Penola exhibition celebrates talented newcomers

Terra Rossa CWA exhibition shines light on Crewe's 'tree change'

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After the success of the Terra Rossa CWA branch's photographic exhibition 'They Came For Love' which celebrated Penola women who had followed their heart to Penola the group has another exhibition. 'They Came For Work' highlights women who have made a career move.

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Many residents of the historic town of Penola can trace their association back generations, but it is also a town that has blossomed with talented newcomers.

A photographic exhibition They Came For Work by the Terra Rossa CWA celebrates the contributions of eight of these women who are proud to call Penola home.

Local photographer Stella Scanlon has captured beautiful images of each of the women and the CWA group has written short biographies on them.

It follows the success of the local CWA group's inaugural exhibition - They Came For Love, last year which uncovered the romantic stories of women who followed their heart to Penola.

PIRSA Limestone Coast regional coordinator Peta Crewe says she was honoured to be included in They Came For Work.

"There are lots of amazing women in our town that have moved here for all sorts of reasons so I was very flattered to be picked out, especially because I don't spend a lot of time in Penola per se working across the region, so not a lot of people in the town know me," she said.

Two decades after Peta and her partner and now husband Matthew arrived in the Limestone Coast, they cannot imagine living anywhere else.

"Given I hate the cold it may seem a strange place to end up but it is such a beautiful location and is halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne with so much to offer. It has worked out so well," she said.

Peta has forged a successful career in forestry and most recently regional development in a role she has held for nearly seven years.

Forestry runs in Peta's veins, descended from the Marner family who founded plantation forestry at Wirrabarra in the Mid North. Peta's great grandfather Robert Stolz was the head forester at Mount Gambier from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Growing up in the Adelaide Hills fostered Peta's love of agriculture and trees, but after Ash Wednesday bushfires burnt up to the boundary of their property, they moved to Adelaide.

While studying her Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree at the University of Adelaide, she rediscovered her love of trees and undertook post graduate study at the University of Melbourne.

Part-way through her masters, a farm forestry job came up at Struan Research Centre near Naracoorte.

"They have not just come for work, they have all made incredible contributions to making Penola a wonderful community." - Terra Rossa CWA member Anne Johnson

"Being able to work with farmers in terms of how they wanted trees in their landscape and to meet their needs, it was a perfect marriage of my skill set."

Her next role based at Mount Gambier was working with local farmers planting woodlots and marketing the timber.

About the same time, Peta and her husband Matthew put down roots, buying a house in Penola.

"It was one of the few places you could get a coffee on a Sunday in the early 2000s, that was a pretty good sales pitch for us," she said.

She says the close-knit community has welcomed them with open arms.

Geographically Penola is also central for Peta's role with PIRSA, bringing together key stakeholders across the region.

Among the projects with which she is involved are the Limestone Coast Red Meat Cluster and developing the Limestone Coast regional brand.

"There is never a dull moment, there are six or seven major industries operating in this region- they all have great opportunities but also some challenges," she said.

"The region really is an economic powerhouse."

Terra Rossa CWA member Anne Johnson says the eight women chosen have all brought new energy and new ideas to the area.

"They have not just come for work, they have all made incredible contributions to making Penola a wonderful community," she said.

  • They Came For Work is hanging at Parker Estate Coonawarra cellar door until May next year.
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