Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

The restoration of an historic jetty trolley has had unexpected benefits for men’s shed and community members on Kangaroo Island. The trolley was first used in the 1840s to transport basalt along the jetty onto waiting ships. The Kingscote Men’s Shed restoration project has seen the revival of rare trade skills using tools that were used 100 years ago to make the trolley, and the formation of new connections in the community.

The Men’s Shed received a $3,683 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, funded by the Waislitz Family Foundation, in partnership with Australian Community Media, to support recovery from the 2019/20 bushfires that devastated much of Kangaroo Island. This project is one of many FRRR supported across the island to strengthen community connection and support recovery activities.

Graeme Connell, Chair of the Kingscote Men’s Shed said, “The Kingscote Men’s Shed volunteers are very proud of their achievement to restore a 100-year-old jetty trolley and preserve the history of these trolleys that were used on jetties around Kangaroo Island. The older members of the Men’s Shed were able to share their knowledge about the skills and tools used in the old ways of construction of steel products with the younger members.”

The group used social media to stimulate interest and encourage new volunteers. New skills and friendships were formed between Men’s Shed members and community volunteers working together on this historic project, which included a local secondary student. Many passers-by were keen to see the restoration in progress, with a cup of tea at the ready for anyone interested in learning more or just having a chat.

The newly restored trolley sits proudly at the Pioneer Memorial Park as a monument both to past activities that forged the town, and as a marker of recovery. It has already become a favourite destination with local visitors and community members, particularly given its location overlooking the old wharf and beautiful coastline.

The Men’s Shed has well and truly achieved its goal of delivering a shared community project to create “meaningful interactions”. The sense of achievement and confidence from the project, and the camaraderie that has come from it has boosted mental health and wellbeing, which will have lasting impact on the group and wider community.

$250,000 donation to fund bushfire recovery initiatives

16 November 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Black Summer bushfire recovery funding has been bolstered thanks to a $250,000 donation from the Waislitz Foundation, in partnership with Australian Community Media (ACM). These funds will go towards supporting projects that focus on the recovery of the people and places impacted by the 2019/20 summer bushfires.

bushfire recovery

Distribution of this donation will be via the bushfire recovery stream of FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program. This dedicated stream of funding offers grants of up to $25,000 for a broad range of projects that seek to support the recovery of affected communities. These community-led projects can include the repair and replacement of infrastructure damaged during the fires, support for the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by the bushfires, alleviation of volunteer burnout, initiatives to build economic development, and events that bring affected communities together.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said thanks to generous support of partners, like the Waislitz Foundation and ACM, the Foundation is able to fund a wide range of projects that support the different recovery journey of each fire-affected community.

“Recovery from of the 2019/20 summer bushfires is a process that has no end date and that is different for every affected place and person. We know that local leaders are therefore best placed to understand the priorities and recovery needs of their community.

“Having previously partnered with ACM through their South Coast is Calling Initiative, we are fortunate to be working with them again to support these bushfire-affected communities, as we know ACM shares our passion for supporting locally-led solutions. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Waislitz Foundation, who also understands the value of philanthropic partnerships when it comes to helping these communities to renew and rebuild,” Ms Egleton said.

Mr Waislitz said he felt privileged to be able to help people in fire-affected communities rebuild their lives and the local connections that gave them strength.

“Every Australian couldn’t help but be touched and inspired by the stories of loss and courage we saw last summer, and I’m keen to contribute to the healing,” he said.

“Through my involvement as a co-owner of ACM, which serves local audiences and advertisers in many regions affected by the bushfires, I have developed a keen awareness of the challenges those communities face and a deep admiration for their resilience.”

“The foundation’s hope is that by supporting a range of different grassroots, community-led initiatives through the FRRR, we can help these local communities renew and strengthen for the future.”

Read Australian Community Media’s full announcement here.