The town of Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia holds an annual Rose Festival. It has the perfect weather for growing roses, mild winters and lots of sunshine. I think it boasts more days of sunshine than the Gold Coast of Australia! This year I had the time to go and have a look, the town is about a 2 and half hour drive from Adelaide on the River Murray.
Originally the town was established as an irrigation settlement, the first in Australia. Agriculture is still the major industry, reliant on irrigation. The river is now also a major drawcard for tourists and from what I saw lots of 'grey nomads' in their caravans and camper vans!
The town centre is lovely, on the river, with manicured lawns and rose plantings in the public areas.
As it's on the river, in the early years of the town, paddle steamers were used to transport goods until the arrival of the railway. Renmark has a paddle steamer called the Industry, it was a work boat in that its job was to de-snag the river and later it was used in the building of the river locks. Eventually it was retired to Renmark and it was a static museum, I can remember wandering around it years ago. Its life story has a nice ending in that a group of volunteers (who still run her) restored her and she now sails for special occasions. I love it when historical things have new life blown into them.
The Industry is berthed next to the Tourist Office.
The river is a really popular water skiing destination, and these people were just going up and down the town section of the river as I was walking around.
The Renmark Hotel (which has modern accomodation with river frontages as well) Reading the history sign, I discovered that it's actually quite an old hotel and the original picture shows a traditional Australian pub of 2 storeys with the verandah of iron lace. The third storey was added in 1937 and the facade was changed to the Art Deco style that was popular then.
Country towns really do have the best bakeries! A selection from the display as I was lined up getting lunch. There was quite a crowd! Mainly locals it seemed as many people were greeting each other by name.
There was a display of floral arrangements in The Institute Building, all done by enthusiastic amateurs. It was lovely to see.
I really liked this one, it's called "Bushfire", a reality of living in rural areas. I particularly liked the inclusion of the oranges as the Riverland is a major producer of oranges or at least it used to be. I saw a lot of grape vines!
A Floral carpet (I can vaguely remember doing one with rose petals as a child at school I think! For a fete, seems to come to me!)
A couple of bouquets I liked
Renmark was very pretty and the rose landscapes make for a town that's well cared for. I hadn't visited in years but after this short visit it's making me want to spend a few days in the Riverland.