FLASHBACK: Moments that defined the past year
THERE is no denying the past year has been one of the toughest some of our residents have ever had to endure. But amid the sadness and devastation has been plenty of reasons to smile and to celebrate.
Here are 10 events that stood out above the rest.
Devastating bushfires tore through the Granite Belt last September, burning more than 2000 hectares around Stanthorpe and destroying several homes.
The region’s need for safe drinking water saw the formation of two water charities Granite Belt Drought Assist and Granite Belt Water Relief.
The formation of the charities has helped to provide families with a constant supply of safe drinking water.
Plans for the 12,000ML irrigation dam were given a boost when the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce handed over the reins to not-for-profit group Granite Belt Irrigation Project.
After close to three decades working on the project, the Chamber’s decision to hand over the project ensured funding from local, state and federal governments could be secured.
Once completed, the irrigation dam will provide much needed water security to 51 producers in the region.
Which brings us to our next story of hardship.
The Granite Belt’s water crisis reached an all time low last December, when the Southern Downs Regional Council moved to full time water carting for the region.
Water has been carted daily from Connolly Dam to water tanks at Storm King Dam for 10 months, suppling residents with safe drinking water.
The State Government funded project has cost in excess of $800,000 per month.
Stanthorpe swimming sensation Ben Armbruster was awarded the honoured Southern Downs award at the region’s Australia Day ceremony this year.
The 18-year-old’s active involvement in volunteering and community work saw him take out the youth award over a strong field of nominees.
The iconic biennial event defied the odds this year after growers suffered through harsh conditions to bring top quality produce to festival goers.
At the time, Apple and Grape president Max Hunter said a “positive attitude” from committee members had made all the difference in putting together the region’s largest event.
The March elections proved to be an important milestone for the Granite Belt, gaining greater representation on the Southern Downs Regional Council.
Stanthorpe local Vic Pennisi was elected as Mayor, having served as a councillor for well over a decade.
The Southern Downs, and the rest of the world, was brought to a standstill in March, when a pandemic was declared due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The virus changed how society functioned; with restaurants forced to close their doors, students told to work online, and limitations on household items due to panic buying.
The Stanthorpe United Redbacks’ season was cut short when COVID-19 regulations forced the cancellation of Football Stanthorpe’s regular season.
Determined to take to the pitch, the senior men’s team – made up of players from clubs around Stanthorpe – entered the Toowoomba Football League’s premier division.
The side’s passion and determination on the field has seen them move from underdogs to topdogs – sitting atop the ladder more than halfway through the extended season.
Know of any stories we should include for a part two? Contact us at email@example.com