Ringarooma: little town, big heart

24 Jul, 2017 10:59 AM
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Everybody knows each other; if something bad happens to your neighbour you go and check on them.
That way they can learn about the dairy industry and what makes the town tick.
Everybody knows each other; if something bad happens to your neighbour you go and check on them.

Ringarooma, a rural community in north-east Tasmania has been named the 2017 Legendairy Capital of Tasmania.

Local dairyfarmer Marcus Haywood and his wife, Simone, who spearheaded the successful nomination, say it’s a well-deserved honour.

Although Ringarooma’s population barely passes 200, Mr Haywood and the locals are determined to keep the community surviving and thriving.

Dairyfarming has always been the backbone of the community and the resilience of farmers continues to shine.

Marcus, a local sharefarmer who was the joint winner of the Tasmanian Young Dairy Farmer Encouragement Award this year, said the community rallied when the chips were 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,” Mr Haywood 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 locals are determined to keep them.

“We play eight ball two nights a week at the pub to help keep it going,” Mr Haywood said.

“If a town loses its pub there’s not much to go to. We don’t want to become a ghost town.”

The Legendairy Capital title has lifted the community’s spirits.

“Everybody is rapt in it,” Mr Haywood said.

“We’re primarily a dairy area and everyone realises how important it is.”

Ringarooma is one of eight 2017 Legendairy Capitals from around the country’s dairy regions to receive $2500 to invest in a community project.

The town plans to use the grant 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.

If the town goes on to win the national title, which will be announced in September, it will receive an additional $7500 which would be used 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,” Marcus said.

“That way they can learn about the dairy industry and what makes the town tick.”

The Ringarooma valley has 20 dairyfarmers producing about 52 million litres of milk each year.

The Legendairy program is producing a video in Ringarooma on Thursday, July 27, that will feature local town identities and dairyfarmers.

It will culminate with a barbecue celebration at the Ringarooma School at noon. All locals are invited.

For more information visit www.legendairy.com.au/capital.

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