In early February 2017, the search commenced to find and recognise Australia’s Legendairy towns.
Stories have been shared from Beaudesert to Berry, Cowaramup to King Island, and everywhere in between.
Nine months later, the search is over, with Ringarooma, from the heart of Tasmania’s north-east, named Australia’s Legendairy Capital for 2017.
With a population of 232 people, Ringarooma might be a little town but it has a big heart.
Local dairy farmer Marcus Haywood and his wife Simone, who spearheaded the successful campaign, say it’s a well-deserved honour.
Mr Haywood and the locals are determined to keep the community surviving and thriving.
Dairy farming has always been the backbone of the community and Mr Haywood said the community rallies when the chips are down.
When the local fertiliser company lost its trucks and workshop in a fire last year, locals put together an auction to raise funds to help out. A competitor even lent the company a truck so they could continue.
When the school faced closure in 2011 the whole town took a stand and their petitions and protests saved the day.
“That’s the type of community it is,” he said. “Everybody knows each other; if something bad happens to your neighbour you go and check on them. We’re like one big family.”
The threat to the school proved the community’s resilience. “The government was dead wrong about it,” Mr Haywood said. “If they shut the school it would have been an hour-plus drive for students to get to the next school. It was ridiculous.”
The town still has a hall, a few shops, a post office and a pub, mostly relying on the surrounding dairy area for their business. The Ringarooma valley has 20 dairy farmers producing about 52ML of milk each year.
The locals are determined to keep them. “We play eight ball two nights a week at the pub to help keep it going,” Marcus said. “If a town loses its pub there’s not much to go to. We don’t want to become a ghost town.”
Mr Haywood said Legendairy Capital title has lifted the community’s spirits. “Everybody is rapt in it,” he said. “We’re primarily a dairy area and everyone realises how important it is.”
Ringarooma received $2500 when named Tasmania’s Legendairy Capital, which it used to renovate a recreational area for students at the school, including new signs for a bike track, chess pieces for a giant chess board, upgrading a vegetable patch, and maintenance for the school’s defibrillator, which is available for the whole community to access.
It has received $7500 for winning the national award and will used this to restore the school’s 100-year-old dairy which has fallen into disrepair.
“We want to fix at least one of the rooms so the kids can raise calves in it,” Mr Haywood said. “That way they can learn about the dairy industry and what makes the town tick.”
Ringarooma still has a hall, a few shops, a post office and a pub, mostly relying on the surrounding dairy area for their business.