BIG YEAR: It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for Granite Belt residents, find out the moments that stood out here.
BIG YEAR: It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for Granite Belt residents, find out the moments that stood out here.

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.

Stanthorpe resident Alain Bourzali returns to his home that was totally destroyed during the fires. He won't be rebuilding it. Pics Adam Head
Stanthorpe resident Alain Bourzali returns to his home that was totally destroyed during the fires. He won't be rebuilding it. Pics Adam Head

Bushfires tear through the Granite Belt

Devastating bushfires tore through the Granite Belt last September, burning more than 2000 hectares around Stanthorpe and destroying several homes.

Water donation charities ease community’s burden

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.

Emu Swamp Dam moves forward

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.

Permanent water carting starts for Granite Belt

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.

Citizen of the Year honours for young swimmer

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.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 Apple & Grape Harvest Festival 2020
Saturday, March 7, 2020 Apple & Grape Harvest Festival 2020

Apple and Grape defies all odds

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.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi mayor
Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi mayor

Granite Belt well represented in new council

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.

Mr Pennisi was joined by re-elected councillor Cameron Gow and first-term representative Stephen Tancred.

Pandemic hits the Granite Belt

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.

Hunter Murphy, Stanthorpe and Patrick Maneikera, Rockville. Rockville vs. Stanthorpe United. TFL men round 12.
Hunter Murphy, Stanthorpe and Patrick Maneikera, Rockville. Rockville vs. Stanthorpe United. TFL men round 12.

Stanthorpe United soar in new league

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 editor@borderpost.com.au

Stanthorpe Border Post

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