If we’re honest, we’d never heard of the “Copper Coast” in South Australia. Even Paul, who’s lived in South Australia before, hadn’t heard of it. Australia does seem to like coastal regions named after precious metals or gems though. Most of us will know of the Gold Coast & Sapphire Coasts, and there are plenty of towns named after the metal or mineral that the town was founded on. It’s quite fun actually, to name as many as you can, without Googling!
On the Yorke Peninsula, Port Broughton adjoins the Copper Coast, and is only half an hour south from Port Pirie. The Big 4 Port Broughton Tourist Park had set aside a large partially grassed site for us, and we were welcomed most heartily, with the lady even exclaiming “you’re raising awareness about the Black Dog. Thank God!”. It was a long weekend for Victoria and South Australia, so the park was quite full, and we were grateful that we had a site. Camp set up, banners raised, and we stopped to look at maps and see where we should drive the next day.
The forecast was for heat, and with so many people in the park, we decided to head to Port Pirie in the morning, to have a look. Groceries sorted, we drove around the town, largely deserted due to the long weekend. There is a great children’s play area near the waterfront, and so Paul & Kirstine sat in the shade while the kids ran around with some other children. How it is that kids will still RUN when it’s 37 degrees outside, we’ll never know.
Making the most of the Legend’s air conditioning, we then drove south, back through Port Broughton, to have a look at the Copper Coast region. Driving through Kadina, (it had a major fast food outlet, so that tells you how big it is), we had a look around Moonta and Wallaroo. The Copper Cove Marina area is massive, and there is a lot of new development. The man-made waterways, and houses with private jetties, are reminiscent of Gold Coast residential developments, and is a very modern contrast to the old town with its historic buildings and homes. We were surprised to see that there is a ferry which runs from Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula, across to Lucky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, crossing the Spencer Gulf. Thought currently not running due to wharf upgrades at Lucky Bay, we thought this was a fantastic service to have in the area, particularly if you wanted to avoid having to drive four hours up through Port Augusta and back down to achieve the same destination.
Port Broughton itself is a pretty town, and the boat ramp was getting a good work out from visitors for the long weekend. The beautiful jetty also had plenty of hopeful fisherman lining its length. We watched the boats come and go from the caravan park, and it brought back a lot of memories for Paul, having learned his trade as a boat mechanic many moons ago.
Gawler is only a couple of hours from Port Broughton, back towards Adelaide. The Gawler Caravan Park had offered us a powered site for our stay, and couldn’t have been more helpful in offering local advice and potential contacts, even giving us a copy of the local newspaper to have a look at. Kirstine took full advantage of that, and sent our media release to The Bunyip newspaper, ABC Adelaide, and a couple of local politicians, of whom we’d read had personal interests in the area of mental health. Of course, with the South Australian State Elections only a couple of days away, meeting a politician didn’t eventuate, but at least we tried! We were pleasantly surprised though when the ABC Adelaide made contact and asked us to come in to chat with Peter Goers as part of his Evening (7-10pm) chat show the next night. We were to be there by 9pm. The kids were excited, and once we arrived and were welcomed, they were super chuffed to be seated in the studio with us, AND in front of microphones, AND they got to answer a couple of questions. We haven’t been able to grab the soundbite, but we were live to air between about 9.16 and 9.28pm, and you can find the recording on the ABC Adelaide website for Wednesday March 14.
The adrenaline of the evening had worn off by the time we got back to Gawler, and the kids were asleep by the time they closed the zip on their swags. Paul and Kirstine were really pleased with the evening, and even moreso that the ABC in Adelaide wants to hear from us again when we have the book and documentary ready.
The next morning we met with The Bunyip newspaper, for a photo shoot and interview. The photographer mentioned that usually working with kids and animals is difficult, but all of ours were perfectly behaved! The Bunyip has a great area of circulation around the Gawler area, and online readership as well, so we love the opportunity to get to speak with print media. Time constraints often mean we can’t cover areas as “in depth” as we would like to, but with a written account of our visit for everyone to read, the message we are sending still gets through. Once the article has been published in the coming week, we’ll be sure to share it on Facebook for you.
We had an interesting encounter at the Munno Para Shopping City while picking up some groceries. This centre specifically lists “No Pets” as one of their conditions of entry. Now, we all know that Luna doesn’t fall into the “Pet” category, but we take note when we visit shopping centres which state that “Assistance Animals are welcome” (or similar). We really do cheer on centres which display their affirmative attitude and understanding of the laws regarding Assistance Dogs. This inclusive attitude means so much to people to struggle to go out in public, let alone a busy mall to pick up the necessities of life.
Having said that Munno Para didn’t have such a sign, their security staff are obviously well versed in their responsibilities. We were on our way towards the exit, and a tall guard fell into stride beside us, saying hello and asking what sort of assistance Luna provides. Having thought for a moment that we were going to have an issue and need to show Luna’s ID, and Kirstine dreading the inevitable emotional outfall of such a confrontation for Paul, we were pleasantly surprised when the guard told us that he sees a few dogs with various vests on in the centre, and he’s interested in the type of skills they have. Everyone understands how guide dogs work, but with assistance dogs for a multitude of serious health conditions now, this man was genuinely interested in what Luna can do, and was happy to take one of our business cards before moving on and wishing us well. For Munno Para Shopping City Centre Management, we can provide you with “Assistance Dogs Welcome” stickers, if you get in contact with us!
Though only a brief stay in Gawler, it yielded positive results for our media release, and therefore the important need to destigmatise the talk around mental health and suicide. It’s these boosts that keep us travelling!