beginning to take ownership.
The ‘buzz’ is back and as more residents come to the realisation it is much more enjoyable to live in a community rather than just a town, it is likely to get better.
The richness contained within similar communities is a jewel which sometimes needs a little polishing.
Sometimes the hardest step to take in a long journey is the first one and the establishment of that initial committee was the catalyst for the change.
The town’s rebirth has already inspired the Gumeracha community to join together to take similar steps towards bringing the life and community back to its main street and Uraidla’s example could still be examined by other communities suffering similar issues.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.